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The Rock-itt : May 2011
With summer long gone and winter almost here the days are shorter and the air cooler, but the music is just getting hotter here on the beaches with songwriting contests, open mics and singer songwriting nights, giving our local artists an outlet for creative works. At the Mona Vale Hotel the "Ultimate Song Writing Competition" is well under way with songwriters vying for great prizes from Allenns/Billy Hyde Mona Vale and a major prize of three paid gigs at the hotel. Each act performs three songs with three acts of six going through. The three acts going through with the first semi final on Friday the 6th May and the second semi on the following Friday. There will be six acts in each semi with the top three going through to the final. The acts to have made it through at time of writing are Maeve Cunningham, Franklyn, Robyn King, Ashton Trio, Sam Von Tacach, Beck and Stu, Louise, Steph, Papapavlou, Charlie Graydon, Point Lacey and Ben Ozmo. With this line up of talent the semis are looking like a show not to be missed. The stand out act for me thus far is the Ashton trio with a set of diverse original songs, solid vocals and musicianship (particularly Ashton's guitar work), they had the room rocking and knew how the play to the audience. Also the open mic is still rocking at Mona on Wednesday nights contact Chris or Jamie on 04166267656. or go to openmic.com and follow the link to their facebook site. "Open Mic at "LA'" bar and restaurant Avalon is back to normal (on the first and third Sunday of the month). On Sunday the 17th we had a great show despite a couple of early no-shows but that just meant I got to perform with friend Scott Conway on drums, which is always a fun for me. Young local Brendan Yaxley came to the open mic stage for the first time with a great set of covers. I think with a little backup Brendan could get a full professional sound happening. Ben Ozmo took full advantage of Scott with his drum kit parked in the corner. Ben plays a diverse set of originals from funky jazz to reggae and a couple of smooth ballads which Scott had no trouble setting the beat to. After Ben three young local girls, Sophie, Bianca and Ella who go by the stage name "Jail Baits" came on with a set of classic cover standards. With Sophie on guitar the three girls gave us an amazing display of vocal harmonies that caught everyone's ear including "LA" s new manager, Mike Holland returned to the open mic stage with a set of 70's and 80's covers with Ben playing lead guitar and flute. Scott on drums gave a great full sound and I noticed more than a few of us older audience singing along as we were taken down memory lane. Young Avalon guitar virtuoso, Gab Portocarrero had eyes and ears mesmerized as he played his twelve string as only he does. Gab later told me he has been working with another guitarist and they have some great new material to show us. Jason Mansfield also took full advantage of Scott and his drum kit (nice to be in demand) as he pulled off a cool set of covers mixed with originals, Jason's song "Look Me In The Eye" the standout. Lately friends, Bella Kersterns, Jay Cullen and Charlie Graydon have joined to form a trio they named "The Crescent Connection". Knowing how talented these three are, this could be the beginning of something special. Unfortunately Charlie was out of town but, Bella (guitar and vocals) and Jay (keys and vocals) gave us a great set of originals and covers The last act for Sunday arvo open mic at "LA" was the winners of the FacetThe Music competition, "Donnie Raven and the Black Jack Wolf Pack" with new member, Tyler Belvain/guitarist. They were ready to rock, but their drummer Elroy who had ripped a snare cover, dogged it. But to rescue once again "Super Scott" who can leap onto a drum Ashton Trio Brendan Yaxley Jail Baits Mike Ben and Scott Jason and Scott