A band calling themselves the Pessimistic Monkeys have reason to be optimistic about their future after winning a contest for up-and-coming rock stars.

The Battle of the Teen Bands, which was held at Turner Centre in Kerikeri on Friday night, was open to all Far North musicians aged up to 19.

It was the venue's first major event since lockdown with Covid restrictions limiting the audience to 100 people and the bands and stage crew confined to a separate bubble.

Kaitaia bands have made a strong impression in past years but didn't show up on Friday — their absence was thought to be related to Covid concerns — leaving just five entries from the wider Kerikeri area.

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The judges, who included such musical heavyweights as bass legend Billy Kristian and singer Makareta Umbers, still had a tough job picking the winners.

The annual event is organised by the Be Free music mentoring programme.

The Pessimistic Monkeys are a newly formed band made up of Sofia Mikhailiadis (vocals), Tyler-James Ratunigaloa-Edwards (vocals), Hector Danilo (drums), Bevan McKenzie (bass), Cameron Dudley (guitar) and Felix Danilo (guitar). The Danilo brothers and Sofia Mikhailiadis have previously seen success in the contest.

RESULTS

Best vocals: Sofia Mikhailiadis (Pessimistic Monkeys). Best lyrics: Dillan Blythe Drake (Under Pressure). Best instrumentalist: Kosta Silich (bass, Frotha). Best performance: Alisha Tahere (vocals, Frotha). People's Choice: Pessimistic Monkeys, by a narrow margin over Frotha. Overall winners: 1 Pessimistic Monkeys; 2 Frotha; 3 Our Band.

Sofia Mikhailiadis, 15, of the Pessimistic Monkeys, was named best vocalist. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Sofia Mikhailiadis, 15, of the Pessimistic Monkeys, was named best vocalist. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Dillan Blythe Drake, lead singer for Under Pressure, was named best lyrics writer. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Dillan Blythe Drake, lead singer for Under Pressure, was named best lyrics writer. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Alice Fairhurst, 12, plays bass with The Octaves. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Alice Fairhurst, 12, plays bass with The Octaves. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Lukas Bayer, 13, performs with Our Band. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Lukas Bayer, 13, performs with Our Band. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Jack Laird, left, and Alisha Tahere perform with Frotha. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Jack Laird, left, and Alisha Tahere perform with Frotha. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Sofia Mikhailiadis, 15, and Felix Danilo, 18 of winning band Pessimistic Monkeys. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Sofia Mikhailiadis, 15, and Felix Danilo, 18 of winning band Pessimistic Monkeys. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Tyler-James Ratunigaloa-Edwards, 15, sings with the winning band Pessimistic Monkeys. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Tyler-James Ratunigaloa-Edwards, 15, sings with the winning band Pessimistic Monkeys. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Waipapa singer Bella Mason performs while the judges weigh up the winners. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Waipapa singer Bella Mason performs while the judges weigh up the winners. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Alisha Tahere, 18, of Tapuaetahi, receives her award for best performance from Be Free chairwoman Claire Gordon. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Alisha Tahere, 18, of Tapuaetahi, receives her award for best performance from Be Free chairwoman Claire Gordon. Photo / Peter de Graaf
Winning band Pessimistic Monkeys with Be Free chairwoman Claire Gordon. From left, Hector Danilo (drums, 15), Sofia Mikhailiadis (vocals, 15), Tyler-James Ratunigaloa-Edwards (vocals, 15), Cameron Dudley (guitar, 19), Felix Danilo (guitar, 18) and Bevan McKenzie (bass, 16). Photo / Peter de Graaf
Winning band Pessimistic Monkeys with Be Free chairwoman Claire Gordon. From left, Hector Danilo (drums, 15), Sofia Mikhailiadis (vocals, 15), Tyler-James Ratunigaloa-Edwards (vocals, 15), Cameron Dudley (guitar, 19), Felix Danilo (guitar, 18) and Bevan McKenzie (bass, 16). Photo / Peter de Graaf