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.
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.
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.