Surprise UniBar Band Comp winners

Beaten Bodies members (left to right) Liam Copland, Geordie Crawford, David Reglar (front sitting), Nick Chater, Matt Tarrant and Marli Wilde. Picture: ADAM McLEANBeaten Bodies may sound like a heavy metal band but the winners of this year’s Wollongong UniBar Band Comp surprised everyone at the finals – including themselves.

The eight-piece band has had a limited number of gigs since forming six months ago, but a unique blend of groove, funk and soul captivated the audience, and the judges.

They will now compete at the state finals of the National Campus Band Competition on September 14 at the University of Sydney.

Wollongong UniCentre program assistant Sean Lu said the national competition had been running for 20 years and was the biggest live-band competition in the southern hemisphere.

Previous winners have included music industry heavyweights Eskimo Joe, The Vines and Jebediah.

“It’s definitely a platform for up-and-coming bands – which must include at least one UOW or Wollongong TAFE student – and is an opportunity for them to get their music out into the general community,” he said. “It gives them experience on stage, and most of all just the chance to have some fun.”

Beaten Bodies features vocalist Marli Wilde, Liam Copland on bass, Novak Manojlovic on keyboard, John McCoy on drums, David Reglar on tenor sax, Matt Tarrant on trumpet, Geordie Crawford on alto sax and Nick Chater on trombone.

The majority met through high school (Bulli), while some also studied together at the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. Four are current UOW students.

“This (competition) is the first big thing we’ve done together and we just wanted to get some exposure to get off the ground,” Liam Copland said.

“As an eight-piece band playing soul and blues we didn’t know how we’d go, but it turns out that it’s good to be a bit different.”

A large crowd turned out on Thursday night for the finals, with Wollongong bands Sylvain, Form One Planet, Thomas Covenant and My Little Underground also competing.

Mr Lu said this year’s Wollongong-based competition had uncovered an “eclectic mix” of bands, all with a high-quality, original sound.

“Beaten Bodies have a sound that’s really smooth – it’s the kind of music you put on your iPod and listen to on your headphones to just block out the rest of the world,” he said.

“It’s great that a band like this has won as it shifts away from the perception that a band competition is just about punk rock or hard rock. It shows that it’s about being able to produce an original sound – and that’s what Beaten Bodies did,” said Mr Lu.

The band will digitally release a single, My Mantra, on September 10, before their EP comes out in October ahead of a scheduled national tour.

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