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September 15, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-15

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The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, September 15, 1992

Page 5

The biggest band battle
Aussies harvest an excess of new music in Sydney

by Kim Yaged
SYDNEY - Picture it: Sydney,
*1985. AC-DC are long past their
prime. Men At Work are just a flash
ins the pan. And Baby Animals has
not yet been conceived. The city is
bustling with a plethora of "no-
names" waiting to bust out on the
music scene. University campuses
throughout the country are the cen-
ters of this pent up energy.
Enter Thomas O'Sullivan, offi-
cial activities officer for the
University of Sydney Union. From
this man's head sprouted what was
to become the biggest band competi-
tion in the world, taken from local to
state and eventually national level.
But, alas, we get ahead of ourselves.
In the beginning, there were
twelve - bands, that is. Since
O'Sullivan planted the seed 18 years
ago for the First Annual University
of Sydney Union Band Competition,
the Band Competition has evolved
into an approximately 120 band,
four-and-a-half month long extrava-
ganza. According to lain Johnstone,
assistant activities officer, "The idea
of a band competition goes back to
the '60s ... at the University of
Sydney [it started] as an idea for
getting some student talent on the
stage ..."
It's basically simple enough.
Anyone can enter as long as at least
one member of the band is an un-
dergraduate at the Uni. And that one,
naturally, must make what the con-
ditions of entry sheet call "a
substantive contribution to the
band's performance."
All that means, Johnstone ex-
plained, is that "you can't just have a
tambourine player at the back or
something. They have to be like a
core member of the band." There is
no entry fee and each band that en-
ters is guaranteed at least 30 minutes
of stage time. All shows are at the
bar in The Manning Building, one of
the two Unions on campus. That
said, let the games begin.
This year's festivities started
March 19th on avery seriou's note,
with the random drawings to deter-
mine heats - thirty heats, four
bands a night, starting April 7th and
running through June 29th, and

that's just the first round.
I say it began on a serious note
because prior to drawing thednames
for the heats, the awards ceremony
took place. It consisted of supplying
a bottle of champagne to bands for a
variety of things, such as having the
neatest entry ballot or for dropping
out of the Competition.
Orson won for entering the Band
Competition twice. Pursuit of A
Dream got the "No Hope Award."
Last year, there was a band called
Hope Your Dick Falls Off. One of
this years entrants is Hope Your
Dick Falls Off Too. They got them-
selves a bottle of bubbly for their
creativity. Speaking of bubbly, Can I
Have A Bottle Of Cheap Bubbly,
Please won just for asking. The
"Wishful Thinking Award" went to
Big Phallica, and Diarrhea Thick-
shake won for best name. Bimbeaus
and Fisting For Jesus won just
because. (They do that sometimes in
this country.)
As you can see, everyone takes
this whole thing very seriously.
There's even a fun night at the end
of the competition comprised of
what Johnstone calls "novelty bands
that come in with a wacky concept
or something. Some people put
bands into the Comp with no aspira-
tions other than to be ridiculed." I
guess the Aussies might call that
prize the "Wanker Award."
However, there is a serious side
to this whole thing. The winner of
the Band Competition, besides get-
ting a chunk of the $2,000 award
money and various other prizes to be
announced, gets to go on to play in
the State Competition. The winner
of State goes on to play in the
National Competition.
The Third Annual National Band
Competition is tentatively scheduled
to take place in Perth this year. Last
year it was in Melbourne, and the
year before, Sydney. The National
Comp travels from capital city to
capital city, with travel for the bands
subsidized by the National Aids
Education' Campaign. Sponsorship
on the state and local fronts is at the
discretion of the organizers. At the
University of Sydney, all funding is
provided by the Union and prizes are

donated by local merchants.
The judging criteria is the same
at the local, state and national levels:
25% musicianship, 25% originality
(a band can do covers but it's rec-""
ommended to play originals. If cov-
ers are done, it's suggested that
they're not performed note by note,
but with a twist), 25% presentation,
15% audience response (a source of
some debate - even though they , '
"conditions of entry" sheet says
"correspondence, discussion, debate,
etc." are not allowed), and 10% co-
operation setting up. (Sounds like a
sportspersonship award, don't you
Sarcasm aside, the Band Com-
petition has been beneficial. Besides
providing an opportunity for stu- Beautiful Sydney harbor and opera house, home town of what has become the biggest band battle in the world.
dents to have a go at the musician
thing, it provides free live enter-__EADIT
tainment four nights a week through-
out the term for the rest of the stu- WRITE FOR IT
dent body. On a grander scale, some RECYCLEIT




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performing the music of
Duke Ellington
Wynton Marsalis
Sir Roland Hanna
Lew Soloff
David Berger, conductor

Entry Deadline:

Wednesday 9/16

4:30 p.m.
IMSB Main Office
Play Begins: Friday 9/18
For Additional Information Contact IMSB 763-3562


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