The Island crew [back row] Junior Mila, Paselio Manesa, Eti Lio, Augustine Mila, Tane Walker; [front row] Courtney Naera [music teacher], Milarn Naera, Janet Aeto. PHOTO/ERENA McCANN

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Seven Wairarapa students are aiming to become the next SIX60 after winning Wellington’s Battle of the Bands.

The group of Year 7 and 8 Lakeview School students known as Island Crew performed in front of an 150-strong audience at the Southward Car Museum in the capital city last week.

They played their original song, Fire, and vocalist Janet Aeto said she cried when she found out they had won.

“We’ve been practising pretty much the whole year for this, one hour a week, sometimes more.

“It was a really awesome experience for us to have.”

Drummer and guitarist Junior Malatai believed that if the group stuck together they would go far.

“It was really awesome and this is the biggest trophy our school has won,” he said. “I reckon that we could be the next SIX60, maybe we can be SIX50.”

The win has had the band offered a spot at Kapiti’s Coastella festival, in February next year. This year it featured acts including The Black Seeds and Nadia Reid and drew in 3500 festival-goers.

The Island Crew will get chances to mingle with the VIP acts backstage and perform for 20 minutes.

They plan to add several reggae covers to their act including Bob Marley and SIX60 songs.

Teacher Erena McCann said the win had been a big occasion for the students.

“When we were driving home in the van the kids were saying they wanted the day to start over, so they could experience it all again.

“The crowd really loved their performance – the lady sitting behind us said she’d eat her hat if Lakeview didn’t win.”

She said they’d had suggestions from people to record the band’s song professionally and the school was looking into it.

Winning the event means Wairarapa will host next year’s Battle of the Bands.

The band said they owed much of their success to their music teacher Courtney Naera, who had encouraged them along the way.

Lakeview School last won the top act award in 2010.