Alleyway Competition Winners: Steering By Stars

Adelaide's Alleyway band competition celebrated an extremely successful first year on Wednesday 25th of January.

Teaming up with five local media outlets (Format, dB Magazine, Fourwords, Fringe Benefits and Fasterlouder) to help curate the line up worked a treat, with five amazing local acts all playing for a chance to win a spot on the Laneway bill. With a capacity crowd filling into one of Adelaide's most loved live music venues, The Ed Castle, the night was shaping up to be a memorable one.

First band up on the night were Steering By Stars, a unique post-rock act who stunned the capacity crowd with their blend of textures and sounds. With short sets and fast change overs between bands, it was literally minutes until the second band, The Amcats, kicked off. A rollicking blues-rock two piece, who recently played CMJ Music Marathon in New York, they put on a high energy 20 minutes of music.

Sitting in the middle slot was underground favourite, Old Mate. Their endearing frontman led them through a set of honest and unique 80s inspired post-punk songs about uniquely Adelaide source material (i.e. their dislike for the hotel 'The Alma'). They even managed to squeeze in a saxaphone!

Following on from Old Mate were newcomers Big Richard Insect. Having only played a hand-full of gigs in the last year, this band certainly know how to work a stage. Their duelling frontmen swap between bass and guitar whilst howling out their vocals over a mix of rock/psych/country tunes.

Last but not least were Archie, who amassed a huge following to support them in the late night slot. Archie's mix of emotive power-pop tunes with amazing vocals from their lead singer Annabel had the crowd moving and cheering right until their last note (people were even calling for an encore!).

With the calibre of music extremely high, every band could easily have won the night. However, there could only be one winner and with the judges citing their songcraft, suitability for this year's bill and amazing wall of sound as the key reasons for the win, it could be no other than Steering By Stars.

Steering by Stars will open the new George Street stage at this years Laneway Festival kicking off at 5pm, be sure not to miss them!

We conducted a short interview with their guitarist, Rory, after their win:

Firstly well done on winning a spot on this years St Jerome's Laneway Festival! How does it feel to know you will be opening the festival and playing alongside acts like Active Child, SBTRKT, The Drums and EMA?

It feels really good! We are huge fans of many of the artists billed on this years laneway, lots of them have been huge influences on us personally. We can't wait to see bands like Active Child, The Horrors and M83! 

The competition itself was pretty strong with 4 other great local bands playing on the night. Were you guys aware of them at all prior to the show?

We had heard their names bandied about lots, but never had the chance to see them live. They were all fantastic, though we especially loved how honest and raw the music of Old Mate was. 

How did you rate your chances at winning and did you do anything differently with your set on the night to try and secure the win?

We have just come out of an intense rehearsal period, we played together everyday for three weeks in the lead up to recording our second album, so we felt well rehearsed! We played a mixture of our material in an attempt to showcase the diversity of our sound. 

To my ears your music is like an epic soundscape where you create a lot of emotional ebbs and flows during a set. Would you agree with that comment and how do you go about making that kind of music?

Yes, we would agree. Atmosphere is a focus for our band. We rely heavily on effects and energy to create these soundscapes. 

What acts are you most looking forward to watching on the day?

All of them! But especially Active Child, The Horrors, M83, Glasser, Girls and Yuck.

I understand you're currently recording your second album as we speak, can we expect new material for your set at Laneway?

Yes! We are going debut a few new ones, which we are excited about!

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