South-west musicians to take on the world

Rhys Crimmin’s multi-instrumental talents have helped his newly-formed band qualify for an international battle of the bands final.
Rhys Crimmin’s multi-instrumental talents have helped his newly-formed band qualify for an international battle of the bands final.

TWO south-west musicians and their band members are set to unleash raw talent on the world stage after winning the Australian leg of a worldwide battle of the bands competition on the weekend.

Former Terang boy Rhys Crimmin (vocals, guitar, didgeridoo, harmonica) and Camperdown export Tom Collins (double bass) will join Meagan Thomson (fiddle) and Tom Jones (drums) on an all- expenses paid trip to Germany in August next year.

Rhys Crimmin & The Toms will represent Australia at the world’s largest battle of the bands music festival Emergenza, which is dedicated to new and unsigned bands.

The competition is run across all major European cities, North America, Asia and the Pacific region, open to all groups performing originals or cover songs with an original touch.

If Crimmin and his band win, they will get to play on the main stage in front of 30,000 people on the last day of the Taubertal Open Air Festival in Germany.

There they will share the stage with international rock stars.

A jury made up of music business professionals from around the globe will decide the international winner.

Although Crimmin has been touring Australia performing solo for the past eight years, the band only recently formed, playing four gigs before entering the competition.

He described the band’s music as a cross between “Aussie reggae” and “dirty foot stompin’ blues”.

Their Emergenza journey began in June this year, when they won a heat at the Espy’s Gershwin Room in Melbourne. They progressed to another heat at the city’s HiFi Bar in September, again wooing the crowd and snagging first place. Then they competed in a final against nine other Victorian bands and the WA and SA finalists at the Billboard club with success.

On Saturday night the four-piece competed at the national finals at the Metro Theatre in Sydney against all other state winners, winning again.

Collins was also awarded best electric bass guitarist.

“We just can’t believe it as it’s been such a lengthy process and I don’t think it’s really kicked in yet that we’re actually off to Germany,” Crimmin told The Standard.

“Maybe when we’re packing our bags next year then we’ll realise that we are actually going.”

According to Crimmin, competitors’ music to this point had mostly been rock and heavy metal with a little hip hop and pop.

“Most nights when playing in each competition we played midway through so it really made our music stand out.

“We were something different with an Aussie flavour because of the didgeridoo, acoustic and folk stuff so I guess it struck a bit of a chord with the judges,” he said.

“We spoke to the judges afterwards and they said that we were a ‘breathe of fresh air and we can’t wait to take you over and show you to the crowds over there’ (Germany).”

Rhys Crimmin & The Toms will stay on after the world final of Emergenza and tour the European continent.