Nelson teen Alex Hargreaves performs on stage with The Exponents at the Classic Hits Winery Tour on Friday night. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Musician gets big break

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Jordan Luck was bowing down to Alex Hargreaves on stage, screaming into the microphone “we are not worthy”, as she shredded on the guitar and sang along with their hit single “Who Loves Who The Most”.

The former Nayland College student had the “unreal” experience of performing with The Exponents in front of a sold-out crowd of 2000 people at the Classic Hits Winery Tour on Friday night.

Alex, 18, won a competition through Classic Hits to perform at the second Neudorf Vineyards show – an experience she will remember for the rest of her life. “Oh man, it was just so unreal. I can’t even believe that just happened,” she says. “I found out a few weeks ago, but I had just assumed I hadn’t got it because it was so long after I entered.”

Alex, who is the lead singer of last year’s Smokefreerockquest regional runners-up Paper City, was supposed to just play the one song – which changed to “Who Loves Alex The Most” – but was later called back on stage to perform again. “At the end they dragged me on to play another song, but I didn’t even know that one. They sort of put the guitar on me, and the bass player was yelling chords at me, which was cool.”

The Exponents have been around the traps for a long time now – telling the crowd that their first ever show in Nelson was at the Rutherford Hotel in 1962 – but even a teen like Alex was a huge fan, and had previously spoken to her band mates about how awesome opening for someone like The Exponents would be. “We were saying how The Exponents would just be amazing. I never knew I would actually just play with them. It was just incredible. All of the band were just supportive guys and really cool. It was just awesome.”

Alex left Nayland College last year and is now studying film in Auckland. She was flown back to Nelson with the support of Jens Hansen Jewellers. Her band, Paper City are releasing an album in the coming weeks.

Also performing on the Classic Hits Winery Tour were Breaks Co-op and Stan Walker.

The tour concluded in Blenheim on the weekend, but Upper Moutere was the only place in the country to get two shows – the first of which drew 800 people on a Thursday night. Concert co-promoter Campbell Smith described Friday’s show as “magic”.

“[At] a sold out Neudorf Vineyard there’s always a party, and tonight was no exception. Great performances, a great crowd and a big old party.  We can’t wait to come back next year.”