Bigsound officially kicked off on Wednesday 10th September, though on Tuesday the party had well and truly started, with the fantastic The Night Before Bigsound party at the Black Bear Lodge with the likes of Tin Sparrow and Little Odessa on the lineup, though if I were to tell you your trusted reviewer missed it due to a lack of funds required to spring for an extra night you wouldn’t hold it against him right? Didn’t think so, jeez you’re good people.
I did manage to drag my poor ass along on the Wednesday and witness the full brunt of Australia’s answer to SXSW. With 70 shows in one night across 14 official venues it’s impossible to catch everything so compromise comes in to the equation, ten minutes of this band, twenty of that, though the sets are already short so bands are going as hard as they can for the entirety of their set. They understand the beast that is Bigsound. Adelaide teenager Jesse Davidson opened the New Globe Theatre with half an hour of intelligent indie pop. The Unearthed high runner gathered a crowd full of record company types and youngsters out for a good time.
Davey Lane warned us in an interview last week about Bigsound “to me there are just too many record company dudes walking around with lanyons, it’s too business oriented” he told us, and there is that element, but with that comes seventy bands per night playing their absolute arses off because it’s quite possible this festival is the moment they emerge from the underground and explode onto our radios and televisions in a big way. So as Davey said, it’s a necessary evil.
Bad Dreems played outside the Brightside hotel with Lucianblomkamp on inside. Remember that sentence about compromises? The latter built a mystique around himself from the beginning with smoke machines and an electric violin put through enough reverb you thought you were in heaven. He soon added in layer upon layer of synth, an eclectic beat and some smooth vocals, booty shaking was as plentiful as deep appreciation. Outside Bad Dreems were belting out some old fashioned but imaginative Aussie rock. The outsider band from Adelaide had the crowd pouring in right until the end of their set. An excellent cover of Bastards of Young by The Replacements was a highlight.
DMA’s certainly filled the stage with four guitars in total including bass, a drummer and a singer. Their dress sense is either straight out of deep Western Sydney, Campelltown, Liverpool etc, or they’ve seen Green Street Hooligans one too many times, lads or chavs take your pick. Delete and Feels Like were sung back to them in spades by an adoring crowd. The licks from their lead electric guitarist, the guy in the football jersey from the ‘80s, is what sets them apart from another indie band trying to be Oasis, the comparisons will come as the band gains momentum, but if you listen closely they have their own sound.
D.D Dumbo lit up the Alhambra Lounge, building his tracks one layer at a time with looping pedals, a snare drum and a guitar. His soaring vocals overshadowed his excellent technical skills however.
On Alex Cameron’s birthday Seekae closed The Rev, an old church transformed into a venue with excellent acoustics and an eerie aura. Barely visible through the fog of multiple smoke machines. The set was heavy, a mix of deep house and trip-hop beats. It was certainly a party, reaching it’s climax when they played the trance inducing Another.
Day two could have started better, with most weathering hangovers whilst watching Obama declare war on I.S and 9/11 commemorations on the news.
That being said there was still partying to be done and bands to be heard, the first of which was Sydney experimentalists Meniscus, who dazzled with an impressive visual display and tight instrumental set, welcoming new drummer Alex O’Toole into the band for his first live set.
Brisbane teenager Eves graced the Triple J Unearthed stage at Oh Hello and drew quite a crowd. Big things are expected from the teenager who has been busy writing with a host of industry big shots, she took over vocals guitar hooks, keyboards and a little looping while her drummer and bassist kept the beat. The watery hooks and elevated vocals of Zen got a huge response while the tropical drum beats of Heavy got everybody moving whilst Eves poured out intelligent lyrics.
Safia provided one of the deepest sets of the evening, it was easy to see why their cover of Cavalier earned them a call from James Vincent McMorrow himself. The packed Wooly Mammoth sweated and danced with the trio until they built up to ‘the song that started it all’ Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues.’
The undoubted highlight of the set from The Murlocs came when a highly intoxicated Zach Galifianakis lookalike was called onstage to play tambourine, and another crowd member tore his shirt off before he got up there. Resulting in three minutes of photos being eerily similar to the ones on the camera they find at the end of The Hangover.
Tom Thumb showed off his beatbox capabilities during Sampology’s set, as yet another impressive visual display was showcased. The heavy beats dropped perfectly in time with sprouting digital flowers on LCD screens that curtained the stage.
Despite so many previously mentioned quality sets Client Liaison probably won Bigsound, Monty with his perm-fect mullet has the stage presence of Prince playing to a sold out arena, never mind that it was Oh Hello and a crowd of 300 odd. Through newer tacks like Queen and earlier releases like Free Of Fear the boys had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands. At the close of The End of The Earth, Monty standing shirtless with his arms spread wide in a haze of smoke, like some Christ figure with a fresh perm, the band’s words ring true. ‘Think Nothing. Feel Everything. Pleasure is Good. Fantasy is Truth.’
Though the official Bigsound sets were finished parties went on all night, with more happening tonight, it’s a two-day festival that basically runs for five with Fortitude Valley completely encompassed by the industry. So when Bigsound 2015 comes around get yourself a ticket and some nurofen and get in on this party.