BIGSOUND, Australia’s largest music conference, hits the streets and clubs of Fortitude Valley once again, bringing with it a whopping 120 bands. Kicking off yesterday, BIGSOUND delivered many speakers from industry and loads of panels/discussions throughout the day. However, it was last night that everyone got to let their hair down a bit and enjoy some of the best new crop of bands this country has to offer.
Starting the night off at 8pm was local lad Jeremy Neale, of Velociraptor fame. Taking to the tiny little stage that is Ric’s Bar, Jeremy and his band got off to a great punchy start. With the drummer going off in the corner sounding like a machine gun and the great guitar work, the music sounded good, and Neale’s voice was on song as he went from real clean to a screech that resonated throughout the venue. The energy put out by the band was also impressive considering the stage space they actually had.
A quick dig at Celine Dion lead the band into the second number: “When I woke up this morning my voice was gone and my mum just said, ‘If you were Celine Dion you could just cancel the show’,” explained Neale. Calling on anyone who could play sax lead to a ‘random’ man from the crowd taking to the stage to jam along with the band for a couple of songs. The whole set had quite an old-school 50’s swing feel to it, which would have had the crowd moving if the place wasn’t completely packed to the brim. However, at least the bar staff were dancing behind the bar.
Over at Electric Playground, the six-piece Melbourne rock outfit Money For Rope had taken over the stage and filled that venue as well. Their great rock sound hit you all the way up the back due to an awesome rhythm section that had not one but two drummers. Visually, it was quite an experience as well with some very cool lighting, such as a giant screen of LEDs behind the stage and so much smoke through the room you’d think the place was on fire.
With a few people moshing up the front, the band ripped through their set, with frontman Jules McKenzie’s raspy voice hitting all the notes, some cool effects on keys, a sax solo, and best of all, those dual drummers perfectly in sync belted you in the chest with their sheer power. Finishing the set on Easy Way Out, the boys went out big and left you wanting more. This is definitely a band that makes you want to just jump around and go crazy.
Over at the QMusic stage you were met with a surprisingly empty car park as Sydneysiders The Snowdroppers prepared their stage. Having just played in Brisbane the weekend before supporting Shihad, some punters already knew what to expect from these boys…one hell of a groin grabbingly good set. Taking the stage at 9.40pm with a big “How the fuck are ya BIGSOUND”, the band opened with an old hit in Rosemary, which instantly drew more people into the car-park stage. As lead singer Johnny Wishbone attempted to pose for the photographers, the harmonica came out and the band continued to rock.
The energy from these guys is always nothing short of spectacular and when you’ve got songs about good drugs and bad women, you know you’re in for a good time. From harmonica to banjo and back again, Wishbone threw himself around stage, and when the crowd started clapping along to the start of undoubtedly their biggest hit in Do the Stomp, Wishbone called Brisbane a bunch of cheeky bitches. Wrapping the set up with their latest single about marrying a slut in White Dress, along with Sweat, The Snowdroppers wrapped up possibly one of the best sets of the night.
Meanwhile, back over at Black Bear Lodge, The Delta Riggs did a pretty good job of filling up their venue as well. Pulling Ian Peres of Wolfmother up on stage to play keys, the boys rocked the joint out with their sweaty rock ‘n’ roll with hints of rockabilly, getting everyone up on their feet and couches trying to get a glimpse. With a sound that was a bit like a cross between Jet and previous band The Snowdroppers, The Delta Riggs provided another great show with plenty of energy and crowd participation moments, especially on their last track Money as they jammed a bit of Aquabats Pool Party mid-song.
Taking a walk over to The Zoo next for possibly one of the most talked-about bands of the first night of BIGSOUND live was pretty exciting. With a long line outside, Ball Park Music proved to be very popular, and walking upstairs, the venue was pretty full as well. It’s no wonder that these guys were so popular as they had got one hell of a good sound going with some very catchy numbers.
They played a set filled with old ones such as All I Want Is You and I Fucking Love You as well as some new ones. Frontman Sam Cromack gained plenty of cheers when he explained that this was their second gig of the night, having played to some industry people earlier on, but “this one is much better”, and with that the band launched into their latest single, Fence Sitter. Fence Sitter proved to be a big hit as Cromack exclaimed that this would probably be the funnest song they would play for years.
Chilling the night out a bit then was a three-piece Melbourne band by the name of Teeth and Tongue. Hitting the stage at the Press Club at 10.50pm with singer Jess Cornelius and band members Marc Regueiro-Mckelvie and Damian Sullivan, the band worked through their half-hour set with a very relaxed yet still exciting performance. The bass and guitar were at times hardly noticeable as the songs relied on nothing more than Cornelius’ booming voice, who also switched between guitar and keys. As the band has no drummer, they rely on electronic drums playing in the background to accompany them. Some minor sound issues delayed the band’s final song of the night a little, but when they got started, they wrapped up their half hour with a nice little chilled set to break things up.
Rounding the night out was Sydney band Tigertown at Alhambra Lounge at 11.40pm. The band – comprised of brothers and sisters, husbands and wives – played a half-hour set of soft rock filled with some great smooth bass lines, good drum beats, beautiful sounding acoustic guitar, and even maracas and mandolin. Lead singer Charlie and her husband Chris provided the basis of the sound up front, with her faultless voice and his superb guitar playing leading the way for all their siblings, who also held their own and provided the crowd with a great finish to night one of BIGSOUND live.
From rock to rockabilly and pop, and everything in between, BIGSOUND Day 1 had it all and provided one hell of a night to kick-start the live proceedings. Brace yourself Brisbane for night two.