Friday night was a friendly reminder that for better or worse it’s rock music that holds sway in the sunburnt northern state. While the first two nights of BIGSOUND sprawled across some 16 venues, the third and final evening placed full focus on The Triffid. As a stream of delegates, artists and festival-goers descended upon the cavernous Brisbane venue, it seemed that even some spotty weather conditions could do little to dampen the excitement for the evening’s event.
Gideon Bensen casts an impressive figure. A conflation of soulful Bowie-inspired vocals and pulsating rock instrumentation, the ex-Preatures guitarist performed new tracks from his Cold Cold Heart solo EP. A small but vocally appreciative audience turned out for the early set. Interlocked with his drummer, Bensen delivered a charismatic performance. While his debut EP might sound like a slick studio effort, it’s surprising how much of its swaggering rock undercurrents were reflected live. If anything the record falls short of doing the sonically formidable Bensen full justice. While the newly minted frontman may not be garnering the buzz he deserves, the continuation of his solo project is becoming more and more of an exciting prospect.
Melbourne’s The Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever merged the tender songcraft of The Go-Betweens with a uniquely riff driven dynamic. More than a genre echo, the guitar weaving 5-peice put a hard rocking spin on the filtered sunset sound of their Brisbane antecedents. Bensen may have been a hard act to follow, but in terms of matching the energy, these Postcard Records fetishists proved more than up to the task.
There can be no question that triple j Unearthed’s championing of Alexy Lahey has pushed her into the limelight, yet the much talked about Melbournian stands up to the hype. Sonorous vocals paired with an exceptional backing band and irreverent banter kept the audience engaged. In the greater scheme of things, the lifespan of triple j’s favour can be short-lived but there’s a feeling that the charismatic Lahey is fated for greater things. Far removed from the introspective distress of her lyrics, Alex projects a commanding stage presence. A swirl of energy and focus draws the audience’s attention ever inwards. Previewing new tracks like Perth Traumatic Stress Disorder, the singer delivered heroic doses of angsty pop. Put simply Lahey is an artist who cannot be ignored.
As those in attendance could attest Ryan from Good Boy was fanning out to the Rolling Blackouts (so much for rock star mystique). Yet when it was their turn to take the stage the Bundaberg ex-pats delivered an equally engaging live set. Capitalising on the buzz of Lahey’s sizeable audience, the trio treated those present to another round jangle-ridden pop. Reflecting on brooding themes of social disintegration, rapturous thrasher Poverty Line perfectly exemplified the group’s raw rocking yet emotive sound. Good Boy isn’t your average pop band
Sydney’s Flower Truck inhabit a realm of post-punk rhythm melded with the melodicism of the Go-Betweens’ Grant McLennan. Closing out the evening, there was no shortage of resonance to the group’s upbeat guitar pop. The Sydney four-piece proved more than competent at closing out the marathon festival.
Gallery: BIGSOUND Live 2016, Day 2 – Brisbane 08.09.16 / Photos: Rebecca Reid