The vibe at Brisbane’s annual BIGSOUND conference/festival is nothing short of incredible. If you’ve never experienced it for yourself before, imagine an urban valley oasis crammed with passionate music creatives, where every night the party rages on ’til the wee hours, where the only thing that seems more endless than the opportunities on offer is the bar tab, where the nearest gig is just a short stumbling distance away from your hotel room or a late night snack attack, and where there is SO much talent performing live that the expression “spoilt for choice” is weaker than your nan’s biceps.
The only thing we will say is that, for the artists performing, it must be a bit weird. Particularly for those who are used to playing in front of throbbing mosh pits and feeding off the energy of a maniacal crowd, bringing that same intensity to a stage parked in front of a modest batch of (predominantly) industry types — half of whom are watching on while tapping away on their phones or gingerly sipping vodka lime sodas — must be a challenge.
So extra props goes to those who pulled it off this year. Actually, the following bands didn’t just do that, they knocked it out of the bloody
Here’s a list of 10 BIGSOUND 2018 bands who blew us away, and who you absolutely have to catch live next time they play a town near you (if you know what’s good for you).
1. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
More than just a glorious name, this Perth squadron of psych noodlers set their guitars to ‘stun’ in a blaze of hair and infectious fuzz. Their BIGSOUND showcase comes off the back of a Godzilla year, including sold-out shows domestically and abroad, not to mention putting pen to paper in a management deal with Wildlife Entertainment (the UK crew who handle Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood and The Last Shadow Puppets).
Needless to say, these lads’ future is even brighter than their bombastic light show. You can next catch them live on home turf on their own massive national headlining tour this month before playing NYE On The Hill 2018.
For Fans Of: Tame Impala, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Arctic Monkeys
2. Slowly Slowly
Showcasing off the back of sold-out shows for their widely-frothed second record St. Leonards, these Melbourne rockers proved why they well and truly deserve the hype cloud which encircles them. The raw emotion of their lyrics shines through in a performance which lays bare intimate moments of joy and heartache alongside hip-shaking rock energy.
With a show that would sit just as comfortably on a bill of indie singer-songwriters as it would at UNIFY Gathering or Download Festival, these fellas have forged a musical niche all their own, and you can catch them headlining dates across the nation this November and December.
For Fans Of: Brand New, Biffy Clyro, Jimmy Eat World
3. Eat Your Heart Out
The name says it all, really. These Newcastle pop-punks hit the stage like a starburst, burning bright like the astrophysical phenomenon and staying rainbow-sweet like the candy. But don’t let the self-proclaimed “pop palatability” of their arsenal of jams fool you, these female-fronted rockers’ live show packs a serious wallop.
For Fans Of: Basement, Citizen, Balance And Composure
4. She Cries Wolf
Delivering a mesmerising performance wrought with chaotic emotion and haywire energy (holy crap what are they feeding that guitarist?!), She Cries Wolf were one of the biggest surprises, and standouts, of BIGSOUND ’18. Br00tal.
For Fans Of: Bayharbour, Underoath, Ocean Sleeper
5. Between You And Me
Between You & Me’s 2018 debut album Everything Is Temporary is a certified banger factory, but watching the Melbourne pop-punk powerhouse pump out the jams live makes you appreciate their talents even more. Their show is a sugar-rush of good time party vibes and you can check it out for yourself when they hit the road on a headlining tour this month.
For Fans Of: Neck Deep, State Champs, Knuckle Puck
Another band surfing to BIGSOUND on a tide of hype after performing on some of the country’s biggest stages supporting the likes of Neck Deep and Simple Plan, female-fronted Brisbane alt-rockers STATESIDE did not disappoint, smashing Oztix partygoers with their blend of soaring clean vocals and urgent guitars in a heartfelt and blistering performance.
For Fans Of: PVRIS, Tonight Alive, The Plot In You
7. Bare Bones
Off the back of a fire 12 months that’s seen this Sydney crew support the likes of Rise Against and Stone Sour, the ‘Bones brought a much-needed dose of heavy groove to Fortitude Valley’s stages this year. They also likely drowned out their poor competition playing at venues around the block with their feisty ruckus of filthy party-boy riffs and cement mixer vocals.
For Fans Of: The Bronx, Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster, Rise Against
8. The Comfort
Hot on the heels of signing to upstart Aussie heavy label Greyscale Records, these Brisbane natives smashed BIGSOUND with a captivating live show that’s been honed to razor-sharp precision through years of relentless touring. Definitely ones to keep an eye on.
For Fans Of: Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Manchester Orchestra
Arguably the heaviest band to darken the BIGSOUND 2018 lineup, Sydney metal peddlers Arteries appeared in a lightning storm of hair and djent, making the stage shudder under the weight of their dense eight-string riffage. Guaranteed to pump your heart full of metal.
For Fans Of: Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Architects
10. The Beautiful Monument
Returning to BIGSOUND for their second consecutive year, Melbourne’s all-girl rockers debuted a fresh lineup, igniting a hair-flicking frenzy with a mighty set that swivelled between moody and joyous.
For Fans Of: A Day To Remember, Hands Like Houses, PVRIS,