Bigsound innovators
June Jones | Credit: Nadeemy Betros

The Best Innovators at BIGSOUND 2022

You know on election day when there’s a bunch of volunteers handing out pamphlets instructing you to vote for their respective parties? Well, imagine that, but instead of pamphlets they’re all carrying instruments, and you’re about halfway to comprehending the inspired chaos that is BIGSOUND.

From 6th-9th September, the long-standing music conference and festival returned to Meanjin’s Fortitude Valley for the first time in three years. More than 180 bands and artists played across dozens of venues during the three-day marathon. Here are Music Feeds‘ picks for BIGSOUND’s most innovative performers.

The Acts that Transcended Genre at BIGSOUND


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Some love has to be shown to the acts whose music is a hybrid of many genres or defies categorisation entirely. Let’s start on the latter and talk about Alter Boy, because there is a lot to talk about. 

The Perth collective are one of the most fascinating creative concepts going right now, led by a hard-of-hearing, gender nonconforming artist, flanked by a queer backing band and an Auslan interpreter who added their own interpretive dance to proceedings.

The song craft is excellent as well: operatic, writhing electronica with a dark underbelly and an undeniable sense of conviction lying beneath it. If you haven’t gone out of your way to be in the presence of Alter Boy, make it a priority.

Chanel Loren’s playful, pristine hybrid of neo-soul and future-R&B deserves a mention, specifically the biting and bitchy kiss-off song ‘Playlist’. Naarm/Melbourne’s June Jones has spent the last half a dozen years deviating from her folk-punk beginnings and moving into idiosyncratic electronica. With solo album three on the way, the brilliantly-titled Pop Music for Normal Women, Jones is thriving, especially as a live performer.

Her BIGSOUND performances switched between dark, quietly devastating songs and hilarious, terminally-online between-song banter. Jones is an artist to make time and space for, whether you’re a gamer girl or a hoodie girl.

June Jones – ‘Goblin Mindset’

Some voices at the festival left audiences dead in their tracks. Two that need highlighting are Grace Cummings and Beckah Amani. The former screeched and seethed with a style that recalled both Patti Smith and Janis Joplin, but is forged within a musical environment that is entirely her own. The latter offered unabashed soul through her heart-wrenching vocals, which were alternately accompanied by a single acoustic guitar or a flourishing backing track.

Sex-rapper Big Wett scaled a ladder in the middle of the room and spat hot fire about pussy, sucking dick and fucking over the most obnoxious club beats you can think of. It sounded like a millennial Peaches and it was absolute entertainment.

As for Great Sage, think Art vs. Science and Chromeo getting into a fist fight with King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard circa ‘Cyboogie’ while the video of Daft Punk exploding plays on loop in the background. Make sense? No? Good. Go listen.

Further Reading

The Best of Pop at BIGSOUND 2022

The Best of Hip Hop at BIGSOUND 2022

The Best of Rock at BIGSOUND 2022

The Best of Country Music at BIGSOUND 2022

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