Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: BIGSOUND Live Part 1 for Mood of Monk

Read the original coverage here. I also shot and live tweeted the event; it was an awful lot of fun. 

“Is this the end or is it just beginning,” they sang and it felt right.

As Inland Sea wrapped up their opening spot at BIGSOUND’s live showcase in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, it signalled the start of something big – for the night and for the talented young acts that would fill it.BIGSOUND is an industry conference that exists to talk about music and the people that make it. For those throwing themselves into the conversation, it’s a long and fulfilling three days. For two of those days, when the sun goes down, Australia and New Zealand’s up-and-comers emerge for show and tell.It’s a variety show for industry types, a block party across Brisbane’s entertainment precinct, and a heartening display of genuine talent. I know every crumb in every corner of The Valley, but I’ve rarely seen it as full of energy as it was last night. There are weekends where the streets groan under the sheer weight of people, where the music is oppressively loud and sweat hangs heavy in the air. What BIGSOUND brought was a true celebration of things to come, and a crowd united in a love of music.

Eighty acts are spread across two nights and eight venues, but according to my calculations there would only be time to catch sixteen of them. Choosing amongst them was the kind of anxiety-inducing act I tend to avoid – the line-up didn’t seem to follow the rules of graduating popularity throughout the night and allocating each venue with a genre. With a hasty timetable scrawled on a piece of cardboard, I set out to discover my new favourite acts. This is what I saw.

1Ten Brisbane locals crammed onto the cosy stage of The Zoo under the name of Inland Sea making beautiful noise to a steady 8pm crowd.
2. Laneous and the Family Yah using the extra room available to them as a four-piece to their advantage. They debuted a handful of new songs that only proved their status as Brisbane’s, if not Australia’s most versatile new act. If there’s a genre they can’t dip their musical toes in, I’d still like to see them try. Laneous and the Family Death Metal does have a ring to it.
3. The beautiful emma louise commanding the attention of a few hundred revellers with little more than her voice. The songstress was signed to a German label only hours before taking to the stage and I like to think the news buoyed her to the vocal heights she reached, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s always so mesmerising. Chances are you’ve heard ‘Jungle’ on Triple J, and if you like what you hear keep an ear out – everything in her arsenal goes right for the heartstrings and refuses to let go.
4. Strangers sharing their passion for music, the swish of business card swapping mid-song and the (admittedly soft) sound of new friends being made over plastic cups of beer.
5. The Cairos kicking off their set three minutes early to a still-small crowd but giving it their all, regardless. Sighs of relief when Electric Playground filled up with bodies around halfway through the set.
6. The Bakery Lane outdoor stage at capacity before The Medics even began, the tops of heads and uncomfortable noise of necks craning.
7. Iconic Brisbane live venue The Troubadour rising from the ashes to become Black Bear Lodge – a homely, wintery space where a melting pot of music fans laze on couches, crouch by the stage and block the fire exits. Sydney’s Lanie Lane swearing in a sweet voice, bringing old-world charm and audience participation back into music. She tells us the next song is “about drinking, dancing, and having a fucking great time with your friends; so do it”. We happily comply. She goes out with a ‘Bang Bang’ and within seconds most of the crowd has hit Brunswick Street, already halfway to their next destination.
8. A very merry The Vasco Era playing to a smaller-than-expected crowd at The Aviary. Brisbane local ten-piece Velociraptor seem to drawn most of the revellers and it doesn’t go unnoticed. In slurred words they announce they’re “probably the 57th most famous band at BIGSOUND now that a few more people have walked in”. The beer sloshed over the instruments only add to the rock ‘n’ roll vibe, and the screams reverb into the speakers at just the right volume.
9. Thousands of people disappearing into the night, tired, with blown minds and reawakened spirits. The distant sounds of the average Wednesday night in The Valley continuing on like we were never there, while my feet struggle to direct me home.

The festivities continue tonight and whether the crowd is recovered or not, the bands are sure to give it their all. They’re there to show the world what they’re capable of and collectively, that’s an awful lot. Massage your swollen feet, shove them back into those dancing shoes and get ready for round two.

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