Running between each of the stages dotted around the valley, we racked up quite a few BIGSOUND sets between us. Here’s our pick of the bunch from the first night.
BUOY kicked off things at The Flying Cock, her showcase combining as an EP launch. The piano tunes were very calming for the nerves, the power cut before the break in ‘Exit’, not so much. She recovered well from the hiccup, confidently bopping onstage and showcasing her intriguingly textured pop. Also in the young achievers club, Mallrat and her chilled DJ had everyone smiling at The Elephant Hotel. The MC seemed a little overwhelmed at the start, but she eventually found her bounce with favourites such as ‘Uninvited’ and her breathy cover of Drake’s ‘Pop Style’. A highlight was the meta experience of singing the lyrics “123/You and me/I don’t like The Valley but I’ve got nowhere to be” from an upcoming release.
Clairy Browne was killer at her second show out of hibernation. I doubt I was old enough to get in there, it was so saucy. Her backup dancers Zeila and Liana accompanied her with a slick and energetic routine, whilst her band brought the bouncy, full-bodied pop of her debut album Pool to life. The sisterhood was practically singing in my veins.
Flipping over to the solo magic of shoeless Tash Sultana at the Unearthed stage at Oh Hello. Sultana is ferociously good and a huge part of this is her impeccable coordination in managing her intricate set-up of pedals, guitars and percussion. Her songs are assembled in front of her audience, a time-consuming process that meant she only played through four. In this case, it’s quality over quantity. Watching the elements meld together was an integral part of the appeal.
She was followed by Alex Lahey and band, who were adorable before they even set foot onstage. Group hugs are cute, alright?! Lahey powered through multiple catchy jams, both unreleased and from her debut EP. Lahey carries a communal vibe with her, dedicating ‘Ivy League’ to all the arts students – “we’re all fucked” – and crediting Tash Sultana as a “fucking legend” (before proclaiming that Sultana had given her the finger in the same way one would say “Regina George punched me in the face”.) The love was big for Lahey and the reciprocal appreciation was genuine, making for a solid finish to Day 1.
Fazerdaze were the first band I hit up. Although I wasn’t too familiar with their music, it’s safe to say I am definitely a fan now. Crossing between laid back, guitar focused indie sounds to some heavier beats, there was so much diversity throughout their set. But the standout was front-woman Amelia’s vocals, they were commanding and stunning, beautifully gliding over the instrumentation.
Hideous Sun Demon were absolutely insane. From the second they hit the stage, the energy the band delivered was second to none, with each song they jumped into bringing more and more of a punch. Frontman Vincent Buchanan was on another level, with his garishly bright top and sharply cut, white hair just further adding to his presence. They played fast paced, catchy punk that reverberated throughout the venue and bouncing off each wall.
Harts, as per usual was incredible, showcasing his unique take on funk, rock and pop. The venue he played was completely packed to the brim, with the crowd not shying away from making it obvious how much fun they were having. The strange thing about this was set was the amount of drunk people in the crowd, with one guy down at the front of the stage heckling Harts to do a shooey, with another girl front and centre who screamed for a good three songs “sign my boobs!”.
This was the first time I have seen Lanks play live, and after being a huge fan of music for quite a while, it’s safe to say I’m an even bigger fan now. With a live band accompanying him on stage, they delivered a far heavier sound than I was expecting and I absolutely loved it.
I followed a friend to go and see Habits, and it was admittedly the best decision of my night. Electro music isn’t my favourite genre, but this duo was absolute fire. Both with slicked back white hair, dramatic eye makeup and pretty eccentric outfits that didn’t leave much to the imagination, their stage presence was mind blowing. On top of that, the execution of their songs was super tight, delivering an upbeat, deep and energetic sound.
Ivan Ooze hit the stage over at The Elephant Hotel, and although he wasn’t playing to the biggest crowd, he absolutely lit the venue on fire. From the first second he was on stage, he buzzed and jumped from one side to the other. The most impressive thing about Ooze is the sheer rate that he can spit words from his mouth and not get tongue tied. There was an intensity throughout every song, even when he dropped his new track ‘P.U.I.T.C.A.I.B.T.A’ which is a little slower than what he normally delivers, and the connection between himself, his DJ and supporting singer was undeniable, making for a seamless and faultless showcase.
I was lucky enough to catch the last 15 minutes of Tkay Maidza’s set, where she unsurprisingly played to a packed out room at The Flying Cock. It was obvious how much her fans adore her, with the majority of the room screaming lyrics back at her for the last few tracks of the set. Aside from the fact that she is dominating the Australian music scene at the moment, which is not hard to see why, her on stage presence was lovely and humbling.