We were all a little worse for wear, but somehow we made it through night two of BIGSOUND. Here’s some of our highlights.
How does one kick off Bigsound night two? Get lost. Then, find your bearings and actually go to the right place. Confidence Man – a groove art installation if there ever was one – kicked off the party in spectacular fashion at Heya Bar, frothing the packed room into a bastion of dancing and head-bobbing. While the ~mystery~ drummer and keyboardist shielded themselves with mosquito net hats, the heavy handed use of the cowbell was very suggestive of a certain Sam Hales. Their two singers strutted onstage two songs in, pulling off choreographed dance moves that in any other situation outside of Year 7 dance class would be thoroughly kitsch. The performance was highly structured but also endearingly freeing.
Moving onto Empire Hotel next door for kitty rock trio Wet Lips and the amount of mullets in the room increased by 300%. Leopard print leotards and plenty of salty banter from Jenny and Grace imbued the set with their trademark hilarity. Their showcase felt even more intense than usual as they seared through EP cuts and tracks from their upcoming record. Soon after, I caught the last song in Gabriella Cohen’s set – the slow burning ‘I Don’t Feel So Alive’. It showcased creativity in a short amount of time.
Kira Puru delivered a personable set, all style in a dress with sleeves that dripped to the ground. She has a gorgeous voice, malleable yet controlled and tingle-inducing in its most fragile moments. She trialled tracks from her upcoming EP; heart-breaking RnB-pop infusions about situations like “smoking weed with someone and then having sex, even though you know you’re going to break up”.
Loose Tooth were relaxed and fun, airy vocals combined with confident guitar riffs. The trio’s rhythm is subtle yet sturdy, pushing forward with a determination that is near impossible to not move to. Guitarist Nellie is the most interesting to watch, treading from heel to heel and boldly addressing the crowd with her eyeline. Fellow Melbournians Totally Mild finished off the night. The most memorable moment was the chatter melting away as frontwoman Elizabeth Mitchell sang acapella. It was a dreamy ending that still invited booping.
Kicking off night two at The Zoo, Melbourne three piece Heads Of Charm were definitely one of the stand out acts. The sound they produced was punchy, fast and laden with infectious riffs and melodies. Their new single ‘Cocaine Aplenty’, which seemed to be familiar with quite a few punters, reverberated throughout the room with a raw and intense energy.
Next up for the night was Gideon Bensen, – whose music I have been listening to a lot of lately. There is just something dark and really intriguing about his sound…reminiscent of 80’s glam pop with a very David Bowie-esque feel to it. Bensen’s vocals are stunning, with his whole set seeming effortless and nothing but natural.
The Ruminaters were my next stop, and although I has only seen them play the week before in Sydney I wasn’t any less excited to see them play again. They never miss a beat in their live sets and it is almost impossible to stand still while their are playing. Their upbeat energy is so infectious, and mixed with the fun, boppy vibes their tunes give off, this was one of the most memorable Bigsound sets. There is also something about lead singer Pencil’s haircut (think small child’s bob/fringe combo) that makes it painfully difficult to take your eyes off him and his luscious locks.
I don’t even know where to start with These New South Whales. To help you get a bit of a picture to what this band looks like, every show they play shirtless with black masking tape covering their nipples…See where I’m going with this? Within 30 seconds of their first song, frontman Jamie Timony was already thrashing across the stage to their very distinguishable take on garage punk. With the help of a trusty Red Bull can, Timony’s energy, along with the rest of the band just kept increasing – seeing him leaping out into the crowd several times. To put things simply, they were loud, incredibly entertaining and despite the distraction that was the nipple tape, played some really great, punchy music.
The final act of Bigsound I saw was DZ Deathrays, which was one I’d been waiting all week to see (yes, I am a slight fan-girl here, can you tell?) It was obvious I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. With 20 minutes to go before they hit the stage at The Zoo, the room was almost packed out with punters trying to squeeze their way to the front. By the time they kicked off their set, the energy in the room was through the roof, and just kept increasing as the set went on. The chemistry between the trio was undeniable, and they all mesh and work together so seamlessly and well (even though guitarist Lachlan Ewbank has only been playing with outfit for a relatively short time, it seems as though he has been a fixture of the band forever). Smashing out their new single ‘Blood On My Leather’, along with older favourites like ‘Gina Works At Hearts’, it was full of pure rock n roll goodness. To top things off, they finished an absolutely killer set with a rendition of the Beastie Boys ‘Sabotage’ with some help from Ecca Vandal, who dominated the whole room. Yeah, girl power!
With my trusty mindmap BIGSOUND planner in tow, I set out to catch the first of many, many acts of the evening. Joined by brother / sister duo Lastlings on stage at my time of arrival, wunderkind producer Golden Vessel delivered a truly spine-tingling set to a very healthy turn out. One to definitely keep your eye on.
There may or may not have been tears as I caught Melbourne feelings-punk legends Ceres play a hard-hitting set to buoyant BIGSOUND attendees. It’s hard not to adore their unabashed, heart on sleeve lyrical stylings teamed up with absolutely slaying melodies. Is my fangirl showing yet?
Much hyped trio Middle Kids made their debut in a big way. The crowd was thick for the Sydneysiders as they churned through a bunch of unreleased tracks with intensity and elation. But it was singles ‘Your Love’ and ‘Edge Of Town’ that took the room by storm, their familiarity inspiring sing-alongs and a whole lot of positive vibes.
In my humble opinion, Olympia is one of the most important alternative pop acts that Australia has right now. Her set, once again, showed exactly why she’s such a force to be reckoned with – tight instrumentation, soaring vocals and a truly special knack for incredible songwriting.
Having gone maybe a little too hard the night before (shot 18 acts then went to hospital. No ragretz) I had to call the night pretty early, but definitely not before catching Japanese Wallpaper. An unassuming performer, Gab Strum on stage demeanor matches his music – warm, inviting and radiant. With dreamy backup vocals supplied by and coming singer Eilish Gillian, the set was a real celebration of young talent.