Well, it’s been a week and the dust might finally have settled on Fortitude Valley and another successful BIGSOUND conference and festival. The biggest yet, rolling over three nights and with so much live music and inspirational speeches and moments that make you happy to be a part of the music industry in Australia
Enjoying their coming out party are Melbourne rockers Ceres, who just released their sophomore record Drag It Down On You, and thundered through tracks new and slightly older in their packed out set at The Zoo on Thursday night. So much raw emotion delivered from frontman Tom Lanyon, whose throat-shredding vocals provide the perfect voice for some of the heartbreaking stories (his father passed away when he was younger) he weaves through the music of Ceres.
Lanyon is a remarkable frontman, one minute hitting everyone right in the feels dedicating a song to his father, the next thanking the crowd for getting in so early to wait for eventual headliners DZ Deathrays. If you didn’t experience some shuddering feels at any point during Ceres’ set then consider yourself a robot.
Walking into the New Globe Theatre on Thursday night I expected to see a bigger crowd gathered for West Coast rockers Verge Collection, but the area was largely deserted as they were soundchecking. I should not have doubted them for a second though, the crowd slowly trickling in as their set began and ending up quite sizeable by the end.
The low-key highlight of the set (and possibly all of BIGSOUND itself) was bassist Andy copping a carton of JPS Reds’ worth of billowing smoke to the face every time the machine went off. Signature tune Our Place went off like a frog in a blender with the crowd loudly singing its memorable chorus. Verge Collection are part of the wave of rock bands embracing their Australian-ness wholeheartedly and performances like theirs at BIGSOUND will only see their star on the up.
FLOWERTRUCK are an amazing four-piece out of Sydney who are a healthy mix of Talking Heads and pub rock of the 80s. Frontman Charles Rushforth is an absolute joy to watch live, his booming voice and hilariously animated facial expressions keeping eyes and ears glued for their rollicking set at the New Globe Theatre on the Wednesday night. The chemistry between the band onstage was palpable as they ran through one of the most upbeat sets at BIGSOUND, keyboardist Sarah Sykes harmonising gorgeously with Rushforth on tunes like the jangly saunter of Nail Gun and the stomping I Wanna Be With You from their Dirt EP.
Their rendition of signature tune Sunshower (imagine Paul Kelly backing a bizarro world happy version of The Smiths) was as glorious as the imagery that song evokes, the crowd writhing and probably trying to picture themselves on that walk from Glebe to Newtown as well. BIGSOUND is for bands like FLOWERTRUCK to showcase just how talented they are and the quartet belted it all the way out of Camper Down Park here.
Sydney two-piece Polish Club were in their usual loud and fine form downstairs at the Woolly Mammoth on Wednesday evening. Duo Novak and John do a damn fine job of making one of the unholiest rackets you could ever boogie to and at BIGSOUND they did not disappoint one bit. Standards like Beeping and Did Somebody Tell Me got the crowd raucous and the knockout blow was a cover of Powderfinger’s (Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind that had every Maroon-blooded Queenslander in the audience euphoric with pride.
These two deserve a giant festival stage to blast several thousand people with their throwback rock and roll and it’s hopefully not too far into the future where that’s a reality.
Thursday night at The Elephant Hotel was utterly lit thanks to Briggs and Trials, collectively known as the incendiary A.B. Original. Not afraid to kick the hive (and “watch all the dumb cunt bees come at them” as Briggs so eloquently put it), their socio-politically charged hip-hop doesn’t just provoke thought, it kicks the fucking door down with some of the fattest old school hip-hop beats going.
The chemistry between the pair onstage is nothing short of remarkable considering their infancy as a duo and they didn’t miss a single beat interchanging lines and owning the stage all set, the crowd seething as one along with them and never more so than when birthday boy Dan Sultan joined them onstage for a run-through of their latest single in the white hot January 26 to close the show. DJ Total Eclipse from New York City got a lot of love from the crowd too for his mind-boggling skill on the decks as well.
Were there Kings Of Bigsound to be crowned, it would have been A.B. Original in a landslide this year. Make no mistake about It, they are the best act in Aussie hip-hop right now and they aren’t going fucking anywhere. You’ll want to catch them at next year’s Laneway or your earliest convenience.