It’s a bit of a muggy old October night in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, and we find ourselves at The Foundry on Wickham Street, a venue that has absolutely lived up to the hype since its beginnings earlier this year, hosting some of the more intimately explosive live shows this side of the muddy Brisbane River. We’re here tonight to mark the occasion of another new beginning, the inaugural, debut, out the gates, first ever Brisbabes night!
Quite a portmanteau, a catchy noun that rolls off the tongue ever so nicely and captures exactly what tonight is all about: getting together and having a ripper of a time celebrating some of the most talented young women in the Brisbane music scene.
Kicking off proceedings with a cracker of a set this evening are quintet OK Badlands. Frontlady Kate is utterly fantastic, rather quiet and unassuming in between songs, cracking jokes and then nervously wondering aloud whether her banter is shit (bless her, it definitely isn’t). It’s when she’s behind the microphone with the full force of the band around her that all notions of quiet disappear completely. A track called Kindness is a particular highlight. So is when Kate belts out one note towards the end of their set that lasts longer than some of my previous relationships. I could have taken a bathroom break and then a cigarette break and come back to her still hitting that note, I’m sure.
It was a really long note is what I mean. And OK Badlands are my find of the night real early.
Sultry songstress Sabrina Lawrie is a very welcome 11th hour addition to the event and is up next, riding in on a typhoon constructed almost entirely of absolutely gigantic rock riffs and triple-smoked vocals. I hear somebody say she has a PJ Harvey type vibe and they’re not wrong. She launches into a song called Sex Dreams and those same giant riffs turn appropriately filthy with the blues. There’s one point between tunes that she tells the audience ‘music isn’t a competition, it’s an army’, to a big round of applause. One of her set-closers sounds so eerily reminiscent (in the best possible way mind you) of Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid that it takes me a little while to discern whether I’m listening to a cover or not. Magic. So far it’s been nothing but raw power here at Brisbanes.
Gabriella Cohen is our penultimate act of the evening and might be one of the busiest young musicians in Brisbane. She wowed us in a huge way with a solo slot at this year’s BIGSOUND Live, then did so again with her band The Furrs supporting The Preatures on their Cruel tour a couple of weeks back. You’d really be at long odds to find her disappointing us ever, and she certainly doesn’t this time around either, absolutely murdering The Foundry stage with songs like I Don’t Feel So Alive and latest single Sever The Walls. Her album Full Closure And No Details is due out in early 2016 and at this point it looks as though the sky might not be enough of a limit for Gabriella Cohen.
The headline act of tonight is MKO Sun, who proceeds to go full Oprah Winfrey as far as giving out goosebumps goes (You get them! And you get them! EVERYBODY GETS THEM!). The notes she’s hitting on songs like Baby’s A Dreamer and the closing strains of the quirky and mesmerising Black Seaweed are also gigantic in size, threatening to throttle the walls of The Foundry to within an inch of their life. It’s a stellar and soulful performance from a lady with an absolute gift for entertaining.
I have a disgustingly early flight to catch up north in the morning and alas I must depart into the relatively early night air at the conclusion of MKO Sun’s fantastic set and unfortunately miss what I’m sure was nothing short of a thunderstorm of late night bangerz dropped by DJs Emma DIDI and Sezzo to end the night respectively.
Nights like this are exactly what the music scene in Brisbane needs. Far too often talented young women like the ones who’ve not just graced but destroyed the stage at The Foundry tonight and many others find themselves and their achievements overlooked or downplayed next to their male counterparts. Nights like tonight go some way towards giving them the recognition and the props they really do deserve. Plus it was a metric shit-tonne of fun! And even if you made a horrible, grievously inexcusable mistake and missed tonight, fear not, the buzz going around Brisbabes is that its debut was so successful and well-received that there couldn’t possibly not be a sequel.
Stay tuned to your friendly neigbourhood Howl And Echoes, where you’ll get all the deets first…