Sunday, 16 September 2012

BIGSOUND Live 2012 Recap Bonanza

Bigsound winners; The Hello Morning!

Bigsound Live has come and gone, with some of Australia's most promising new talent performing for industry peeps and thousands of Brisbane based punters to varying degrees of success. It's My Kind of Scene was in attendance with Jo, Katie and Matt running around the Valley in pursuit of amazing music... and the occasional coffee and Pie Face. For the first time ever, the three of us come together to review the acts we saw over the two nights. Let's get to it!



The first band of two midweek nights of music, Kingfisha had a lot to live up to. While they were ok, it was the people watching Kingfisha that provided the most entertainment, which probably says a lot about Kingfisha themselves. The people who liked them really, really liked them but the people who were there to pretend they were interested in music didn’t do so well in pretending they were interested. Who are you, check shirted guy? Why are you telling that woman beside you that you didn’t know she was into live music? When was the last gig you went to? Things have changed since 1991 my friend. You, with the bag. Stop drinking and start watching. You, with the hair. Stop pretending you’re important and start watching. You with the big mouth. Stop talking and start watching. There’s a band up there who’ve rehearsed numerous times in their garage to play for you. Have the decency to watch at least one song before you twirl your VIP lanyard around again. Kingfisha? Yeah, they were alright. (Jo)

On the way to Bakery Lane to see the first act on day one of BIGSOUND 2012 I saw the most impressive handlebar moustache. I took this to be an omen that two awesome evenings of music would follow. And I was right. For me, the only thing missing from Kingfisha’s set was a joint. They had a totally chilled, funk vibe. I was really into it, and particularly enjoyed the dancing of some audience members. Shout outs to curly haired man whose dancing was led by his wild mane, and the blonde girl who had a funky chicken thing going on. The only distracting thing was the lead singer’s resemblance to Ellen DeGeneres. (Katie)

While Australiana-dub-reggae will likely never be a favourite genre of mine, I have to admit I enjoyed what I heard from Kingfisha and they were a perfectly acceptable way to kick off our Bigsound experience. The band was having a good time, the crowd was having a good time and they drew a decent amount of punters throughout their set. I too was drawn to the dancing members of the audience, but more in the way that I could see the dandruff flying from the curly haired dude, falling like snowflakes onto his t-shirt in time with the music. Time for a wash? (Matt)

Electric Empire

I’d seen Electric Empire before supporting Fat Freddy’s Drop and Aloe Blacc, and third time around they did not disappoint. They lure you in slowly with their soulful sound and just when you think you’ve got their act figured out – bam – they take it to a whole new level.

Music to bang to. (Katie)

You know one of the things I love about live music? I love the discovery of someone new. I love it when you're just hanging out, chatting with friends and then from the stage a sound starts that you just can't ignore or a person appears that you just can't take your eyes off. Electric Empire did just that. They had me captivated for their whole set, simple grooves and beautiful harmonies from such delicious voices, yep, thirty minutes and you can declare me a fan. Must. Hear. More. (Jo)

Electric Empire were one of the nicest surprises of Bigsound. Katie said we should check them out and I'm glad she did; they were all kinds of awesome. Having not one, but three amazing vocal-instumentalists in your arsenal is something a lot of bands would kill for. They've got a new album coming out soon. I think I'll have to buy it. (Matt)

Kira Puru and The Bruise

Wow, where to begin? I’d heard good things, but wasn’t fully prepared for the level of awesome that is Kira Puru & The Bruise. There is just something totally mesmerising about Kira. Her voice is so full of raw emotion – I found myself hanging off of every word. She has ‘tude, and the woman scorned thing going on. With glassy eyes she clutched at her Scotch like she needed every last drop to re-count her tales. She had this amazing way of storytelling, which was only enhanced by the rest of the band – they really brought it to life. (Katie)

"Don't ask me what I'm feeling, I've got answers up my sleeve and you and your denial ain't worth my while." The attitude, the style and, most importantly, the voice; Kira Puru is the total package. I was completely blown away by Kira and the ridiculously talented members of The Bruise, who were busting out some highly innovative moves. When Jamieson Shaw got out a drumstick and started playing his bass with it on 'What's It Gonna Be,' I was floored. Without a doubt my favourite Bigsound performing artist and I'm sure many of the Black Bear Lodge's audience on Wednesday walked out feeling exactly the same. (Matt)

This was a performance I’m not going to forget for a long, long time. I’m going to compare other gigs to it and it’s going to take a very talented person and/or band to live up to it. Every now and then when you see live music something special happens. You get that unbearable and addictive feeling of goose bumps, you get your stomach in your throat and your heart stops for just a second or two until the next note is played and you remember the goose bumps and the whole cycle starts again. Even thinking about this performance makes me happy. And sad. And angry. And happy again. Soulful music does that to you. Someone with a voice as incredible as Kira's does that to you. Combine her voice with an amazing guitarist, an awesome drummer and one of the most intense, talented and phenomenal bass players I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long time and you get that live music addiction of which once its formed will never go away. It's a nice addiction and thankfully musicians like Kira Puru and the Bruise make it so pleasing to feed. (Jo)

Clairy Browne and The Bangin' Rackettes

When Clairy Browne and The Banging’ Rackettes first took to the stage I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it all, however Clairy Browne’s sultry sounds and the Bangin’ Racketts sexy dance moves quickly won me over. It was hard not to move along with the pulse of the crowd. Absolutely loved “She Plays Up To You”, especially the commentary from Clairy leading into the song – that it could be about Stephanie or Nina, or whoever – but we all knew that bitch.

Just one question, can I be a Bangin’ Rackette? (Katie)

Being a lover of all (most, some) things vintage, I like Clairy Browne. I like her and her Bangin’ Rackettes. Lots. They do the old school thing and they do it well. Even though the Big Sound set was just a shortened version of the performance I saw at the Powerhouse in May this year (got any other costumes?) it was still great, this time. Next time might be a little tiring, but hopefully they’ll have some new tricks in their vintage bag by then. I just have to mention something though, because it’s been incredibly distracting each time I’ve seen them; it’s a thought for one particular Rackette and someone has to say it. While I wish you all the success in the world, if you’re going to be involved in a 60’s style girl vocal group, you’ve got to put in some effort. Knowing the dance moves is not enough. Get some rhythm and dance those moves like you mean them or you’re letting the whole team down. (Jo)

Sixties-revival goodness at its greatest! Big hair, extended dance breaks, call and response vocals... what more could you ask for?

The Trouble With Templeton

There was something a little... let's say... off about The Trouble With Templeton's set. Alhambra's sound quality was poor which took away some of the magic from Thomas Calder's voice. As a result, their new single 'Six Months In A Cast' translated fairly poorly live. You could barely hear the vocal line, which was a massive shame. Oh and that Betty girl? She's a huge draw card with an impressive vocal range. Utilise her better. By better, I mean more. (Matt)

It’s not that The Trouble With Templeton were bad – it just wasn’t my thing, and I’m kind of over Coldplay. (Katie)

Ok Calder, the thing is, I’ve given you a chance. In fact, I actually have really liked you and your band. I even bought your CD at a gig once. From you. I put my cash directly into the palm of your hand. Your music is still the same; you do quite well at your middle-of-the-hipster-road sound, that can’t be denied. However, on Wednesday night, things changed. I think I may have hopped off the Templeton train. If you think you’re so short of time that you can’t even let your audience clap for each of your band members, then why do we have time to listen to you ramble on three quarters of the way through your set? Enough talking, get singing, you’ve only got half an hour, you said it yourself. I really want to like you, but with that kind of attitude you’re making it difficult to remember what there is to like. (Jo)


Why do I feel like I have to start my review with an apology? Fantine, I’m so sorry, on behalf of fans of music and the people of Brisbane, that there was, only twenty or so people in the Black Bear to see your set. However, as Matt and I discussed; if we were in a band and faced with only twenty uninterested people at a gig, what would we do? Play systematically, like a rehearsal and hope it finished quickly or play the gig of your life, more intense and more fun than you ever have, like no one was watching? Matt and I both agreed on option B, which probably means we should start a band, but Fantine looked like they took option A, which is understandable because when put on the spot it’s a tough choice. However, when you sound like a Sneaky Sound System cover band, you have to offer something special to the twenty people watching you, or that number will only get smaller and smaller. (Jo)

Uh, Brisbane... I know it's a Wednesday night and all, but you chose to to buy tickets to a mid-week 'festival.' Make the most of it. Don't head home before the final acts have played! If I felt uncomfortable sitting in the Black Bear with Jo and a tiny and interesting (read: bizarre) cast of weirdos (read: weirdos), I can only imagine how Fantine felt. There were a couple of drunks shouting in the corner, a couple of disinterested industry people, the bar staff who just wanted to go home, the bands mums (well, they could have been), us and Fantine. Despite a futile effort from the enigmatic frontwoman to get the "crowd" motivated, it just wasn't to be. Fantine were good, their music is good and they deserved better. It was a nice touch how polite Fantine was about the whole thing, thanking the crowd for coming. (Matt


Texas Tea

The Texas Tea were not officially part of the BIGSOUND line-up, but were a complimentary ‘must’ according to Jo and Matt.

Things I liked:

• The venue
• The pear cider I inhaled (what a hipster)
• Realising that fans of Texas Tea could be referred to as tea bags
• The upright bass player – helloooo Freddie Mercury

To be honest, it was a little mellow for my liking. I would’ve liked to have seen “Freddy Mercury” rock out a little bit more. Although, I did very much enjoy his hip movements and pelvic thrusting up against the bass guitar during the last song. Nice. (Katie)

Why haven't I been to the Hideaway before? What a delightful little bar in Brisbane. Alright, I was a little uncomfortable with how hipster-cool everyone was, as I am the opposite of hipster-cool. Whatever I am, it's not cool. That's probably why I haven't been to the Hideaway before, but I digress. What am I meant to be talking about. TEXAS TEA! Yeah... they're awesome. I'm really looking forward to hearing Sad Summer Hits next month. (Matt)

How can it be that Texas Tea weren’t even one of the official Big Sound acts and yet they were one of my favourites? Ok, I’m biased, having seen them last month and purchasing their vinyl, I’ve become more and more of a fan with every listen (and I listen a lot). Even though the venue was not the greatest for live music, it was full and Texas Tea treated everyone to an awesome bunch of songs and had me wishing they would play it all again immediately. I can’t wait to hear their new album ‘cause these guys are probably one of my favourite bands at the moment. Love love love. (Jo)

The Hello Morning

The Hello Morning weren't on my list of acts to see at Big Sound but I'm totally glad they were on Katie's list, because they were good. Really good. We were lucky to score one of the coveted viewing spots at the Black Bear, standing on benches by the wall, which was perfect to see the six members of the band fill the tiny stage to capacity with their retro stylings and fill the Black Bear with their rock sound, there was so much to see and so much to listen to I can't imagine any Hello Morning gig being dull. They were so good, I plan on hearing more and seeing more and you should too. (Jo)

What would happen if Kings of Leon didn't get incredibly full of their own self-importance and listened to a bit more Elvis? The Hello Morning would happen. That's what would happen. If they're not one of Australia's biggest acts in the next five years, I'll eat my hat. The control Steven Clifford has over his voice is fantastic. I will quickly mention that I don't own any hats, nor will I ever, but I still think The Hello Morning is going to be huge. (Matt)

As soon as we arrived at the Black Bear Lodge to see The Hello Morning I knew we were in for something special. We pushed our way to the front to get the full experience. As we arrived vocalist Steven Clifford was giving a heart wrenching rendition of “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You”. It was truly amazing - the kind of music that gives you goose bumps. My only regret is that we arrived a little late. What other magic had we missed? (Katie)

Dallas Frasca

I love a rock chick. I love a rock chick wearing feathers. So let’s be honest, I was always going to like Dallas Frasca. And The Beards were in the audience. It had fun written all over it. The crowd lapped it up. The Beards front man Johann Beardraven paraded Dallas around on his shoulders. There was even a little male on male dancing up in the front row. Like. (Katie)

A bottle of hairspray, a black feathered collar and a guitar do not maketh a rock star. (Jo)

Um... catfight? I'll be taking bets on Jo v Katie if you want to get involved. "Shut up and tell us what you thought of Dallas Frasca," you say? I was into it. You're probably getting sick of me saying the same thing, but the band were total pros. I'm not rushing out to buy any albums or anything, but I was happy to see them live. (Matt)

Bankrupt Billionaires

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Bankrupt Billionaires, other than a funny little catchy song about zombies; I had no idea what I was going to see. What I did see was fantastic. Two strong female vocalists, some super cute, cheesy and awesome dance moves, catchy beats, they clearly put some thought into their performance and make music to dance to, it's a shame there's not a bigger market for these guys in Australia, especially Brisbane. I left wanting to find a CD or download something when I got home, which equals live performance success. (Jo)

Kel on Earth and Co. are to be applauded for delivering the least pretentious and dare I say funnest Bigsound set over the two nights. Bankrupt Billionaires impressed with catchy, soulful dance tunes that completely blew my expectations out of the water. More people need to get into this... now! (Matt)

There were big hoop earrings, synchronised dance moves, and a rap about zombies. I was pleasantly surprised by the Bankrupt Billionaires, and could definitely see myself dancing along after a drink or two. (Katie)

The Beards

Jo and Matt didn’t want to partake in the joy that is The Beards. Shame on those beard haters. Shame. It’s no surprise really that I absolutely loved The Beards. And what’s not to love about…

• The disapproving looks the bass player would give beardless men in the audience
• The drummer combing his hair and beard between every song
• Bringing a bearded man on stage and presenting him with $5 to congratulate him on his facial hair (and then asking for the money back)
• The beard love between the vocalist and guitarist
• Announcing every song with “This song is about beards”

Some might say that The Beards are a one trick pony. And they’d be right. But what a hilarious trick. It’ll never get old for me. (Katie)

Mia Dyson

I liked Mia Dyson, but after Matt interviewed her earlier this month, I started listening a little more and seeing her live only confirmed my position, yep, I'm a Mia Dyson fan. Her powerful voice, her beautiful lyrics, her absolute professionalism when faced with an 'interesting' (read: appallingly disrespectful and embarrassing) audience, her strong band and her warmth as an artist all made me wish this was a real gig and not just a showcase performance. Seeing 'Dancing' performed live would be one of my Big Sound and 2012 music highlights. Having experienced two nights of live music, I was hoping the whole Big Sound experience ended on a high. I wasn’t disappointed. We could have seen someone after her, but I'm really glad we didn't, because Mia Dyson was like the icing on the cake of two nights of live music and in case you haven’t worked out yet; live music, good, bad, boring, exciting, amazing, horrible, average or goose bump inducing, is something I love. (Jo)

I'm going to be honest; two drunk 18 year old ho's and their lame-o, lanky BF's took away a lot from my enjoyment of this set. They got up on the stage to dance and pose like skanks not because they knew a) who Mia Dyson was or b) enjoyed the music they were listening to... they did it because they were young, drunk and extremely stupid. Their sense of style was also appalling, they need someone to teach them how to apply mascara and that skirt you were wearing ho number one? With hips like that I'd be avoiding it. Dyson, obviously a much calmer, nicer human being took it all in stride, refusing to knock them off the stage with her guitar. A missed opportunity I say. Rant over. Kinda. Dyson's performance was flawless, her voice is truly one of the most under appreciated in all of music and her skills on the guitar? Out of control! Hopefully I'll have to chance to see a real show soon. (Matt)

Bigsound 2012 in Review...
by Jo Michelmore

The concept of Big Sound is awesome. Three days of talking about music, two nights of live music. It’s like Australia’s mini version of SXSW, which I guess is what the organisers are hoping for. 120 bands, twelve venues, all within a kilometre radius of each other; it’s a live music lovers dream, a mid week music festival broken up into two parts. Like any music festival, it has its ups and downs. The ups? So many new discoveries, so many bands I may never have known and some I knew I loved, the sharing a love of music with like-minded people of all walks of life, the clean-ish facilities and lack of line-ups for drinks and food! Yes! The downs? Having to attend a day job in between all the awesomeness, having to decide which bands to see when the timetable overlaps and having to share the event with two types of attendees, both as annoying as each other. The ‘see and be seen’ types (if you don’t love the music find a bar with a full fridge and leave the rest of us alone) and the incredibly intoxicated (if you just wanted to party, why didn’t you wait until Friday night? I’m here to see some music, shut up and get out of my way; yes, I’m talking to you two at Mia Dyson, that stage was hers and don’t you ever think you had any right to share it).

So, Big Sound, success? Well, I’m looking forward to next year, so that must be a yes. Success. Thanks Big Sound. We’ve got a date, this time next year.

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