Bigsound 2014 Live Day Two Review

Little May
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Day two of Bigsound was saturated with psychedelic wonderment. It was therefore only appropriate to have the forerunner of the Australian psychedelic rock sphere open on the second evening of this key industry event.

Pioneer and tripper, Nick Allbrook (otherwise known as Pond's frontman, ex-Tame Impala bass player, one half of Allbrook & Avery, founder of Mink Mussel Creek, and Pete Bibby's drummer) is a musical oracle. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - not only is Nick Allbrook one of the most bizarre, and hilarious entertainers that I've had the joy to witness, he is an awe-inspiring musical talent and is paving the way for the future of psychedelic story-telling. His guitar loops and solos spilled with adventure and heartache, and his mouth reaffirmed this. In between his cosmic jams, Nick in his famously off-beat manner interacted with us, making us feel warm and happy. Despite the jokes, his performance had a certain eeriness or sadness to it which kept us all utterly mesmerised.

The next stop on the psych line up was to see Brisbane locals Morning Harvey who performed a thrilling set at The Underdog. And underdogs they might be, but watch this space. If their Bigsound performance is anything to go by, Morning Harvey are on the precipice of surfacing as one of Brisbane's (or maybe even Australia's) most talented, and wildest mood rockers. With slight psych undertones, their energetic drone pop goodness had the whole room rocking backwards and forwards. Keep it comin' boys.

Deterring slightly from the psych genre, I went to watch the hotly anticipated cool-dude from Sydney, Wax Witches. Alex Wall (formerly known as the Bleeding Knees Club front-human) has recently spent a bunch of time in New York city, and his music ticks all the right boxes of being a good neo-punk pop band - it had bouncy pop-influenced melodies, loud and thrashy guitars, and was an overall tight performance. Despite this, something about the performance lacked an element that I can't seem to pinpoint. Maybe it was just a case of over-hype, under-perform?

Next up, and moving back into the psychedelic realm of Bigsound, was Geelong five-piece The Murlocs who played a soulful and rowdy set at The New Globe Theatre. Standing more towards the back, I looked forward to notice that about four or five other key Bigsound artists and bands were kicking back in the crowd - including Nick Allbrook, and the boys from Morning Harvey - a sure sign that The Murlocs are well-respected, and truly influential musicians within their community. Their performance was riddled with doomy but colourful guitar, up-tempo drums, and Ambrose Kenny-Smith's whirling, throaty, nasal resonance screech, enveloping the crowd into one big ball of warmth and welcome. Crowd highlights were 'Space Cadet', and 'Tee Pee'.

Sampology BIGSOUNDIf you were lucky enough to witness Brisbane electronica-superstar, Sampology (above) close the night on the 'inthemix stage' at the Woolly Mammoth, then you're winning. We were all unsure what to expect because Sampology was playing us his never-been-played-before mixes. From tropical jungle jams, to beat boxing battles with Tom Thum (Brisbane hip-hop artist), to funky and roaring dance drops, a moving digital art backdrop, and a sensational sound system, Sampology kept us all happy. The crowd was amped up even more when Australian RnB artist, Daniel Merriweather hit the stage to perform alongside Sampology (slightly awkward at times, but nonetheless, pure entertainment). To neatly summarise the Sampology Bigsound experience - it was visually stimulating, and aurally aesthetic.

A notable mention is Airling, a Brisbane indie-electronica group who blew away the 'JBL Live Stage' at The Brightside with their atmospheric hits such as 'The Runner' and 'Ouroboros'.

Overall, the talent presented at the annual Bigsound was outstanding, and the event itself was well-organised with no blips. Those who couldn't make it this year, if this years event is anything to go by, make sure you prepare yourselves for 2015!
– Keara Forde

For the second night in a row, Oh Hello! is the place to be to kick off BIGSOUND Live, as Brisbane quintet WAAX bring an early dose of bluesy psych-rock with plenty of big riffs and bite to get the evening started. Frontwoman Marie DeVita has just the right amounts of snarl and throaty vocals combined with a slightly unhinged stage presence to make her one of the most engaging singers on show over the two nights.

One of those fantastic BIGSOUND Live surprises comes next, as Dunedin trio Males come close to obliterating the eardrums of everyone packed into Ric's Bar, with an outstanding show of powerhouse, sweat-drenched drumming from Paul 'Pipsy' McMillan being worth the ticket price alone. This band deserves mountains of attention.

What happens next at Black Bear Lodge is a much more serene affair, with Melbourne's Fraser A. Gorman knocking out mellow moods with plenty of boyish charm and big grins. His proclamation of “I hope everyone's going to hit the tubs tonight super hard, because I fucking am” gets a big response.

Over at The Rev, Adelaide's Jimblah is putting everything into his performance despite a fairly static audience, and next door at The Brightside Tkay Maidza has drawn just about every industry figure to her show; the diminutive South Australian opening with 'Arm Up', complete with searing synths.

Coach Bombay Bigsound 2014With times running over at The Elephant, a vast horde of Holy Holy fans are treated to the last few songs of electro-poppers Coach Bombay (above), including their final track 'Girls', before the Brisbane lads themselves take to the stage after a quick changeover and instantly bring a touch of class to proceedings with the opening duo of 'History' and 'If I Were You'.

The small number of punters packed into the Underdog to see Flyying Colours can consider themselves lucky, as the Melbourne psych-rock/shoegaze quartet put on a fantastically absorbing and colourful show, complete with colourful language on the subject of Peter Garrett's abilities as a member of parliament. Their latest single 'Not Today' is well worth checking out, based on this performance.

Despite having been away from the spotlight for what seems like a long time, Brisbane's Art Of Sleeping sound like a band on top form. Frontman Caleb Hodges assures the large gathering that they have been working on new material, although the band's 'old' material still sounds fresh.

To finish off the night, it had to be Melbourne's The Bennies at the New Globe Theatre. Frontman Anty had been prancing around the Valley in gold spandex trousers all night, before taking to the stage and bringing the party vibes in abundance. After expressing his disappointment with the music industry for not having yet been offered any cocaine, he leaps around the stage shouting “let's take cocaine and pingers and go fucking apeshit!” Good idea, Anty. Well played, everyone.
Paul McBride

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