BIGSOUND 2018

WHEN: TUES­DAY, SEPTEM­BER 4TH – FRI­DAY, SEPTEM­BER 7TH 2018 WHERE: FOR­TI­TUDE VAL­LEY, BRIS­BANE RE­VIEW: MATT DO­RIA • LIVE PHO­TOS: ROCHELLE FLACK CON­FER­ENCE PHO­TOS: JUSTIN MA / SA­VAN­NAH VAN DER NIET / LACH­LAN DOU­GLASS

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

In which we take a deep dive into the fu­ture of Aus­tralian mu­sic.

Even af­ter 17 years, the an­nual BIGSOUND fes­ti­val con­tin­ues to evolve. As al­ways a cel­e­bra­tion of the in­no­va­tions and rev­e­la­tions shap­ing the Aus­tralian mu­sic in­dus­try, this year’s bash posed a no­table fo­cus on au­di­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion. Gone was the usual slew of two-di­men­sional pan­els for pun­ters to sit in and lis­ten to – those still thrived, of course, but co­ex­isted with work­shops and fo­rums that en­cour­aged the younger guns amongst us to make their voices heard.

If there’s one rea­son you should make the pil­grim­age to a fu­ture BIGSOUND, it’s the live mu­sic. From leg­ends like Re­gur­gi­ta­tor and Ella Hooper (plus a mid­night set from the one and only Paul Kelly) to the up-and-com­ing hope­fuls who had barely touched a stage, there was no short­age of riffs and pits to sooth our crav­ings.

And though we’re round­ing off on 15 of our favourites now, there were count­less young vagabonds that took our breath away – like the care­free indie grooves of RAT!Ham­mock; Cable Ties and their neck-snap­ping punk fury; Alice Skye mak­ing us feel all the feel­ings and Sleep Talk prov­ing that Oz hard­core is as in­cen­di­ary as ever.

So with­out fur­ther ado, here are the acts we thought crushed it the hard­est at BIGSOUND 2018. ‘Til next time...

THE BEAU­TI­FUL MON­U­MENT

De­fy­ing the lim­its of their PA with a mix that served both wall-rat­tling gui­tars and glit­ter­ing synths jus­tice, the post-goth­core five­some made a stun­ning case for their in­evitable dom­i­na­tion of the scene. Driv­ing their set was a stack of jams from their stun­ning de­but, I’mTheSin. A fol­lowup is due in 2019 – pray we might sur­vive its riffs.

THE BETHS

With de­fi­antly buoy­ant rhythms and in­stantly ad­dic­tive hooks, the Ki­wis shined with a lu­mi­nos­ity that other bands in their class just couldn’t match. El­iz­a­beth Stokes stole the set up front, a triple-hit combo of dusty strums, hon­eyed vo­cal melodies and ef­fer­ves­cent en­ergy whip­ping us head over heels from the sec­ond she kicked into gear.

CRY CLUB

With­out so much as a drum­mer to back them, the alt-pop duo brewed a live sound that was pre­pos­ter­ously huge. Mic in hand, Heather Ri­ley chan­nelled a prime-era Ger­ard Way, twist­ing around the stage like their bones were made of rub­ber. Jonathon Tooke’s riffs were de­light­fully spicy, too, both el­e­ments fus­ing with­out a hitch. We need an al­bum and tour, right the f*** now.

EAT YOUR HEART OUT

Welp, it’s of­fi­cial: pop-punk is cool again. The trail­blaz­ers spent not a sec­ond in respite dur­ing their 30-minute con­quests, shred­ders Will Moore and An­drew An­der­son lay­ing a crisp and crackly base for front­woman Caitlin Henry to soar over. Our pre­dic­tion? These kids will be tear­ing the­atres to shreds within the year.

G FLIP

Speak­ing of new­bies that are sure to have the world in a trance come their break­through, Ge­or­gia Flipo turned a car park full of in­dus­try moguls into a dizzily eu­phoric dance club, circa ‘95. Bound­ing be­tween an axe, bass, keys and drums – some­times all within the same track – the pop-rock princess beamed with an im­pen­e­tra­ble spright­li­ness.

GE­OR­GIA MUL­LI­GAN

‘En­chant­ing’ doesn’t even start to cut it. Her vo­cals cut deep, the moun­tain­ous har­monies soaked in hu­man­ity and ex­e­cuted with a pas­sion un­ri­valled. The bluesy twang of the gui­tars ab­sorbed them like marsh­mal­lows in hot choco­late, sweet­ened ev­er­more by heart­felt num­bers that de­manded sur­round­ings much more op­u­lent than the dive bar we caught her in.

MISS JUNE

Driven by quick ‘n’ gritty riffs, punchy drums and hear-on-sleeve vo­cal hooks, the fiery fourpiece are breath­ing new life into the punk sphere. Their head­bang-heavy bar set di­alled back to the hey­day of the ‘90s scene (leader Annabel Lid­dell wielded a rad Joan Jett-ish fierce­ness), but their mot­ley stage dy­nam­ics felt dis­tinctly modern.

MOAN­ING LISA

Mak­ing cook­ies un­der­wa­ter. Grow­ing a sec­ond head. Re­mem­ber­ing that cool idea you had at 3AM last night. These are just a cou­ple of things that are less im­pos­si­ble than watch­ing Moan­ing Lisa play with­out a big, dorky grin on your face. The chem­istry be­tween the four Can­ber­ran alt-rock­ers was as strik­ing as their songs were stun­ning (see: ex­tremely).

RACHEL MARIA COX

Pair­ing bright and jan­gly emo-rock gui­tars with bouncy, retro flavoured synths, Cox and their band mus­tered the per­fect blend of panic and disco. Each track was its own jour­ney through the oft chaotic mind of Cox their­self, with cap­ti­vat­ing sto­ries lay­ing the frame­work for sound­scapes that can­tered from sim­ple riffs into lively and thriv­ing cho­ruses. Keep an ear out for LP2 in 2019.

SAN MEI

Wield­ing her Tele­caster like a ma­chine gun ready to fire, each dry, rum­bling strum was a bul­let that hit us straight in the heart, her pris­tine and emo­tive vo­cals serv­ing as the tourni­quet that kept us hold­ing on. Ac­cen­tu­ated with dreamy synths and a brazenly smoky rhythm sec­tion, Mei be­came an in­stant talk­ing point at BIGSOUND.

STATE­SIDE

Un­der­cut by twin­kling synths and war­bly bass, the lo­cal out­fit’s pop-punk jams and play­ful spirit were im­pos­si­bly in­fec­tious. It’s hard to be­lieve they only had one gui­tarist on­stage, Ethan Lae­nen rip­ping out a shred mightier than Thor’s ham­mer. Cou­pled with a voice as pow­er­ful as Erin Reus’, they’ve got a fool­proof for­mula on their hands.

SWEATER CURSE

They’ve a knack for hooks that glue them­selves to your brain and their cho­rus game is strong as all hell, but it was the sim­ple in­ter­play be­tween gui­tarist Chris Langenberg and bassist Mon­ica Sot­tile (both trad­ing vo­cal du­ties) that made the lo­cal indie-emo trio re­ally stand out. Fun, fresh and melod­i­cally mas­sive – es­pe­cially when it came to cuts from their forth­com­ing de­but EP.

TOTTY

Glo­ri­ously gruff and de­li­ciously DIY, the aptly self-de­fined “shed rock­ers” rev­elled in sum­mery riffs and blis­ter­ing drums, pasted over with cho­ruses de­signed to be chanted back at them. If you’ve got a sweet spot for bands like Dune Rats or Vi­o­lent Soho, there’s a good chance these Wol­lon­gong wail­ers will steal your heart.

TO­TAL PACE

Star­ring mem­bers of DZ Deathrays, Vi­o­lent Soho, Tape/Off and I Heart Hiroshima, this lo­cal unit sim­ply weren’t al­lowed to fail. And of course they didn’t – a three-way axe at­tack drove a set of numb­ing grunge-in­fused punk scorchers, re­verb howl­ing like wolves in the moon­light and de­struc­tive lev­els of dis­tor­tion punch­ing us square in the tem­ples.

WALKEN

Two parts teen angst and one part cheap beer: the trio took us back to 1998 when they pum­melled into a set of coarse and calami­tous feel­good bangers. Flavoured with just a hint of dis­tor­tion, Matt Cochran and Pat Shipp’s earnest fret­ting hit hard and car­ried a dy­namic far state­lier than their laid­back punk cuts de­manded. Ex­pect big things (and big­ger pits) in their fu­ture.

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