BIGSOUND 2018 is done and dusted for another year. As always, Brisbane’s musical moment in the spotlight has heralded in a new class of Australian musical superstars that follow acts like Hockey Dad, Gang Of Youths, Courtney Barnett, and Flume to name a recent few.
While I would have loved to have caught all 150 acts over the three days (trust me, I tried), and overall, my heart was very full and I was impressed by all involved, there were a bunch of acts that really starred over the weekend, and you can look forward to seeing plenty more of them in the future.
Three huge sets over the weekend – all to packed crowds, all of which I was in – the Canberra four piece were one of my most anticipated acts for the whole event.
Night One saw the band headline the outdoor – and rain drenched – Valley Drive In stage. Vocalists Hayley Manwaring and Charlie Versegi share the kind of chemistry on stage that other bands dream of, trading blows – even trading instruments at one point – while lead guitarist and riff wizard Ellen Chan slays to the left of stage and drummer Hayden Fritzlaff rounds out the group’s empowered, shoegaze-indie sound.
In conclusion, they are a really bloody good band that you should listen to as soon as you can.
We spoke to lead singer Joab Eastley about safe spaces and wholesome good times in this month’s issue of STACK, and that’s exactly what was provided by the nicest trio in Brisbane last week.
Playing Crowbar’s upstairs stage twice, their first set in particular will go down in the BIGSOUND history books; with the venue at capacity, some punters were forced to watch the set through Crowbar’s front window as Eastley, bassist Lindsay O’Connell, and Lowes enthusiast/drummer Lewis Horne belted out their biggest hits K Bye and Suds, and provided many with a shining BIGSOUND moment.
As the week went on, the stages hometown heroes Stateside played on got bigger and better, the five-piece looking as suited to the big Valley Drive In stage as much as the more intimate Crowbar setting. Huge pop punk riffs, Jackson Lehane’s knee wobbling bass, contagious sing-alongs, and front woman Erin Reus’ commanding voice put Stateside’s name on the tip of everyone in town’s tongue.
Reus starred during the week, and kind of reminded me of the first time I saw Hayley Williams and knew immediately that Paramore were going to be huge.
The award for the biggest smile of the week goes to Bugs’ frontman Connor Brooker – his face lit up as he looked over the crowd at The Valley Drive In in the rain on Night One last week.
The Brisbane trio played three near perfect sets during the week, and bassist Jordan Brunoli swayed around the stage and pumped his chest inciting crowd singalongs – the local crowd looking on proudly as they accepted that after this week, Bugs are going to be home a lot less as they steam roll towards world domination.
What did you do on your 21st birthday? Well, West Sydney rapper Kwame celebrated with his domination of the Triple J Unearthed stage at Famous Nightclub, complete with a surprise donut cake at the end of his set.
Warming up for his national tour with Tkay Maidza that kicked off over the weekend, all three sets were bursting with energy – if this is the way Australian hip hop is heading, we’re about to take it to another level.
Eliza and the Delusionals
My most anticipated act was definitely Gold Coast group Eliza and the Delusionals; having just missed them every time they’d been in Melbourne, I wanted to make up for it in Brisbane.
Playing Valley Drive In and The Brightside respectively, the four piece dazzled during the week. Lead singer Eliza Klatt may stand out the most at front of stage, but as a whole they are an incredibly tight band; Joe Macphail (drums), Ashley Martin (guitar), and Kurt Skuse (bass) provide the strongest foundations upon which Klatt’s sparkly vocals can shine – newest track Half Empty Girl getting the biggest response.
With a new album on the horizon, this is just the beginning for E and the D.
Pop was really well represented at the Festival this year; GRAACE, Kota Banks, and Cxloe to name a few, but my pop moment of week was seeing Brisbane’s Austen deliver Too High To Cry live for the first time; unbelievable vocal control layered over expansive synths and a pinch of sass saw the singer play twice over the week as well as appearances with electronic dup SYDE.
A.Swayze and the Ghosts
Racing down to The Elephant early on night three to catch Tasmanian wild men A.Swayze and the Ghosts, I walked in to see frontman Andrew Swayze rolling around stage. It wasn’t long until he was running around the venue and across the bar (although the security staff weren’t keen on that part) and playing the tambourine with his shoe – it’s the kind of chaos that is missing from music sometimes and something I welcome back. Swayze and his ghosts doing the apple aisle proud.
Heading in the same vertical trajectory as their genre counterparts Hockey Dad are Woolongong surf punk trio Totty. Led by Kelly Jansch, the trio gave off the kind of vibe as if you were watching some mates and all you could possibly want is for them to do well – as it turns out, they did – jangling riffs in the rain on night one over a few beers, laughs, and of course, killer tunes.
You can catch the trio out on the road with Hockey Dad right now – but it’s sold out, so hopefully you have a ticket and can get down early.
Honorable mentions: enigmatic pop-queen Eilish Gilligan; the adorable Erthlings; Foals-esque Pinkish Blu; Gold Coast shredder San Mei; baby DMA’s PLANET; pop-punk pocket rockets Eat Your Heart Out; feel-good Fritz and crystalised-electronic duo Kult Kyuss.
You can also check out our full gallery of last week’s goings on