Every year in September Brisbane comes alive with a showcase of some of Australia’s best musicians at 14 venues across Fortitude Valley. With around 70 artists playing each night I figured this year would be a good time to visit the BIGSOUND Live showcase, and I was right.

001Big Sound Orphans Orphans_01I started my night off at Alhambra Lounge with Brisbane ’supergroup’ Orphans Orphans and the 5 piece kicked it off perfectly. Lead singer Spencer White is absolutely captivating on stage, in a Mick Jagger or Michael Hutchence sort of way, and he delivered the lyrics in a sultry monotone. Everything else was incredibly on point: tight band, great music and a killer live show. Definitely a great start to the night and a band to keep an ear out for.

A quick wander down Brunswick St, past the pub performer covering Train’s ‘Drops of Jupiter’ took me to Black Bear Lodge for Teeth & Tongue, an old favourite of mine. I caught a couple of tracks from her latest album, including ‘The Party Is You’, and they sounded fantastic. The room was filling up nicely as I was heading out, because as much as I wanted to stay, I was determined to catch as many bands as possible.

I crossed the road to The Press Club and The Tiger & Me certainly didn’t disappoint. They opened with their new single ‘Call Me On Your Own’ and it was great. With the front windows of the club open, they were entertaining people on the other side of the street. I somehow got in to Ric’s Cafe & Bar to catch a song from Peter Bibby, one of my favourite troubadours from Perth. Cosi from Mangelwurzel was just jumping off the stage as I arrived so I think I missed something special but what I did catch was great anyway.

034Big Sound Klo_34The next band on my list was Klo so I headed on up to the triple j unearthed stage at Oh Hello! I had a bit of time so I grabbed a beer, while Apes next to me got seven $7 Sailor Jerrys, and had a quick break. Chloe introduced the set before the two of them started layering up gorgeous vocals, arpeggiated synths and simple beats to make a brilliant mix. This was only their 3rd gig and already they’ve nailed the live production, it’s obvious that these guys are on track for big things.

I headed on down to The Elephant where the stunning Jane Tyrrell was showing off her fantastic new material on the outdoor stage. She had a good crowd who were really digging on the vibes she and her band were delivering some quality grooves. This was another set I could have stayed around for, everything was really working, but I had to keep moving.

047Big Sound Scenic_47I headed down to The Rev to catch Banoffee and actually arrived early enough to catch the end of Scenic who, in just a few minutes, made me wish I’d seen their whole set. Banoffee was worth the wait between sets as well, opening with ‘Ohhhh Owwww’ from her EP and instantly winning me over with her lush, minimalist sound and emotional lyrics.

I wish I could have stayed there longer but I’m glad I didn’t because as I arrived back at Oh Hello!, L-Fresh the Lion was halfway through his second last track. The crowd was jumping and seriously getting into it before L-Fresh set it off with closer, ‘One.’ This was another set I would have liked to have gotten to earlier, he and the band were on fire and they probably had the best atmosphere of the night.

After an introduction from Sarah Howells, including a giveaway of some “free shit”, APES kicked off their set with ‘Seven’ and the crowd got a face full of the Victorian band’s world-renowned sound. The killer light show made sure they looked every bit the headliner of the unearthed showcase, and their fantastic music proved why they had that slot, and why they’re going so well here and abroad.

074Big Sound Saskwatch_74I was a bit worried as a passing photographer warned me that The Zoo was packed as I headed down to Saskwatch but chose to give it a shot anyway. It was no lie, the room was pretty full but I squeezed in and caught the last two songs which were excellent and the crowd was loving it. For me it was the perfect way to end a pretty flawless night of music and a real reminder of just how much talent there is in Australia right now.

Wes Fahey

Photos by Katie Fairservice


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