As the sun sets in Brisbane over this wet first week of September, delegates and festival goers alike descend on the busy streets of the Fortitude Valley to experience the live music portion of BigSound Festival. With artists only given 30 minutes to impress some of the most influential and passionate people in the Australian music industry, it’s easy to see some nerves are running high.
Kicking off the showcases on Night 1 at a crowded Black Bear Lodge is a seemingly confident and excited Hazlett who quickly expresses how this is the biggest crowd he has ever played to. Premiering some brand new songs from his forthcoming second EP he impressed with the strong songwriting and anthemic sound he has adapted to. ‘I Can Be Your Firework’ and ‘Sunkissed’ had a real festival vibe to them with their uplifting and emotional deliveries which will instantly become new fan favourites. Throwing it back to his last EP ‘Honey, Where Is My Home’ he delivered the chilled ‘Cool It Child’ before inviting Asha Jefferies to the stage for a duet of ‘Couldn’t Be Done’. With just him and a drummer on stage he managed to bring together the whole sound incredibly well and deliver a captivating set full of raw emotion and smooth vocals.
Handsome is the new musical project from Caitlin Park and as she takes to the stage at Heya Bar it is instantly noticeable that this is going to be a pretty memorable set. The Sydney based singer-songwriter will be releasing her debut EP ‘No Hat, No Play’ on September 21 but she premiered the tracks to the eager crowd and had everyone instantly grooving along. ‘Late Night Ball Game’ brought in the funky production with big drums and synths while ‘Save Some Love’ heard her distorting her vocals and changing the pitch to give a cool dramatic effect. Stripping it down for ‘TV Set’ she had the audience captivated with the emotional lyrics and the gospel production that had the lyrics “I don’t want to know you anymore” playing on your mind. For the experimental new track ‘Wilds’ she mixed in a cover of Destiny Child’s ‘Say My Name’ which had her trying to get the slightly reserved audience dancing. Closing her set with the new single ‘No Cowards’ she truly did cement herself as one of the festivals most exciting promising new acts. Her set had a few minor technical issues but she showed true professionalism with natural audience conversation that had the crowd laughing and interacting along.
Over the past two years I have become quite fascinated by Eilish Gilligan. The Melbourne based singer-songwriter has this ability to capture raw emotion along with vivid imagery that truly brings these stories to life. Dancing her way across the stage with a floral dress and glittery eye shadow she launched straight into her pop polished current single ‘Patterns’. With only a couple of songs released it was unsurprising that she was going to perform a lot of unreleased material. ‘Hold Me Down’, ‘I Never Should Have Involved You’, ‘Achievement’ and ‘Again’ had you wanting studio versions of these new songs instantly. Whilst old tracks like ‘Creatures Of Habit’ and ‘The Feeling’ had long term supporters singing along. Closing her set with the magical ’S.M.F.Y’ she impressed with her insane vocal range that seems so seamless. Ellish Gilligan is an artist who is continuously growing, evolving and is becoming an exciting artist to keep an eye on in the pop world.
Running through the rainy streets of the Fortitude Valley it becomes apparent that Kwame has become a little popular with it becoming quite hard to find a spot to watch him at the packed Elephant Hotel. As he confidently delivers fan favourites like ‘No Time’ and ‘Feel Good’ he had the crowd jumping up and down and singing along. His energetic set was complimented well by a strong light show and the aesthetic light rain which was perfectly setting the mood in the outdoor venue.
Over at the Family, Gold Coast producer Paces kicked off his energetic live set by showing the crowd just how he builds together the tracks with live synths and drums. Welcoming Doolie onstage for ‘Don’t Run’ he then introduced Midas Gold for ‘Call The 5-0’ which had the enthusiastic crowd bopping along. Accompanied by some dancers, a giant inflatable elephant and a dynamic light show it was obvious that the visual element of his set was quite important. It also lifted this electronic set to give it another dimension. He continued his set with the Jess Kent collaboration ‘1993 (No Chill)’ and the bold Guy Sebastian duet ‘Siren’. A lot of his set saw him playing tracks from his brand new album ‘Zag’ and the crowd were eating up every second.
Local punk favourites Stateside have played The Brightside stage many times before but tonight the tight four piece seemed a little bit nervous and even more excited to hit the stage. As the band were performing through a setlist of news tracks and songs from their EP ‘Naive’ they really proved just how much they had grown as a band. Their sound was cohesive, Erin’s vocals were strong and consistent and their crowd interaction was on point. New track ‘Heaven’ was instantly catchy whilst crowd favourite ‘This Is War’ had some excited fans throwing it down at the front. Taking a moment to strip things down lead vocalist Erin Reus expressed the importance of mental health awareness with the high number of suicides that we see from the ages 15-44 in Australia. ‘Hard To Love’ was a intimate little moment before the band turned up the volume again and closes their set with a lot of energy. Punk-pop is a dying genre of music in Australia and it’s great to see a local band delivering such strong harmonies and lyrics whilst proudly waving the punk-pop flag.
It only seems appropriate that you should finish night 1 of Bigsound with the soothing and powerhouse vocals of Eliott. In only a few short months the Melbourne singer-songwriter has quickly impressed with her vulnerable lyrics and strong vocals that instantly captivate you. ‘Figure It Out’ had the Heya Bar crowd swaying back and forth before she stripped it down with the intimate ‘Circles’ and ‘Talking Bout You’. She then performed her current new single ‘Calling’, taken from her forthcoming debut EP ‘Bold Enough’ which is out on September 14. Welcoming a friend on stage for her new track ‘Shaking My Hips’ the two vocalists harmonised and implemented some fingers clicks which introduced a new mood to her sound. She talked about her songwriting and candidly spoke about how that songs was about someone she was seeing moving on and dating someone else and having to deal with that heartbreak. Closing her set with the beautiful and mesmerising debut single ‘Over & Over’ she highlighted just how much control she has of her vocals with some insane vocal runs that had the crowd cheering in support.