Each year BIGSOUND is progressively getting bigger and bigger. From the humble beginnings of a boutique industry showcase to highlight upcoming independent acts to becoming the four day unique festival it is now that brings industry heavyweights from all over the country and world together is something that it’s legacy upholds to.
The 2019 class is in a league of it’s own. Following last years heavy pop focus, this year is looking towards a rock, LGBTQI+ and Indigenous focus. With the Tuesday night giving everyone the first taste at what this years talented crop are all about, none of the acts held back from giving anything less than an electrifying and strong performance.
Kicking off the showcases at the new Fortitude Hall Music sister venue, The Outpost, Sycco and her band took to the stage wearing aesthetically matching turtlenecks and graced through a set of mainly unreleased material. With their jazz rock infused alternative-pop sound, they perfectly suited the jazz club feel that the venue offers. Warming up to the crowd during the set, the most captivating moments were the ones she got completely lost within the music and her guitar solos. With her in-between stage banter needing a little work, her humble presence ended up winning over the crowd along with strong songs like ‘Tamed Grief’. But the sets standout moment is the currently unreleased ‘Peacemaker’ which highlighted a funkier side to her artistry and is a crossover hit waiting to be unleashed.
Down in the grungy basement that is Crowbar, Being Jane Lane were turning up the volume and energy levels all the way to 1000. The all female punk-rock band is a refreshing take on the heavily male dominated genre. Bursting with energy, lead vocalist Teigan was on the edge of the stage and proudly up in peoples faces before jumping into the crowd and getting even more up close and personal with the captivated audience. The energetic ‘Be Ok’ and ‘Sailboat’ had the crowd bouncing along, but it was during the last song ‘Less Is More’ that saw a circle pitt break out. Their set was full of energy and light heartedness which makes them super memorable. But what was even more impressive was that the bassist Louie was rocking out in a moon boot after breaking her foot a week before, which is what we call true dedication to her art.
Representing non-binary artists on this diverse line up, Wolfjay took to the Flying Cock stage for a set full of nostalgia and self reflection. With the light bouncing off the disco ball aesthetically placed in the middle of the roof, the aesthetic was so fitting to the music they were delivering. Soaring with big guitar solos and epic pop-rock production ‘All I Ever Wanted’ and ‘Together’ were great songs to pull the crowd in with. Taking a moment to introduce themselves to the crowd Wolfjay explained the pro nouns that they would like to be used in reference to their music which is they/them. This is an integral part of the education within the music industry towards LGBTQI+ members of the community that they are incorporating within their music.
With the tight set really honing the niche they’ve found, the production is similar to your scene-kid days with the likes of Blink 182 and Fall Out Boy but with a queer heart. ’Go Home’ was a track that immediately stood out. Within the dark and honest lyrics that confess ‘I’m alone again and I don’t like what I see’, you will quickly admit that this is a voice that people in our current society need to hear.
Bringing some PC-pop to centre stage at The Wickham, LALKA may just be Australia’s answer to Charli XCX. Her set is a polished and full package of uniqueness and undeniable talent. From playing the violin, to the synth drums as well as energetically singing, rapping and running around the stage, she had the audiences immediate attention. ‘XOXO Kiss Kiss Kiss’ and ‘CTRL Alt’ were playful songs that see her just having fun on stage and really capturing her artistry. For her last song ‘Make You Nervous’ she brought Oh Boy out and gave the audience one final strong memory.
Next up on The Wickham stage was Reija Lee whose unique sound and image was all over the place but that was the cool factor of it. ‘Sad Girl’ and ‘We Were Just Kids’ were immediate standouts that had strong hooks and an electronic infused punk energy. Doing a new version of a song she did with Shockone called ‘Dark Machine’, she showed a versatility to her artistry and a cool adaption to her newly embraced sound. The song ‘Love Nobody’ made sense of her matching t-shirts with her band and kept the branding strong but could have been incorporated earlier into the set.
The pure highlight of night one had to be central Australia’s Miiesha. Fresh off the back of an Australian tour with Thelma Plum, tonight’s show marked her first ever show with her full live band, and you would’ve had no idea from how tight they were as a unit. Her honesty and humble nature immediately translated with the crowd and had you proudly on her side rooting for her. With the family orientated ‘Che Che’ having her getting a little emotional she pulled it in and delivered the super strong ‘Blood Cells’ and ‘Black Privellage’ before closing with ‘Drowning’ which really cemented her versatility as an artist. Bouncing between different scopes of genres, Miiesha is an artist that is going to dominate the touring market over the next year as she opens up her soul and provides a memorable performance of pure magic.
One of the most buzzed about acts this year is Perth’s Spacey Jane who are currently on a sold out Australian tour to promote their new single ‘Good For You’. With the packed out crowd at The Brightside squishing in to catch a glimpse, this electric four piece proved why they have earned that hype. ‘Playground’, ‘Good Grief’, ‘Cold Feet’, ’Feeding The Family’ and ‘How Much You Meant To Me’ kept the surf-rock vibes flowing throughout their set with big choruses and lots of energy. New single ‘Good For You’ received the excitement it deserved after an impressive first week on Triple J and streaming platforms. This song is one that is going make a lot of noise over summer as we lead into festival season as it’s super memorable and their strongest songwriting venture yet as a band.
Closing the nights proceedings were Eurovision Decider favourites Electric Fields who brought their unique fusion of traditional Indigenous music with dance music to the Elephant Hotel stage. Draped with moody lighting contrasted with intense stage presence, their set was a theatrical experience that surpassed just a live music offering. Plagued by a few early sound issues, the dynamic duo channeled everything to just keep going and the crowd applauded the professionalism. Dedicating their first song to the beautiful women in the crowd and the beautiful men that came from women, they celebrated femininity in a bold way.
‘Reverb’ was a dramatic song that came to life within their dramatic light show which was so fun to watch before they had to quickly wrap it up with the absolute banger ‘Don’t You Worry’. With their songs being quite long in duration, a 30 minute set made it hard to showcase different sides of the duo with time only allowing four songs.
Night 1 of BIGSOUND proved to be yet again a massive success and previewed what to expect over the next two nights which is a whole lot of versatility and energy.
Night 1 Highlight: Miiesha
Future Hit Song Alert: ‘Peacemaker’ by Sycco
Night 1 Biggest Crowd: Spacey Jane