Big Sound 2017
September 5-7, 2017
Feat. Bris182, WAAX, West Thebarton, Pagan, Deadlights, Osaka Punch, The Comfort, Drown This City, Introvert, Clowns, Polaris, The Beautiful Monument, Scalphunter, Endless Heights, Belle Haven, British India… and a fuckload more, but you get the idea.
Fortitude Valley was the place to be this week for the annual music junket Big Sound which in it’s 16th year, still managed to pack a punch with a plethora of new and upcoming bands to sink your teeth into, all on show for the country and world to see and goddamn we have some fantastic bands we can call our own. If you missed it, we released our Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall ‘Best of Big Sound‘ podcast where yo can hear music and interviews with some of the best acts on show, but here’s what we managed to catch during the festivities.
Introducing the Brisbane based blink-182 cover band… Yes, I said cover band. Just like Acca Dacca (AC/DC), Beyond the Dark Side (Pink Floyd) and Bjorn Again (Abba) before them, we now have a group of Gen Y lads playing blink songs and surprisingly, they can actually shred. Being a HUGE blink fan (pre-Skiba) I went along with my judgemental pants on to rip shreds into these guys, but surprisingly, that was unnecessary. Featuring 9 members on stage including 6 guitarists, 2 bassists and a drummer, it was the ultimate jam session on steroids (and hilariously, there were 2 members missing from he full line up), but their set consisted of old school blink songs like ‘Mutt‘, ‘Dammit‘, ‘Feeling This‘ and ‘The Rock Show‘ just to name a few and with that many people on stage, it actually worked.
Downside: No Atticus, Macbeth, Famous or Blink merch in sight.
Upside: No post-Tom Delonge songs were featured.
Brisbane the Big Sound veterans took to the stage twice on the first day, I caught the early slot which, while it didn’t have much in attendance, still proved that the band are killing it. Having first discovered the band 2 years prior at Big Sound, I can safely say they have grown, matured and progressed so far as musicians but still had that eye catching stage presence they’re infamous for. I wondered why they were appearing at this year’s event, considering they were pretty much on the brink of nationwide exposure and domination supporting Fall Out Boy next year, but this appearance could be classed as their graduation and farewell from upcoming status.
Finally another rAdelaide band set to explode soon and following this 7 piece’s appearance on the outside stage at The Brightside on the first night, it’s easy to see why. Their fantastic alt-rock sound attracted one of the biggest crowds of the first night (that I witnessed) and EVERYONE was digging it. I didn’t have any intention to catch these guys, but I’m so glad I stuck around because they ticked all the boxes for a band I should have heard about beforehand. Thank you Big Sound and Thank You West Thebarton for showing up.
I hate doing comparisons for bands but the best way I can explain these hidden gems is by saying this:
“Two years ago I discovered High Tension for the first time at Big Sound and immediately fell in love with their sheer brutal force. Pagan are my newly found band who were the heaviest fucking band of the whole festival and goddamn they put on a show.”
If a heavy band gives you goosebumps and gets your heart racing by the sound they produce and their stage presence, then you’ve got yourself a winner and for that, I am getting behind these Melbourne lords. Having played 6 shows over the past week (including a Secret Show at Crowbar) they gave their all and still had more to offer. Catch them on tour with Clowns now and King Parrot at the end of the year.
Brisbane bands are starting to make their mark on the rest of the country (watch out Melbourne) and the Greyscale Records signed Deadlights proved this with their live show. When you watch these guys, you know the mean business and they wanted to be there to leave their impression and they fuckin’ did this well. After chatting with frontman Dylan Davidson during the event he said the boys have all moved into the same house so they can move forward with their career and that means new music on the way very soon. With a drive and motivation like that, they’ll be big contenders in years to come.
Melodic Prog-Dad Rock at it’s best. Osaka Punch are a fun, entertaining band who have been plugging away for years. While I felt they gave their best, I didn’t walk away from the show on a high like the previously mentioned bands. Given time, they’ll get better but that’s just me.
I stuck around at 256 Wickham (formerly known as The Met nightclub) as someone mentioned to see The Comfort which features former members of She Cries Wolf and I’m glad I did. At first I saw hints of a younger incarnation of Hellions and/or The Bride and this melodic-hardcore four piece came out swinging and connected. I’m shit with remembering names at the best of times (let along after several beers down) but the last song played was an absolute banger.
Drown This City
I’ve had a hit and miss relationship with Drown This City, songs I’ve heard didn’t connect with me straight away, but I see the effort they put into their career as an independent act and I wanted to see what they could do on stage. Even though the room wasn’t as full as their previous night’s set, they still played as if there were thousands of punters in the room. Frontwoman Alex Reade combined both a flawless clean singing voice and an ear piercing scream, alongside Michael Furolo‘s growls in what I could only explain as a second coming of Architects: the Australian edition. Give them more time and they will be an unstoppable force.
Heavy. Punk. Rock. This Newcastle foursome have big shoes to fill coming from the same town as Silverchair, but the way they are going they will definitely be able to be compete with the now defunct grunge act (if not surpass them). Another genre crossing band who can’t really be categorised with one specific style, you have to see these guys live to truly get the full experience. During the set, I thought these guys sounded like a heavier Violent Soho, only to look across the room and see the ACTUAL VIOLENT SOHO MEMBERS watching and egging the boys on. Without a doubt, these guys were in my Top 3 bands of the full week. I’m now a dedicated fan and can’t wait to see them on tour with AFI.
I don’t know why these guys were at Big Sound, they’re not only big overseas, but in our own backyard and the evidence was there at all of their performances. Big crowds, stage dives, mic grabs and a “No Fucks Given” attitude when calling out the festival for their 25% share of band merch sales which was welcomed by large cheers from everyone in attendance. I remember counting no less than 25 Clowns shirts all week from people walking the area, other bands on stage and mates of mine eager to see them play.
When a band are the most talked about and hyped act of a music junket like Big Sound, there are a lot of expectations from music critics and fans alike and that was the case for Polaris. Everyone I spoke to mentioned they were seeing the guys or eager to see them again after they EXPLODED into the scene following the release of their The Guilt & The Grief EP back in 2016, so when it came time for me to see what the fuss was all about for myself, I was hooked from the first note to the last. Guitarist Rick Schneider fingered his guitar like a veteran musician and I immediately was overcome with jealously and awe, frontman Jamie Hails screamed with precision and class while the rest of the band owned the stage. They had the crowd in the palm of their hands and lived up to all expectations (and then some). They deserve my #1 spot for the Best Band at Big Sound.
The Beautiful Monument
Proof that you should never judge a band by their name, this four piece, all female act from Melbourne are my favourite discovery of 2017. I heard their single ‘Sins‘ and straight away, I was hooked. It’s easy to see why they’re getting big plays on Triple J and scored a slot on 2018‘s UNIFY lineup, their stage presence is fucking incredible. Not since Lash have I seen an all female band catch my attention as quickly as The Beautiful Monument did with their hard to categorise sound, but they rocked the fuck out enough to attract a wide range of fans, keen and eager to see what they could to live. They are my runners up of the whole week and if you haven’t discovered them yet, do it.
These Perth party boys had one of the funniest and most energetic sets behind them, frontman Steve gives me hope that I too can wear my black skinny jeans again even though I’m 30 years old and out of that phase. Another one of those genre crossing bands only this time it’s hardcore/rock n roll/punk awesomeness on offer.
Are one of those bands who put so much emotion into their songs, but when it’s time to perform them live for fans, the efforts are almost doubled. Having only heard of the boys prior to Big Sound, I was lucky enough to catch them perform to a smaller sized crowd, but even though it was an intimate setting, I could see these guys playing larger sized venues because the sound they had behind them was just incredible to hear and I’d be keen to check it out at a Hordern Pavilion styled setting.
What can be said about Belle Haven that hasn’t already been said, they have definitely proved they’re one of the next wave of post-hardcore acts to emerge within the past couple of years and in that time they’ve been signed to Greyscale Records, opened for I Prevail and are touring with Polaris in October before ripping up the stage at UNIFY 2018. If you love a good combination of melodic rock with hardcore screams, you’ll enjoy what these guys have to offer. Hit ‘Like’ on their Facebook page today, you won’t regret it.
Annnd the weirdest show I ended up at was the Surprise Set from British India who appeared out of nowhere to play songs from their forthcoming album Forgetting the Future. We were all enjoying responsible beverages (ha!) at the OzTix Party when Melbourne boys hit the stage and announced what they were doing, which kinda felt more like a live listening party than a concert. British India for me were that band whom I neither liked or disliked, but I never really got into their music (besides the song ‘I Said I’m Sorry‘ which is a banger) however I just don’t appreciate that brit-rock style. The new album sounded alright, but having heard the majority of it, I’m still not going to rush out and grab a copy.
Another Big Sound done. New bands discovered and barely any that I didn’t like this time around. It goes to show we have so many great bands emerging and starting their careers in our country that we need to see as many as we can and help support the local crop to be the best they can be… Now to detox for 6 months and sleep for a further 12 – Browny @brownypaul
The Beautiful Monument
Drown This City