Fortitude Valley, Brisbane QLD
September 3-5, 2019
Ah BIGSOUND. Australia’s answer to South By Southwest in the states, but held in Brisbane, home of Milton Mangoes, The Veronicas and Fortitude Valley where stacks of acts and music industry professionals (and unprofessionals like me) congregate to check out the next crop of upcoming Australian bands to froth over and jump behind. As with every year we’ve covered this magnificent music junket, our nights were spent at Crowbar sussing out the heaviest/rockiest bands on the showcase lineup (and harassing Matt and Denis) alongside a plethora of heavy music fans keen to sink their teeth in too. We also ventured out and about this year, interviewing bands for our BIGSOUND Special podcast (listen here), sussing out a few different venues to expand our horizons and below is what we came across…
Hands down, without a doubt the BEST band at BIGSOUND 2019. Their ferocious hardcore sound could be heard for kilometres away with frontwoman Jelena Goluza screaming her way into the lives of everyone who managed to stop by their showcases. The captivating thing I love about this woman is, in person, she is the nicest and most bubbliest personality you can ever meet… on stage, her politeness is replaced by her (and the band’s) battle for justice, equality and message they’re absolutely fucking nailing at getting out there. After “coming out” (hate that term) a couple of years back, I have felt welcomed and wanted within the heavy music scene, something which keeps me doing this on a daily basis, but for the first time EVER, I felt 100% completely safe, appreciated and included during Outright‘s shows which is exactly how EVERYONE should feel when going to any heavy gig. Everyone was on the same level, watching this band annihilate the hate, misogyny and straight-up tear apart any prejudice the naysayers may have had against them and the scene. The future of brutally heavy music in Australia is in great hands especially with the likes of BIGSOUND alumni like High Tension, Pagan and now Outright thrown in the mix.
Being Jane Lane
It’s no secret, these upcoming punks have been on our radar for a while now so it was bloody brilliant to see a vast array of punters getting in early to check these ladies out. They played a whole stack of fan fav/singles including ‘Sailboat‘, ‘Be Okay‘ and ‘Next Step‘ with frontwoman Teigan Le Plastrier throwing herself into the crowd and all about the place as she belted out the songs with her raw, and gritty vocals. Special shout out needs to go to bassist Louise Sanders, who rocked the fuck out with her leg in a moon boot after a pretty nasty injury she copped at a recent gig… Get this, it wasn’t a heavy band either, it happened at Fleetwood Mac. The ladies closed their set with ‘Less Is More‘ with guitarist/shredmaster PB Chim politely calling for a circle put, which was delivered by about three people in attendance (myself included) which still counts alright! A fun way to kick off the big week of bands at big sound.
Reigning from NSW’s Central Coast, this powerhouse quartet played two very different shows, both of which scored rave reviews from those in attendance. For a band so early into their careers, they performed like they’d been together for decades which I guess is a testament to their “friends first, band second” mentality they told us about during our interview (coming soon to a very special podcast). They powered through their latest Eventide EP with precision and really proved they deserved a spot on this lineup. Shredmaster Brandon Lloyd lapped up every second of his solos while bassist Miles Knox flung himself across the stage like an escaped prisoner on the run for his life. Together with Shannon Griesberg bashing away on drums and frontwoman Monique Pym belting out song after song (including an epic climax which saw her holding a note for what seemed to be a few minutes), they definitely turned a few heads and gained a lot more respect in the process. BIGSOUND‘s purpose is 100% for bands like Reliqa, who haven’t been able to afford to head out of their home state (or close proximity) to showcase their talent to the masses. I for one can’t wait to see what happens next…
The Gloom in the Corner
Melbourne’s best kept secret is TGITC. Why these guys aren’t bigger than what they are right now is astounding but it won’t be long before they’re flying through the ranks to join bands like Justice For The Damned and Alpha Wolf who have absolutely nailed their sound and accumulated large followings in the process. Despite having some minor in-ear issues during their first gig, they backed it up with some impressively heavy vocals and riffs (including FUCKING SYNCRONISED HEADBANGING BY ALL 3 GUITARISTS) which was hilariously mesmerising and completely welcomed. Their second set went off without a hitch, leaving the majority of us wanting more. Keen to see them on their next visit to the Sunshine State and if you get a chance to catch them before then, do it!
If you’ve been looking for another new age Aussie punk/rock band to fill the void in your life, look no further than Loser. A bunch of fucking legends with a great sound akin to that of Violent Soho, Dear Seattle and WAAX. These guys pulled a massive crowd (even bigger than the sneezing group of festival goers I saw exiting a special needs toilet together) during their showcase at the Family nightclub including plenty of who’s who from within Australia’s heavy music scene, all of whom looked like they were enjoying themselves. The band have recently joined Domestic La La‘s roster, helmed by James Tidswell (Soho) who will no doubt take them under his wing and launch them on a much larger scale than ever imagined. Definitely check out their new song ‘Out Of Luck‘ which I ended up playing on repeat for several hours after their show and get involved with what the band has to offer both musically and personally (as they’re all a bunch of fucking legends).
There’s plenty of heavy bands in Australia right now, but none more mesmerising than Wither with David De La Hoz up front. There’s something about this guy and this band which is so fucking awesome to bear witness to. From the second he takes to the stage (wait, even well before then), he has this persona of a man, overcome with severe trauma and the way he releases it is via the songs they play which are both captivating and terrifying at the same time. I was lucky enough to catch them supporting Thy Art Is Murder a little while back, but holy shit, it won’t be long before they’re selling out their own headline tours. They’re wrapping up their sets with new single ‘Use Me‘ which gives us a sneak peek at what is next from them and if it’s as heavy, brutal and enthralling to witness as that single was, sign us the fuck up!
Upon crashing the OzTix party (like we do every year), myself and legendary writer Matt Doria stopped mid-conversation to froth over Sly Withers, a band neither of us had intended on catching but we’re stoked we were in the “right place at the right time” for them because, holy shit, they killed it. They have that Aussie pop punk/rock vibe sound much like The Smith Street Band (without the drama though) with excellent harmonies and a wholesome stage presence that made you want to share a beer with them post-show. I’m keen to see more of them in future because they just had something about them that needs to be heard.
I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS BAND BEFORE IN MY LIFE and that statement is not only scary but also concerning that there is only one band like this in the world (that I’m aware of) right now. The best way to explain Dregg to you is that they’re like Limp Bizkit blended with Ocean Grove and Deez Nuts, with a dash of Cancer Bats and the insane energy that ex-letlive/current Fever 333 frontman Jason Aalon Butler brings with every show. It’s like nu-age nu-metal with unconventional costumes that just fucking work. A heavy sound, a self-obsessed anthem (‘Return of the Dregg‘ if you haven’t heard it) and a big smile on this writer’s face. They’ve got new music on the way soon, watch them explode after releasing it upon the world.
Wall of Sound writer Ebony Story and I needed a break after witnessing Dregg and headed upstairs of Crowbar for a sit down and to check out the next band they had lined up, which just so happened to be 100, a band I had no idea about prior to this week, but it seems we may have been the only ones because Crowbar Black (aka upstairs) was packed so tight, it took at least 20mins to get from the front door to behind the stage towards the toilets. Raw rock & roll, like The Chats (without the gimmick/jokes) and a touch of Violent Soho best explain what this band are about. They were a real punky surprise and I am stoked we got to lay eyes on this band who hundreds of other obviously had before but not shared their secret with the rest of us.
There was no way I wasn’t going to mention these fucking legends. Lo! (aka Look and Behold) have been on our radar for a few years now, playing plenty of support slows and music festivals in Melbourne, but nothing that I’ve been present for in Brisbane and goddamn I am fucking kicking myself for not catching them until now. Hardcore metal at it’s most heavy with resemblances to Lamb of God and Every Time I Die and one of the craziest frontmen (Sam Dillon) of the entire festival (I would KILL to see Outright and Lo! do a co-headline tour). The best part, having a chat to these guys at the end of the event, they’re some of the nicest and most approachable lads I’ve met so it made appreciating their work even more special. Both Crowbar and Elephant punters copped a gig to remember when they hit the stage and I’ll gladly be there front row the next time they show their mugs in Brisbane.
Review & Photos by Browny @brownypaul
Ebony Story’s Week
For someone who had never been to BIGSOUND before the hype was real. And so was the advice: with lots of people telling me to pace myself because these three days are exhausting; make sure you’re able to function while being a little dusty because the party doesn’t stop; and to get ready to be blown away by some band you’ve never heard of. Well, BIGSOUND was absolutely all that.
Alongside Browny, I caught the above bands (who were all mind-blowing, especially Wither and Reliqa) but I also nicked off on my own to catch a couple of other bands I’d heard a lot about.
Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers
With a tongue twister for a name and featuring four sweet/alternative looking girls on stage, this band will fast become an Aussie favourite. It was pouty punk rock with harmonising vocals and a touch of rawness and attitude. This band has made themselves incredibly relatable, with songs like ‘Are You Trying To Ignore Me’ and ‘I Like That You Like That’, simple content but they’re anything but simple up on stage. So much so, that they packed The Outpost to capacity and there was a line of people waiting to get in. I think that’s a great indicator of Teen Jesus‘ future in the music industry.
The Dead Love
Beachy, long hair and bucket hats combined with some decent grunge rock define this trio of dudes from Sydney. Sounding like a combo of Violent Soho, Dear Seattle and Basement these guys have got a good sound going for them. Working the stage and crowd like they were professionals it was easy to see why so many people turned out for their showcase, they’re honest performers with good content.
After missing their first showcase where apparently their bass guitarist was lit on fire and the vocalist climbed the framework above the seating in Crowbar Black, I thought yeah, I’d better catch their next show. Walking down the stairs in Crowbar there was a solid wall of people in the doorway, they’d packed out the room so much so it was a mission to squeeze myself a few people deep enough to actually see the stage. And what I saw was absolutely loose. Remember that time The Vines had a meltdown on Letterman? Yeah, Private Function are definitely running down that road except that everyone is there for it. At one point the vocalist threw himself on the crowd and crowd surfed centimetres from the roof. And at the end, they did a little skit mocking Frank Walker from National Tiles, which, of course, went down oh so well. Yeah, you want a party? Go see these guys.
Review by Ebony Story
Until next year BIGSOUND, it’s time to detox xoxo