Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer.
BIGSOUND 2019 sees 18 years of this amazing and epic event brought to you by QMusic. 4 days and nights where almost every venue in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley comes alive with a string of performances from artists and bands all there to show anyone and everyone involved in the music industry as well as fans exactly what they’ve got. A showcase of extreme levels of talent, BIGSOUND is a hugely important part of our local music scene and reaches even further than that.
With 18 official venues participating and hosting 270 showcases, the Fortitude Valley has been pumping hard over the last few days and nights, keeping all venues super busy with all their hard working staff on board to tend to the masses of industry folk, artists, bands and fans. Brisbane is full of some of the most wonderful live music venues and in my mind the event not only showcases the artists and bands, but also our venues which here at Good Call Live, we are so extremely proud of.
Over the years BIGSOUND has been a pathway for many artists and bands who’ve successfully impressed and wowed those who caught their sets. With names like Megan Washington, Gang Of Youths, Courtney Barnett, Flume, The Temper Trap and so many more being discovered at BIGSOUND.
This year the Good Call Live team was on ground, running from venue to venue to capture as much of the live performances as humanly possible. Last night I was on duty with photographer, Sam Townsend by my side. We got in early, grabbed a beverage, downloaded the BIGSOUND app and begun our night. The valley was decked out with artwork and decorations to reflect the musical magic and bright energy the whole area was giving us for BIGSOUND.
We kicked things off at Family, one of Brisbane’s well known nightclubs. I have not been to the venue for many moons and when I used to go it was for very dance and doof- like nights. Seeing some live bands there on stage was brilliant and very different. Arriving early, we eagerly awaited to get the night rolling with Melbourne’s grungy rockers, LOSER.
I have not had the pleasure of seeing these legends play live until now and they exceeded any expectations I may have had. Somewhat of a super group, I still remember the day I found out bassist, Craig Selak was leaving my beloved Bennies. The sadness was short lived when not only did The Bennies sort out an ideal replacement in Nick Williams, but Selak continued being amazing now with his new musical venture, LOSER. LOSER is Tim Maxwell (Apart From This / Grim Rhythm), Craig Selak (ex-The Bennies), Chris Cowburn (ex-The Smith Street Band), Jake Farrugia (Grim Rhythm) and Will Maxwell. Their sound is thick and grungy with three guitars adding to the layers of sound they punch out on stage. Seeing Selak perform with LOSER was like seeing him in a whole new light, his enthusiasm, energy and love for this band was clear and all five members have an obvious connection playing together. They played their newest single Out Of Luck which is one of my favourites along with a set played to perfection. I stood there, loving every minute and turned around at one stage to find members from Violent Soho there in support including the mastermind and manager of Domestic La La (who LOSER are signed too) and Soho guitarist, James Tidwell. Absolutely love seeing him out supporting all of his bands all the time, the music world needs more Tidwell’s in it, that’s for sure. LOSER were the perfect start to my night. Being a 90’s grunge girl at heart, this is totally my jam.
Next up on stage was the divine indie rocker, Jaguar Jonze. Wow. I was impressed from the moment she took to the stage, she’s petite, but she is fierce! Her soaring vocals and sultry dark, emotion filled rock was a hit to the heart. She performed effortlessly, like this was something that came natural to her. Her calm yet committed delivery was well received by all who were there to witness her magic. I only caught a few songs before it was off to our next destination.
Hot footing it to Crowbar, the ‘home of the heavy’ and hands down, one of my favourite venues in Brisbane, we arrived just in time to catch some of Sydney’s fusion hip hop punkers, Shady Nasty’s set at Crowbar Black. I walked in to hear them say “We are Shady Nasty – remember that!” and remember I will, I only caught a little of their set, but they made an impression on me that’s for sure. I love a band that brings me something different, that catches my attention and draws me in, and they certainly did that.
Melbourne’s garage punk rockers, Private Function were playing downstairs at Crowbar and the room was so extremely packed that I struggled to get in! Feeling like an overly squashed sardine in a way too small tin, I could not bear to stay long unfortunately. But from what I saw and heard; it was obvious why the room was so packed out. These guys killed it and I heard people talking about their stellar performance continuously throughout the night.
Next up was the band I was waiting for. My love for this band is immeasurable. I first discovered DREGG when I got a press release sent to me for their latest single, Hyperbole. I literally sat in front of my laptop, watching the video and going ‘Who the fuck ARE these guys!?’ DREGG are like nothing else, like no one else. It was instant fan girl to the extreme. They are next level awesome and I hope the whole world finds out. Their inclusion in BIGSOUND this year completely justified, and I only hope some of those watching will help take these guys further.
DREGG are Christopher Mackertich on vocals, Jordan McQuitty and Sam Yates on guitars, Aiden Zovic on bass and Horhay Delalopez on drums and they are a force to be reckoned with. With a fusion of sounds that fits the hardcore genre but with elements of other genres, they’ve got it all. Mackertich’s vocals and stage presence reminiscent of some kind of perfected blend of Zach de la Rocha and Eminem. His interaction with the crowd in between songs was fun but also made us think and reflect on deep matters and things of importance; inspiring and encouraging us to aspire to things we want to do and be in life. I have been fortunate to interview them twice over the last few months and I recall talking about seeing DREGG live to really get the whole DREGG experience and it’s so true. Listening to their music and watching their awesome, obscure, artistic and shock value filled music videos is one thing. Seeing them live on stage is another thing all together. I’ll be a DREGG (fan) ‘till I’m dead.
Next a change of pace as we dash up to Woolly Mammoth to catch the end of Reija Lee’s set. Perth’s very own DnB pop princess. Lee’s music is like candy pop; sweet, smooth and honey dipped, her vocals like silk. But there is more depth to her songs than just that candy pop vibe, they really make you feel. Her performance was on point. She stood on stage with so much confidence and gave off a feeling that she knows exactly who she is and where she is going with her music. Her guitarist and drummer equally as enjoyable to watch and listen too and a nice element to her whole performance, I thoroughly enjoyed the two songs I managed to catch and wish I’d seen the whole set.
Back to Crowbar to catch some of The Gloom In The Corner. Holy shit. These guys are heavy as hell and their performance was like a hard slap in the face from the small Crowbar Black stage. Melbourne metalcore at it’s finest. When interviewing DREGG, this was one of the bands they mentioned I should catch if I could and I am so glad I did. Definitely a band to watch.
A very quick reprieve as we stuffed greasy cheesy Valley pizza into our mouths then off to our last stop of the night. The Outpost. First of all, I am so in love with this venue. I honestly feel like I am walking into a set from something like Peaky Blinders when I walk in here. Down the alleyway, up the stairs and into the darkness, the stage to one side, the bar down further, it’s classy but not so classy that you feel out of place in your 3 year old connies and casual attire.
Walking in to find The Dead Love already pelting out their grunge rock tunes, this was the perfect ending to my night of top quality live music! Sydney’s The Dead Love never fail to absolutely kill it live on stage. This three piece is made up of Stevie Knight, Clint Ossington and Miles Cochrane. Three uber talented musicians who are gorgeous inside and out. They love their music and they love their fans and it shows. Playing all their best sing along tracks, including fan favourites, Ordinary, Pick Me Up and finishing the night with one of my personal favourites, Sugarcoat.
So this is where the night COULD have ended up messy with drinks at the stunning Fortitude Music Hall BUT we decided to be sensible and call it a night to enable us to get home with enough time for a tiny bit of shut eye before being up early for us both to switch from live music chasing crazies back to Mum mode and into a day of editing and writing. Wise choice we think, though I am sure the night went on much longer for many and I am sure everyone had the best of times.
This is just a small recount of an outstanding music festival absolutely chock full of talent. I wish I could have caught every act, but it is just not possible!
BIGSOUND 2019 was my first BIGSOUND experience and although I only made it along for one night, it is a night I shall never forget. Every single person involved in bringing us BIGSOUND should be extremely proud of what they’ve given us. Every volunteer, venue, staff member, band, artist, fan, supporter, reviewer, photographer, publicist, promoter, artist and whomever else should all be proud of BIGSOUND 2019. A HUGE success and an amazing festival for all involved. I can’t wait for next year. Bring on BIGSOUND 2020!