Back in the flesh for the first time since 2019 and celebrating its 21st birthday this year, BIGSOUND is back with a bang and then some in 2022.
With 300 performances over three nights to choose from, it’s impossible to be across all the up-and-coming talent on offer, but when there are so many unknown gems to uncover, the only way to do it is to dive right in.
First up was Brisbane-based Talk Heavy at Wooly Mammoth Mane Stage. The quartet opened with a warmly received Acknowledgement of Country before launching into an unholy racket of pop-punk goodness; all catchy, sardonic, and fun. Despite guitarist Pat jokingly exclaiming, “All our songs are about Bret Hart”, a collection of tracks from their upcoming EP, including ‘I Wanna Skate Again’ prove otherwise in a fine start to the evening.
Over at the Prince Consort, Sydney’s Enclave produced an altogether more ominous mood that probably would feel at home in the Road House in Twin Peaks on Halloween. With a darkly engaging frontman whose style and delivery sits somewhere between an intensely brooding Mick Jagger and Brandon Lee’s character in ‘The Crow’, the band is well worth checking out. Single ‘Bloodletting’ is a good entry point for this unique act.
“Hello, BIGSOUND, we’re Future Static,” is the call at Ric’s Backyard as a flurry of high-octane, high-energy heavy rock is let loose on a captivated audience. The likely destruction of dozens of sets of eardrums aside, the Melbourne five-piece’s barrage of noise goes down a storm as singer Amariah Cook proved to be one of the most impressive of the night. Third song of the set and new single ‘Venenosa’ was a highlight.
At the Zoo, Queen P wasn’t blasting the crowd with noise, but winning them over with charm, humour, and confidence, and proving herself to be a star in the making, if she isn’t one already. The diminutive rapper still managed to cajole the audience to get onboard with lines like, “This is BIGSOUND, not small sound!” and the audience responded in spades; most especially during a fun cover of Missy Elliott’s ‘Work It’.
An absolutely rammed Blute’s Bar was the setting for Jem Cassar-Daley’s stylish blend of indie-pop, with the large, buzzing crowd including dad Troy. Opening with ‘Letting Go’ and moving into ‘Like It More’, the singer-songwriter and recent Queensland Music Award winner showed exactly why there’s been so much attention coming her way in recent times.
At Ivory Tusk, the call, “We’re Greatest Hits and we’re here to play them” opens the best performance of the evening based on a vibe of sheer throwaway fun and weirdness alone. The Gold Coast trio blend genres and styles effortlessly, with a sound akin to a synth-drenched sonic scream that puts the hook in you early and doesn’t let go. The vibe of simply wanting to have fun above anything else is a welcome approach at an industry festival, and the discipline of keeping up the schtick for a full 30 minutes is worthy of praise alone. ‘Palm Springs’, a song about “us never going to Palm Springs”, went over particularly nicely. Well played, Greatest Hits.
Around the corner at The Loft, Brisbane’s Hallie pulled off a slick pop masterclass with a set of cleverly crafted songs delivered with a powerful voice alongside a stage presence that belied their youth. Based on this performance, it’s easy to see how their fanbase could go from big to massive in no time at all.
Back at Ivory Tusk, WILSN delivered arguably the most soulful set of the evening. The Melburnian’s bio opener, ‘Possessing the kind of voice that stops you in your tracks’ couldn’t be more on the money; her vocals provided a genuine ‘wow’ moment towards the end of an already talent-filled night of music.
Back at The Loft, the crowd swelled for Noah Dillon, and the Fremantle singer-guitarist delivered in fine style to cap off BIGSOUND night one, with even one or two of the BIGSOUND staff getting side-tracked from their door duties to come in and join in or film the fun. Dillon doesn’t build slowly; opener ‘Alive and Kicking’ got the audience bouncing from the off, following it with ‘Drip Dry’ from the ‘Kill the Dove’ album to keep the party going.
Let’s see what the nights two and three have in store.