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Posts Tagged ‘belle and sebastian’

Acts Seen:

Imaginary Cities, Boy in a Box, Emma Louise, World’s End Press, Evil Eddie, The Jungle Giants, Little Scout, DZ Deathrays, Jonathan Boulet, San Cisco, Oscar and Martin, The Adults, Eagle and the Worm, Seals

I went into Big Sound Live with one goal – to only see bands I had never seen live before. The thing with this showcase is that it can be so easy to go see the acts you know will be good (Ball Park Music, Velociraptor, The Cairos, The Paper Scissors, Inland Sea etc etc) but for me that seems to kind of defeat the whole purpose. Isn’t the whole idea to help punters discover new local bands and showcase local emerging artists? I mostly succeeded, I had seen a bit of Little Scout earlier this year at Belle and Sebastian and I heard a bit of World’s End Press at Splendour in the Grass but for the most part I saw a lot of acts I had never seen before, or even heard of before.

Highlights:

World’s End Press – I stayed around to catch their whole set and it was well worth it. A genre I can only describe as retro electro, they’re very 80s complete with the loud shirts and bad awesome dancing. Lots of synths and grooving basslines. I compared them to a more subdued !!! (Chk Chk Chk) – well worth seeing again.

Oscar and Martin – I’m still trying to work out how I would describe these guys, because pop or RnB simply don’t cover it. They had two of the most amazing voices I’ve heard in a while and a really unique approach to their music.

Lowlights:

While there weren’t exactly any acts that I would say that I would never see ago, I felt a little let down by Emma Louise. With the amount of hype she’s had over the last couple of months, perhaps I had just set my standards too high. Or maybe it was an off night or a bad venue to see her in or the crowd was just too loud. It could have been anything, but I wasn’t blown away and I’m struggling to even remember anything about her set.

The Venues:

I managed to make it to every venue available for the event – Electric Playground, Bakery Lane, Black Bear Lodge, Ric’s, Tempo Hotel, Woodland, The Aviary and the Zoo.

It was actually my first time to Black Bear Lodge and I was quite impressed! I never thought the atmosphere of the Troubadour (RIP) could be matched, but Black Bear Lodge could even be an improvement. Lots of seating at the back and just generally a more open feel, I’m excited to return to this venue at some point.

Electric Playground was certainly an interesting choice of venue, but it seemed to work out okay. The sound was okay, the stage set up was okay, the scantily clad girls taking drink orders on the floor was a bit out of place but overall it’s an okay small venue. I don’t see it turning into a live music venue full time but it would be interesting to have the odd show here and there.

The only venue I was disappointed in was The Aviary. Absolutely no airflow, and beyond packed both times I went. I swear it was over capacity for Jonathan Boulet judging by the amount of people crammed into the stairwell between The Aviary and Birdees.

The Verdict:

It’s one of those ‘the more acts you see, the more you’ll enjoy it’ kind of events. It’s nice to be able to move around between different venues, and it’s nice to see members of local bands wandering around seeing other acts as well. I felt like I probably enjoyed last year a little bit more, but for the most part this year was very enjoyable and it was great to be able to see some bands I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

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Brisbane’s Little Scout have had a very busy couple of years. Having just released their debut album, lead single Mel Tickle took some time out to talk about musical collaborations, sneaking irregular time signatures into pop songs and keeping her mother happy.

Your new album Take Your Light has just been released – can you walk us through what the writing and recording process was like?

We worked on writing the album for around 18 months, and during that time completed a huge amount of pre-production in our friend Darek Mudge’s studio. Shem Allen (of Skinny Jean fame) came in and blew our minds with his guitar genius, so we flew him to Sydney with us to record a few things on the record. Scott (The John Steel Singers) and Jonathan (Boulet) were both instrumental in pulling all of the songs together cohesively. We basically surrounded ourselves with geniuses and went for it.

What were your main influences for this album?

We were listening to a lot of different music, but I suppose the main aim was to forget our first EPs and create something that had a time and place. We were listening to Deerhunter, Seekae, Parades, Camera Obscura and a heap of different bands we love. We found that all of these bands create albums that work together as a whole, and that’s what we wanted to do – rather than have a good single and a whole lot of piffle around it.

And how has it been received so far?

The reviews and love for the record have far exceeded our expectations – we’re pleased that listeners are really giving the record a few plays and immersing themselves in it. Our mothers are also very proud of us, so we’re still on the Christmas card list.

‘We Are Walking Out’ is the first single from the album, can you tell us a little about it?

There’s nothing better than sneaking a 5/4 time signature onto the radio! ‘We Are Walking Out’ was a real turning point for us. It was difficult to piece together, and really inspired the sound of the album. We’re a dream-pop band, rather than folk.

I read that it was recorded and mixed by Jonathan Boulet, what was it like working with him?

Fantastic, the guy is a freak. His setup is simple, comfortable and welcoming, but the sounds he pulls from that little garage studio are otherworldly. We’re very privileged to have completed this record with him.

You’ve been part of initiatives like MTV Kickstart and Triple J’s Next Crop a few years ago, how have these helped the band along the way?

Both were completely unexpected – we made our first EP as an experiment, and I suppose both initiatives motivated us to do something with our band and keep making music. We’ve started to take our time and avoid rushing things, ensuring we can play our recorded material well in a live sense, because we were very lucky to be given those opportunities.

I saw you support Belle and Sebastian earlier this year – that was pretty amazing! What have been some of your favourite support slots and why?

That was a fun night! Belle and Sebastian, The New Pornographers and Camera Obscura all stick out as our favourite shows. The Tivoli is such a beautiful venue. Oh and touring regionally with Josh Pyke was amazing and bizarre. Driving to Cairns and back in one weekend turned us into freaks. It’s refreshing to see good people who have worked hard for years still doing what they love. They were also really supportive of our band.

What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Honestly we’ve done so much more than we ever expected. Releasing our first album, having the opportunity to tour with great artists and being played on the radio is definitely a highlight.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live show?

A very atmospheric performance – you’ll have to come along on August 26 (Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane) and see and hear for yourself!

What does the future hold for Little Scout?

We’ve started writing new material, so hopefully a new album in the next year or two. We insist on letting it all happen pretty naturally, with a lot of hard work in the background – we hope to travel and keep improving. As long as we still enjoy making music together we’ll keep doing this for a long time.

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Brisbane kids Little Scout opened the night’s proceedings – laid back and relaxed, they entertained the quickly growing crowd. They aren’t a particularly showy band – musically or vocally – but they do generic indie pop well and most people seemed happy with them as openers.

When ticket prices were dropped to $50 on Sunday, I expected that the Tivoli would be rather empty. Oh how wrong I was. A roar of applause filled the near-packed venue as a dim blue glow lit the stage and the opening chords of ‘I Didn’t See it Coming’ began to play. The Scottish twee pop legends slowly came into view as the song progressed, a high anticipation building in the crowd. Next up was ‘I’m A Cuckoo’, which gained a much bigger cheer, showing where the audience preference for material lay. ‘Step into My Office, Baby’ was of course a highlight and one of the few songs of the night that really got most of the crowd singing along.

Musically, Belle and Sebastian are tight – always completely spot on – but they’re also fantastic performers. Banter between songs was highly entertaining and crowd interaction was strong. Lead guitarist Stevie Jackson walked the audience through the ‘oohs’ of “I’m Not living in the Real World”, and later even responded to an audience request and did an impromptu cover of ‘Last Train to Clarkesville’ by the Monkees.

I’ve always found Belle and Sebastian’s more energetic, rockier songs to be a little abrasive, and in a live context the stronger drumming style definitely took a bit for me to get used to, sometimes seeming a little out of place compared to their calmer songs. The group performed an absolutely stunning rendition of ‘Piazza, New York Catcher’, with frontman Stuart Murdoch’s gentle voice showing no signs of wear or tear.

‘The Fox in the Snow’ was accompanied by gorgeous strings and proved to be a really beautiful moment in the set. One of the best things about Belle and Sebastian’s live performance is all of the extra little musical touches – the strings, the brass, the woodwind – to help flesh out the original arrangement in a live context.  Murdoch prompted a clap along as ‘There’s Too Much Love’ began and pulled a few audience members onstage. They danced awkwardly as the band launched into ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’; their efforts rewarded with plastic gold medallions before being promptly ushered offstage by security.

The set closed with ‘Sleep the Clock Around’, which turned into one of those special concert moments that make your heart go all warm and fuzzy. One of those moments where everything is just played so well, where all the tones, textures, energy and everything else is just absolutely perfect. They took the brief obligatory break before beginning an absolutely golden encore with ‘The Stars of Track and Field’ (a song that had received many shout-out requests throughout the night) and a surprise appearance of ‘Another Sunny Day’. “This will be our last number” was met with booing from the crowd – everyone obviously still enjoying themselves – and Belle and Sebastian closing their fantastic set with ‘The Blues are Still Blue’.

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