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Posts Tagged ‘big sound live’

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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Hailing from the NSW Central Coast, singer-songwriter Daniel Lee Kendall is a very busy man. About to wrap up tour dates with Brisbane’s own Hungry Kids of Hungary, he’s about to embark on his second tour this year with folk duo Georgia Fair. He sat down for a quick chat about his the tours, his new EP and making old ladies feel special.

Are you surprised at how quickly your music has gained attention since the release of your debut EP [Lost in the Moment]?

Well it’s funny. Because I had been playing and writing for a couple of years before that release and had ‘self-released’ (selling CDs at shows) a homemade EP.  So it actually feels like I’ve been going for a while. It’s great that it is starting to get some attention, but it hasn’t really felt like it’s happened quickly.

I saw you at Big Sound Live last year, and the audience seemed quite impressed. How has that opportunity helped you along the way?

Yeah I really enjoyed that show. I’m not sure how that specifically helped me, but I do think that it’s a whole bunch of things, small things and a-little-bit-bigger-things that all add up and help along the way. I think Big Sound was one of the little-bit-bigger-things.

What have been some of your main influences (musical and non-musical) in crafting your sound?

Definitely Angus and Julia Stone. They helped me to not be scared of simplicity. The likes of Thom Yorke and Ray LaMontagne have helped with creating emotion and feeling in my music. Lately Jim Morrison is helping me realise the power of music, beyond just the music.

How was recording your second EP [Talk the Night Away] different to the first?

Not different at all really. I still did most of it at home, and then took it into a proper studio to give it a bit of sparkle. Only difference was we spent a bit more time in the studio this time.

You’ve had a busy year of touring so far, with more to come. What do you do during your downtime?

I work at my mum’s café, making coffee and making old ladies feel special. I also try to keep writing and recording.

You have dates coming up with both Hungry kids of Hungary and Georgia Fair – what are looking forward to most about these tours?

Well Hungry Kids of Hungry is pretty much done. I’m really looking forward to the Georgia Fair tour because we get along well. Being used to doing things on my own, it is a real pleasant change to be able to travel with people. It makes everything, the performances included, much more enjoyable.

You’ve gained some very notable support slots over the past 12 months – what has been the highlight so far?

I really enjoyed the Old Man River & Passenger tour. They were both going solo acoustic like me, so I felt a real part of the whole tour. Also the audiences were all really responsive and attentive which was nice.

What can the uninitiated expect from a DLK show?

Ballroom dancers. Costume changes while I’m playing a song. Lions through hoops in the background…No, just me and my guitar backed occasionally by my computer.

What is your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

I’ve played Brisbane twice, and loved it twice. The people in Brisbane seem so keen to listen and are really appreciative of what you do. So I’m a big fan of Brisbane crowds.

What does the future hold for DLK?

Hopefully more shows, and also building towards an album, which I’m really looking forward to doing!

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For some unknown reason I decided to ditch my well-laid plans and decided to just stick to the Artisan Gallery Outdoor stage for Big Sound Live’s Thursday night events. I’m pretty glad I did too, as the line up ended up being better than I recalled. I found the vibe of the outdoor stage a lot better than I had for the indoor venues on the Wednesday night. It was a lot more relaxed and people seemed more willing to move around. It didn’t seem as packed out as it did during Hungry Kids of Hungary’s set on Wednesday, but there was a constant flow of people coming throughout the night.

The night started with Richard in your Mind. The band has always been labelled as psychedelic, but there is a lot more to these guys than extended jams and trippy guitar effects. I could have watched them for a lot longer than just a 30 minute set – strong basslines, rhythmic drum beats, funk guitars and the most exciting and energetic frontman I’ve seen in ages.

It was synths galore when New Zealand act The Naked and Famous took the stage. The seemingly mismatched five piece actually produced a pretty decent sound, despite the fact that they didn’t seem too confident in themselves. Their nerves weren’t helped when the bass cut out mid way through the third song though – apparently due to noise complaints from surrounding neighbours. Despite this their set was extremely enjoyable. People around me seemed to know a few of their songs, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Punching in a Dream’ and I was glad to see people actually singing along which doesn’t normally happen at smaller local shows much anymore.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Ernest Ellis fan. I did enjoy his/their (because the name applies to both the solo artist and the whole band apparently) set, but I will admit that it wasn’t the best for Big Sound Live. As usual ‘Pulse’ detoured and became the middle section of ‘The End’ by the Doors. In a normal set I don’t mind this, but I think for a 30 minute set that is supposed to showcase your own original talent, it was time wasted. The rest of the set was pretty standard, ploughing through their well known songs, ‘Want for Anything’, ‘Loveless’ and ‘Heading for the Cold’. Ellis has a pretty diverse album that he never really seems to take advantage of live, which is a shame. One day maybe.

I really want to like Last Dinosaurs more. This was the third time I had seen them, and I still got that same feeling as I had the previous two times. They play well and their songs are good, but there is nothing fantastic about them. They don’t move me in the way that other music does. Songs like ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Alps’ are always good to listen to, but the rest of the set was just too average.

Sydney band Parades was easily the highlight of my Big Sound Live experiences. Their sound was incredibly lush, and pretty different to anything I had heard over the two nights. Strong in vocals harmonies, and musical influences from post rock, jazz and indie pop I really wouldn’t know what to label them as which is one of the things I love most about them. Their live set was seemingly flawless, calm but with a good amount of energy for the style. I would have to say that there were my best ‘new’ find of the event.

Overall no, I don’t think that the acts I saw over the two nights were a showcase of Australia’s best and original talent. I think it was a better representation of what has been popular so far this year. I think that Brisbane could have been better represented, especially considering the event was held here. It was also disappointing to think back about the Brisbane bands I did see and realise they were some of my least favourite acts of the event. But the event succeeded in introducing me to some new bands, and for the most part I had fun and enjoyed each act I saw to varying degrees. And isn’t that supposed to be the point of live music anyway?

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New Music: Parades

My review of the second night of Big Sound Live will be up tomorrow. In the mean time, I want to share one of the acts I saw during the event – Parades. They’re from Sydney and I’m having a pretty hard time trying to describe their sound and more importantly, why I like them so much.

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I spent about two weeks trying to figure out who to see at my first ever Big Sound Live. I wouldn’t say the line up was spectacular but there was certainly a decent amount of acts to choose from, and at a variety of different venues around the valley.

 

My night started out at the Club House, under the Tempo Bar, waiting for New Zealand artist Kimbra. Performing a pop-soaked mixture of funk and soul, it was a great way to start the night. She has a voice to match Florence Welch and a seemingly endless amount of energy and charisma. It was a bit disappointing that nobody in the audience was really getting into it, but instead it was like the usual trench for Brisbane audiences lately – standing back with their arms crossed (I will admit that I fell into this category during the show). I liken it to a high school dance where the boys and girls really want to dance, but are just too scared to ask each other. You just need that one person to set it off and then you’re good. Despite all this though, Kimbra powered through her set. The layered vocal loops of ‘Settle Down’ worked amazing live and ‘Love is a Two Way Street’ saw Kimbra practically howling into the microphone. By the end of it a few punters were shuffling their feet, and I like to think that next time I see her (and there will be a next time) the atmosphere will be a lot more relaxed.

 

I dashed across the road to the Artisan Gallery’s outdoor venue to see Hungry Kids of Hungary. As expected, it was absolutely packed. What I hadn’t expected though, was that they had already started. I estimate that I missed maybe 10 or 15 minutes of their set since the rest seem to fly by. I still managed to catch the few songs of theirs I knew – ‘Let You Down’, ‘Scattered Diamonds’ and ‘Wristwatch’, which brought out the only real dancing I would see all night. The set lacked the intimacy I expected from Big Sound (and which I got to witness earlier during Kimbra’s set), and there wasn’t really anything spectacular about the performance, but the hungry kids still put on a decent enough show.

 

Next stop was the Troubadour to see Central Coast singer-songwriter Daniel Lee Kendall. This is exactly the kind of show I expected at Big Sound – talented artists who are still unsure of themselves, performing to audiences who don’t really know much about them. He mostly performed on his own, but was occasionally helped out by his lap top on keys or strings. I think utilising this more, like he does on record, would have benefitted him by added a lot more depth to his sound. It was obvious though from his guitar playing and ear for a good melody that he has potential to make something good from this. Or maybe I just have a thing for boys who play guitar. Either way I was glad I was there for his set.

 

 

After Daniel Lee Kendall’s set, the crowds suddenly rushed into the venue for Boy and Bear. The Troubadour was packed to a ridiculous degree, and my Twitter feed told me there were even people lined up past McDonalds. The band played through their singles – ‘Rabbit Song’ and ‘Mexican Mavis’ much to the crowd’s delight. Musically they were tight, and their signature vocal harmonies pitch perfect. The only downfall was when they sampled a new track with a much more country flavour. It was average sounding compared to their other songs and fell a bit flat. Even lead singer Dave Hosking seemed like maybe the style wasn’t the best suit for the band, adding after the song “I warned you all it was a country song…”.

 

I caught the end of Disco Nap at the Club House and was extremely surprised to find the place practically deserted. It must be hard for bands to maintain a decent level of energy when your crowd is so sparse, and it’s a shame these guys didn’t handle it too well. The two or so songs I saw were fairly bland and it seemed like they couldn’t wait for the set to be over. Maybe next time guys.

 

I had higher expectations for Bridezilla. I don’t know if it was an off night for the group, or if the balance of sound just wasn’t right. I feel like every instrument, including the vocals, was just completely drowned out. I’d love to see them again in a better context, because on record they’re absolutely brilliant, but this performance just seemed like a mess despite their enthusiasm.

And now I just need to catch my breath for tonight!

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So it’s almost September, and that means that Big Sound Live and Valley Fiesta are just around the corner. I’ve never been to a Big Sound Live and I can’t remember if I’ve been to a Valley Fiesta since I turned 18, so this year I’d really like to make the effort to get out there. Slack of me, I know, but generally September was always a bad time for me as a uni student and who the hell knows what I did last year.

I won’t be attending the Big Sound Conference, but I’ll definitely be going to the live showcase on Wednesday September 8 and Thursday September 9. If you’re keen on local, live music (and other Australian acts) I would recommend that you go. Tickets are $44 for both nights or $27.50 for one night, which is pretty good value considering the amount of bands you could see. The timetable is available online, and I’m stressing a bit trying to figure out who to see.

Has anyone gone before and has a good attack plan? Is it best to just stay at the one venue? When considering who I want to see, I’m also looking at the Valley Fiesta lineup where there a lot of similar bands playing. Valley Fiesta goes over Friday the 10th of September and Saturday the 11th (for the live music at least, there is also more to see and do on the Sunday). This line up can also be viewed online (opens as PDF).

Both events are located in various stages and venues around Fortitude Valley. I love the way the Valley transforms into a much friendlier, albeit busier, place when events such as these are on.

I’ll admit, I’m tempted to go see the bands I know and love (like Ball Park Music and Ernest Ellis), but if there is anyone I should check out that I may not consider please let me know!

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