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Posts Tagged ‘chk chk chk’

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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The crowd that gathered at the Alexandria St stage for Irish indie lovelies Two Door Cinema Club easily surpassed that which was there for Beach House. Kicking things off with ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’, the opening track from last year’s debut Tourist History, everyone instantly went off. The four piece (though officially only a three-piece, with drummer Ben Thompson only listed as a touring member) smashed their way through the album tracks, with each received as well as the next.  ‘Do You Want it All’ and ‘Come Back Home’ proved to be sing-a-long favourites, and the band showed that they can really bring the energy to their live performance. Sharp, dancing guitar riffs and slick basslines were backed by steady precise, rhythmic drumming keeping the performance at a high intensity throughout. The arrangement of ‘What You Know’ was gorgeous, starting off slowly before building up to normal speed. Vocally, lead single Alex Trimble was average, sometimes sounding breathless, but made up for it in his energy. Overall, a very tight performance from the band.

Despite receiving the warning of “whatever you do, don’t go see Ariel Pink” from my co-worker the previous week, I was still intrigued to see what all the hype was about. Dressed in a red jumpsuit, complete with sunglasses and a rubber snake draped around his neck, bizarre is really the only would that comes to mind. The first song I witness had to be started again because Pink “forgot the lyrics”. Even ignoring these factors, it was still a lacklustre performance from someone who put out such a good album last year. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around.

Opening with the immediately catchy, ‘O.N.E.’ New York’s Yeasayer took the stage. An even set of older and new material pleased the mixed crowd and had most dancing throughout. ‘Wait for the Summer’ was warmly received and there was an interesting attempt from the crowd to sing the oohs of ‘Madder Red’. The energy, charisma and all around stage presence of frontman Christ Keating could barely be matched. Naturally the highlight of the set was ‘Ambling Alp’, with hundreds of people singing along to the familiar ‘look out for yourself son’ chorus, ending the set on an extremely high note.

I rushed over to catch the end of Deerhunter’s set, obviously coming in a bit too late to become engrossed in the atmosphere. Or shoegaze was probably just a bad choice after the high energy performances of Two Door Cinema Club and Yeasayer. ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ and ‘Helicopter’ were entertaining, but I couldn’t help but think that these guys were a lot better better on record.

Oxford five piece Foals took Alexandria St stage next, opening with ‘Blue Blood’ from their latest release Total Life Forever. ‘Olympic Airways’ struck a chord with older fans, and ‘Spanish Sahara’ delighted the newer ones. However, the band’s breakthrough single ‘Cassius’ received the warmest reception of all. Though their stage presence and ability to entertain weren’t exactly spot on, their music certainly was. The band played extremely tight, and can’t really be faulted in that sense.

Cut Copy have never been a band that I’ve been particularly interested in, but figured I would give them a try to see if they redeemed themselves live. Opening with latest single ‘Need You Now’, the mood towards the back of the crowd remained fairly placid. They meandered through ‘Where I’m Going’ and ‘Corner of the Sky’ before I lose interest and left to see !!! (who were basically the reason I was at Laneway in the first place). Despite the music not sounding too bad, Cut Copy put forward an incredibly boring performance.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) could have easily done with a bigger stage, but performing inside the Inner Sanctum definitely set the mood for a party, closing off the sounds coming from the rest of the festival. Still suffering from a mediocre sound mix, the group certainly worked well with what they had. Fronting the stage with some short shorts and killer dance moves, lead singer Nic Offer could have easily entertained the crowd on his own. Delivering just as much energy as you would expect, and then some, the band worked through their dance punk classics ‘Must be the Moon’ and ‘Heart of Hearts’ as well as newer tracks like ‘Jamie, My Intentions are Bass’. A barely recognisable cover of Prince’s ‘U Got the Look’ was a reminder of just how talented the musicians who stood in front of us were. Despite being utterly exhausted from the day’s events, I still felt a bit sad when the set came to a close and we all shuffled out of the showgrounds, feet sore but spirits high.

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