BIGSOUND's Alternative Playground

8 September 2023 | 4:06 pm | Cassidy Burke
Originally Appeared In

A palpable counterculture of alternative music is re-emerging, challenging the conventional formula for success.

GIMMY, Delivery, Radium Dolls, Gut Health & The Empty Threats

GIMMY, Delivery, Radium Dolls, Gut Health & The Empty Threats (Source: Supplied, Delivery by James Morris)

Boasting an array of over 140 artists, BIGSOUND celebrates a pulsating line-up of Australia’s most dynamic, emerging talents. Though now more than ever, there’s a discernible draw against the grain. A palpable counterculture is re-emerging, challenging the conventional formula for success.

It’s true - young people are gravitating to alternative music's nostalgic charm. With bands like Fontaines D.C., beabadoobee and Spacey Jane breaking into the mainstream, it raises the question: Who needs catchy pop melodies and a polished image to be famous anyway?


Though her lush, vibrato vocals may seem delicate, GIMMY’s demeanour is nothing short of electrifying. Dressed in a monochromatic power suit, GIMMY pumps a sense of 80s nostalgia into Superfly Studios. She tantalises audiences with her billowy yet frantic stage presence, compelling the crowd to mimic her enthusiasm. A pervasive, psychedelic undertone carries the entire set as GIMMY infuses funky synth progressions with rip-roaring garage rock. 

GIMMY’s all-out performance is just as beautiful as it is eccentric. Guided by emotion-filled bass lines and sombre riffs, her genre-bending live show doesn’t fail to shift gears into folky territory. GIMMY masterfully melds poignant lyricism with tender melodies, offering audiences a window into the captivating depths of her psyche.

GIMMY continues to build a sense of anticipation, with the crowd becoming more restless with every unreleased track aired from her catalogue. Her eyes erratically flicker like strobe lights, and her feet move with restless tenacity. If that wasn’t enough, GIMMY straps on a motorbike crash helmet and soars into the crowd. Punters circle around her and replicate the band’s everlasting, funky rhythm. Before not, we see GIMMY share a kiss with her partner – an inspiring, unapologetic moment of queer love.

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The whole room grooves to the beat of GIMMY’s drum, leaving crowd-goers basking in awe one moment and wiggling around the next. This is GIMMY’s world; you’re just living in it, baby.


Dancing between punchy hooks and blistering guitar growls, Radium Dolls always bring the heat. “I feel like there was a fair bit of nudity in that one, but clearly, it’s not going to offend many people after that last set”, the vocalist quips. Even if punters didn’t see the previous band at The Prince Consort, it’s incredibly telling of the hard-hitting, unfiltered vigour of Radium Dolls. 

The Brisbane-based four-piece come armed with an arsenal of crushing riffs and thunderous vocals. Will, the shirtless frontman, channels a raw and energetic stage presence that echoes the unbridled spirit of Iggy Pop. As the guitarist unleashes a tumultuous wave of sound, a persistent grin remains plastered on his face.

Suddenly, Will ascends the amp, and the crowd bursts into frenetic chaos. The track, All The Time, culminates in a belligerent drum solo that goes beyond mere entertainment – it’s a testament to Radium Dolls’ relentless talent. “He’s a metal drummer, so we’ve gotta let him do some shit like that now and then”, Will jests.

The frontman playfully squawks through their set with a classic, Tractor Parts, “You best believe our other songs are good too!” The microphone lead coiled around Will’s neck like a noose, yet he wields it with undeniable command. Between humorous interjections and thrashing hooks, punters revel in Radium Dolls’ infectious energy—a band you can’t afford to miss.


The Empty Threats kicked things off with a bang at Soapbox, seamlessly infusing politically charged anthems with avant-garde theatrics. The Adelaide five-piece seamlessly fuses the raw intensity of noise-rock with a post-punk nuance, radiating an inspiring blend of flamboyance and authenticity.

The Empty Threats lead, Stu, delivers a performance imbued with deep vulnerability, reminiscent of icons like David Bowie. Fuelled by the band’s unrelenting energy, the crowd transforms into a frenzied playground. The light rack unexpectedly evolves into an impromptu climbing frame. Stu hurls a rainbow bouncy ball into the pit before soaring upward with unmatched intensity. 

Driven by dynamic guitar riffs and thundering drums, The Empty Threats oscillate between sombre introspection and raw sonic bursts. Coupled with their weighty lyricism, the queer quintet delivers a bold statement against oppressive forces. They cap off with Boys In The Gutter, leaving the audience enthralled by their fierce passion. Electric, rambunctious, and textured, The Empty Threats are establishing themselves as trailblazers.


Coated in hypnotising synth patterns and an exhilarating drumbeat, Gut Health is an electrifying itch you just can’t shake. The Melbourne six-piece set Wonderland ablaze, immersing punters in their eerie, art-punk reverie.

Athina Uh Oh, the captivating lead of Gut Health, is otherworldly. Their dynamic movements and avant-garde performance evoke the gothic dance allure of bygone eras. With the backdrop of Gut Health’s vivacious rhythms, Athina feels like Robert Smith on steroids.

As Gut Health unleashes their sonic fervour, Athina ascends onto a platform, their legs a blur of motion. Athina’s charisma is unmatched, marked by post-punk staccato and iconoclastic performance art. Intricate guitar riffs, a pulsating bassline, and the force of twin drumkits meld into an electrifying soundscape. During Inner Norm, Athina rears the mic and stands back and forth, breaking character with only a slight smile. Punters can’t help but feed off Gut Health’s energy, instinctively channelling an 80s new-wave dancefloor.

Concluding their set with Stiletto, the six-piece deliver a politically infused wave of distortion. Gut Health duel between pedals, guitar, and synth, layering sounds to evoke the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Experiencing Gut Health live isn't just a chance to dance the night away; it's a memory that lingers long after the echo fades.


If post-punk and garage rock were a Venn Diagram, Delivery dominates its central overlap. Comprising a whopping three guitarists and four vocalists, the Melbourne quintet embodies the DIY spirit of punk, delighting in robust riffs and throbbing basslines. 

Delivery kicked off at The Brightside with a winding intro, weaving together searing guitar layers before leading into an irresistible hook. Delivery’s captivating male vocalist, James, seamlessly transitions between guitar, synth, and song. Amidst his versatile performance, he consistently belts out guttural vocals enriched with poignant lyricism.

During Poor-to-Middling Moneymaking, Rebecca and Sam harmonise with wry, deadpan chants, making cheeky quips at capitalist fixtures. “Someone asked what are you ranting about in that song?” Rebecca jibes. In response, James teasingly remarks, “fuck off, mum and dad!”

The hard-hitting five-piece continue delivering hair-thrashing, garage-rock bangers. Dads, seemingly channelling their Celibate Rifles-infused youth, eagerly gather at the base of the stage. Without a doubt, the crowd’s fervour climaxes during Delivery’s closing track, Baader Meinhof. With their lively guitar interplay and cheeky socio-political critique, Delivery is a band to keep an eye on.