Were we right? Yes. Yes, we were
We may have just spent the past two nights taking in as many of the 150 bands on offer at this year's BIGSOUND Live showcases as humanly possible but, while it's fair to say that a solid 90% of the performing artists brought their A-game, there were a select few who nudged things up to A+ levels and walked away the clear topics of excited chatter around the streets.
Check out a clip of the conference's delegates gushing about the acts they loved and were still keen to see ahead of night two, then check out our list of suggestions below. As it turns out, we weren't far off the mark with our pre-BIGSOUND predictions as to which acts would be hitting these exact heights come the event's conclusion.
Resoundingly, people came away from the Wednesday-night set from the rising Sydney two-piece seeming like they'd been literally blown away by an absolute musical reckoning. Actually, scratch that — not "seeming"; they simply were. Frontman Novak's effortless charisma and magnificently versatile voice, sitting astride his own guitar lines and drummer John-Henry's relentless beats, both helped to make this band one that folks will be keeping a hard eye on in the immediate future.
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It seemed like almost the entire industry was in attendance for NGAIIRE's showcase performance on Wednesday, and with good reason — the ex-Idol contestant has comprehensively shaken off her reality-show past to achieve deserved notoriety the right way. Her crafty, deceptively complex future-soul stylings left her name on many a delegate's lips the following day.
We've known that Gang Of Youths are incredible for some time now, but even the most cynical of ears out there couldn't possibly still be maintaining otherwise after their performance last night. Fronting a packed-out crowd — and having been a name on nearly everyone's lips for the preceding two days — the Sydney outfit ran hard and heavy over everyone in attendance, and left us nothing short of pleading for more.
Probably the unexpected stars of the event, Gold Class have come out the other side of BIGSOUND couched in praise — and somewhat surprised praise, at that. That's not meant derisively; rather, it seems that Gold Class just kind of came out of nowhere to capture the ears and minds of a tonne of conference delegates, and nobody was really expecting it. Just like the Spanish Inquisition, but with far less torture and way, way better tunes.
We could wax philosophical for hours about all the reasons that West Australian darlings Tired Lion are one of the best Aussie live acts getting about at the moment — but we've been spending literal months doing that, so, really, all you need to know regarding the band's BIGSOUND showcase performance is that it was just yet another dominating performance and flawless demonstration of their seemingly boundless talent. What can we say? We called it. Thanks for proving us right, Tired Lion.
The Goon Sax are arguably the most rock'n'roll band here — who else do you know on the BIGSOUND Live line-up that came to play their Thursday-night showcase fresh from completing some high-school exams? Granted, they're not sonically "rock" — really more introspective, teen-angst, heart-on-sleeve indie-pop — but the group's instrumentation and lyricism land far beyond their youthful years (their oldest member is 18) to suggest that once they really hit adulthood, they could be onto something massive.
South Australian punk-rockers Grenadiers played first up on Wednesday night, but did so to a late-on-Thursday-size crowd, the entirety of the packed-out New Globe Theatre in sweaty, excitable thrall to the blistering stream of rapid-fire tunes presented on stage tonight. Freshly touting their recent full-length Summer, the band delivered the perfect balance of raw rambunctiousness and practiced polish, proving that there's wide appeal in punk-rock's veins yet.
A three-piece horn section, a boisterous, bombastic stage presence and a stream of high-octane, utterly undeniable jazz-funk-hip-hop aural treats all conspired to make this rising West Australian act one of the most enjoyable, and memorable, sets of the festival — and they managed it despite closing out night two, a slot notorious for its challenges in extracting anything from its usually energy-sapped audience. Actually, "managed" under-credits them — they smashed it. We were a heaving mass of excited party-goers, and they held us in total thrall from go to whoa.
The seal of approval from BIGSOUND star speaker and Pitchfork senior editor Jessica Hopper is just one of many reasons this band — the side-project of JAALA namesake Cosima Jaala — come away from BIGSOUND 2015 with a fresh wave of hype surrounding them. Seems like everything Jaala touches lately is turning to gold, so there's no reason that should be any different in this case.
His rise has been meteoric. The Prince comparisons are as thick and fast as they have been for months. But, in front of an industry-centric crowd, it felt like Harts and his wild movements and even wilder shredding at last achieved a heightened state of acknowledgment through his wide-ranging performance, the fuzzy-haired axeman wielding the right stuff in front of the right people to ensure that we all have plenty of opportunities to get down with this glorious muso for a long time to come.
Big White, Methyl Ethel, Babaganouj, High Tension, Pearls, Tiger Choir, Friendships, Dorsal Fins, Olympia