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Live Review: That's A Wrap! Here's Who Stole The Show On The Last Night Of BIGSOUND

Here's what went down on night three of BIGSOUND 2019.

Cry Club. Photo by Justin Ma.

Cry Club. Photo by Justin Ma.

It ain't called BIGSOUND for nothing. It's night three and our look? Haggard. But we make it work. 

More time-warping straight up as LOSER take us back to the ‘90s with thrashing guitars and strong Nirvana vibes. They’re a band of few words so the massive floor to ceiling screen screaming LOSER in bright pink font works as more than just a backdrop. Influences are worn loud and proud on flannelette sleeves so it’s no surprise we spot the members of Violent Soho in the crowd.

Gordon Koang is as inspirational as you can get. Escaping from South Sudan, the blind artist fled civil uprising in his home country and has had to re-establish himself in a country ignorant of his extensive musical history. He has started to make a name for himself here nevertheless and with his with a blend of traditional Nuer rhythms and African pop beats, Koang inspires the crowd at The Zoo to dance and marvel at his and his band's talent.




 

Gordon Koang. Photo by Justin Ma.

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Perth-based electro-popper ZĀN eases us into BIGSOUND's last night of live showcases with an exemplary performance of soulful, soul-baring songs. Billing themselves as from "the Democratic Republic of Queeristan", ZĀN packs an incredible amount into their ostensibly sparse stage show: a total charmer in every regard, they move beautifully, they dress impeccably and, oh yeah, their voice – gods, that voice. It soars and glides and bursts and blooms in cathartic release across an utterly jaw-dropping range. Tonight’s stellar set, which includes a detour into Bollywood and features a standout version of last year's Salafi Secrets, is permeated by narratives of hope and, moreover, acceptance – not just from other people but, more crucially, from within. Don’t sleep on this one.

Alana Jagt’s voice echoes throughout The Brightside. Her songs are loud and welcoming, seeping into our dishevelled BIGSOUND bodies and invoking new life, the small crowd swaying and cheering after every song. She moves between heartwarming love ballads and bittersweet melodies, inspiring all manner of thoughts and emotions on this warm Brisbane night.

City Rose’s final set of the festival is confronting, gothically poetic and straight-up noisy. Their unique set-up includes heavy vocals paired with some brutal saxophone solos, somehow working together to create an ambiguous sound. 

From the confines of her bedroom to BIGSOUND, Victorian indie-pop iconoclast yergurl – known to the taxman as Fae Winter Scott – has come a long way in a short stretch of time. Tonight finds her bringing her darkened dream-pop to The Valley Drive In, much to the delight of those gathered in the former car park. Accompanied by a live drummer alongside a second collaborator piloting a MacBook, yergurl steps out with a confidence and maturity beyond her years, armed with clever, cutting lyrics, a captivating, multi-textural voice, and an innate talent for crafting deeply moreish music that deserves to be heard on an even bigger stage next year.





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yergurl on night one. Photo by Bianca Holderness.

Stellie takes the stage singing solo before her band slowly chimes in with soft chords and beats. It's a beautifully calm opening and Heya Bar is wooed by its simplicity. She plays through Shiver with a harmonist effect doubling her vocal and in between her blissful melodies she thanks the crowd for being at her tenth ever show. She closes with Let's Forget We Were In Love to a joyously swaying audience.




 

Stellie on night one. Photo by Jess Gleeson.

Sydney’s rap queen has graced us with her royal presence! Lauren. enthusiastically takes the stage, dancing and grooving with fervour during her first song. Her second sees her invite fellow Sydney rapper Mel Bailey on stage for a collaboration, which gets hips moving and spirits high. Hit single Sushi gets the crowd really moving, the infectious hip hop beat showing heavier influences, before Lauren. invites all female-identifying people up on stage to rap a song about female empowerment and sensuality, cementing the good vibes for the rest of night here at The Wickham.

Out the back of The Elephant, Central Coast metal champions Reliqa come out firing on all cylinders. Vocalist Monique Pym holds sway over the band's sizable audience with her powerful vocals and natural charisma, barely able to contain her excitement and appreciation at performing on this stage. Shred-lords Brandon Lloyd (guitar) and Miles Knox (bass) absolutely tear it up in gleefully cacophonous synergy, while drummer Shannon Griesberg holds the fort with frightening dexterity. Hangman, from last year's Eventide EP, is is a chunky, chaotic demonstration of the four-piece’s considerable technical ability - just like the rest of this set, which comes to a thunderous close with the massive metal squeals and chug riffs of The Halfway Point. Job done, Reliqa. Face: melted.

Temgazi starts things off slow, serenading the crowd with her flawless vocals for a couple of minutes before losing all her chill and really getting the party started. Joined on stage by two back-up dancers, she gets down and dirty, treating the crowd to some truly spectacular dancing. Temgazi is a pro in the making and deserves your full attention.




 

Temgazi on night two. Photo by Aimee Catt.

Proud Pitjantjatjara and Torres Strait Islander woman Miiesha acknowledges the country we gather on as we slip into something more casual for the sultry, soulful set. With tracks about “education over incarceration”, self-care and her little sister - a “proper small girl” - the grooving crowd won’t be forgetting this woman’s name any time soon. And that’s not just because she spelt it out for us.




 

Miiesha. Photo by Bobby Rein.





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A wholesome and chockas crowd joins Jack Davies & The Bush Chooks for a beautiful set at The Brightside - which includes harmonica, violin and even a recorder. His heartfelt Australiana poetry is the perfect thing for a crowd that feels just a little fragile. 

Reverb echoes throughout the vocal mix while a deep bass guitar provides heartbeat-like notes for Mermaidens’ Ivory Tusk set. Having the bass guitar as the centrepiece of the performance creates a beautifully warm atmosphere, and with their lead guitar providing trebly notes above the 12th fret, the set is humble and wonderful at the same time. Guitarist Gussie Larkin moves into flanged notes while also taking over the vocal reins. Every extended vocal note is absolutely incredible - crowd members give each other “WOW” looks. Their music transitions to an incredibly haunting audible experience with delayed vocals and overdriven guitars accompanied by a bass guitar that just gets more menacing by the minute. With an album just a few hours away from release, the New Zealand trio is definitely an act to watch out for.

It’s a subdued, comfortable environment inside Heya Bar for Jeida Woods’ set, his emotional pop-rap sound bringing everyone back down to earth. It’s dreamy and bittersweet, his songs of hurt and betrayal softened by the raw emotion and woeful acceptance in his voice. Listening to him makes you feel at home with your hurt. He performs like he’s the only one in the room, singing and rapping to confront the trauma in his life. 





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Jeida Woods. Photo by Aimee Catt.

In her own words, Kymie came to "fuck it up" for her final BIGSOUND set. Her strong vocals are made for the R&B electronic sound she flawlessly delivers. A fierce performer, she hypes the crowd up with her animated delivery.








 

Kymie. Photo by Lachlan Douglas.

Fuck DREGG are good. Return Of The DREGG? More like, return of nu-metal. Costumes, empowering mantras and breakdowns - what more do you want, right? We make some noise for Crowbar for always putting on “heavy shit” and embrace the fact we’ll all be weirdos forever. Contender for the most wholesome moment at the festival? The 50-year-old man in cargo shorts and ASICS thrashing in the mosh while his wife looks on fearfully: “She never lets me go see metal!” 




 

DREGG. Photo by Justin Ma.

Unearthed High alumni Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers bring irreverent power-pop jubilance to their packed-out BIGSOUND slot at The Outpost, fresh off the back of a series of recent festival appearances and tours. That extensive live experience has clearly paid off in a big way, as the Canberra band carry an air of purpose and professionalism throughout their set without ever erring into self-seriousness. Exemplified by the in-medias-res maturity of tracks such as the unreleased, slightly downtempo 'Backseat Driver' and new single See You In A Bit (I Still Care), the four-piece's growth as songwriters and musicians is a joy to watch in real-time. Their set is an utter smorgasbord of strong harmonies and solid hooks colluding to create punchy, confessional pop goodness that clearly leaves an immediate and lasting impression on everyone within earshot. It’s a rare thing to say, but Canberra has done something really, really right here.




 

Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers. Photo by Lachlan Douglas.

Melbourne’s answer to The Killers, MID CITY take the stage at The Foundry on night three and do what they do best. Clad in leather, frontman Joel Griffith looks as though he is having the time of his life, leading the crowd in anthem after anthem and showing off his versatile vocals in the process. By the end of the set, their urgent, guitar-heavy sound has the substantial crowd sweating up a storm. 

Back at Heya Bar, EGOISM are fresh and dreamy, sharp and picturesque. Their contrasting voices harmonise perfectly, floating over the crowded room. They’re young and full of energy, talking to themselves and the crowd in between songs, as if they’re singing to a room full of their closest friends and not complete strangers. It’s heartwarming and super welcoming in such an intimate venue.




 

EGOISM on night two. Photo by Bianca Holderness.

It’s time to go to church - because Marco begins his set with ambient notes echoing throughout The Valley Drive In. With an acoustic guitar and backing tracks, Marco and his guitarist provide one of the most simplistic and beautiful pop sets of the night. He covers Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know absolutely beautiful - his rendition is (and we kid you not) just as incredible as the original.




 

Marco on night two. Photo by Markus Ravik.

P-UniQue is all about crowd participation. Delivering some of the best bars all week, she hypes the crowd up, refusing to take no for an answer. With bass-heavy beats and speedy delivery, she is one of the best hip hop acts on the year's line-up.




 

P-UniQue. Photo by Markus Ravik.

Veteran Melbourne hardcore-punk mixologists Outright have long danced to the double-kick beat of their own powerful drum, and tonight’s showing at The Elephant is no exception. With just under a month to go before they set off for a tour of Japan, the band ensure they’re well prepared for their international sojourn by unloading a polished but passionate set of rapid-fire force and fury. Vocalist Jelena Goluza is positively revelatory, her reputation as one of the country’s best heavy vocalists both preceding her and proving undeniably well-earned. She delivers throat-tearing lyrics and powerful spoken messages – of politics, culture, people – to the crowd gathered to hear this floor-shaking sermon. Musically, Outright give it everything they’ve got, and – churning, powerful, technical masterclass that this performance is – we're grateful to get it.

We spot Approachable Members Of Your Local Community out and about several times across the Valley. Matching Adidas gets you noticed - creative expression or genius marketing? The Foundry is packed, so not so approachable in reality, but the crowd dig their funky indie-pop. Perhaps the biggest crowd we’ve seen save Spacey Jane and Tones & I.




 

Approachable Members Of Your Local Community on night one. Photo by Bianca Holderness.

Black Rock Band powered through a set at Crowbar that blew the big crowd away. Singing in a mix of English and Kunwinjku from West Arnhem Land, the six-piece could relate to everyone in the audience, singing about love, life and relationships. They also sang about struggle and pain, which highlighted the plight of their ancestors. Ultimately it was a rocking show and one that the crowd responded to enthusiastically.




 

Black Rock Band. Photo by Lachlan Douglas.

Running over to Black Bear Lodge, we catch Laura Imbruglia playing jangly, chorus-driven guitar tunes accompanied by expert drumming. The band is energetic and produce a stellar performance.




 

Laura Imbruglia. Photo by Lachlan Douglas.

Entering Woolly Mammoth, punters are greeted by the iconic Star Wars theme, Mickey Kojak and his band hyping up the crowd for the last night of BIGSOUND. Their huge pop sound is completely unique - they’re upbeat, eclectic and electric, the vibes rippling off them and into the crowd. The atmosphere inside the room is intense, sweaty bodies pressed together; everybody’s your friend on this dancefloor.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids kick off the final set at The Wickham to an unimpressive crowd - but within the first few bars, this is undoubtedly the most aggressive and powerful rap set of all BIGSOUND. The maybe 15 people in the crowd are jumping around and into each other as the backdrop of the venue glistens with blue and white stage lights. The duo are a world-class act on the tiny Wickham stage.




 

Snotty Nose Rez Kids. Photo by Lachlan Douglas.

Over at Family, the room is quickly swelling from nearly empty to close to bursting before the room’s final band takes the stage. Excitement is running high - you can hear it in people’s voices and feel it in the air. The excitement only continues to build as the band’s set up creeps into their playing time before, finally, a cheeky grin and the band’s name, Japanese Wallpaper, appearing on the screen behind them signals they’re ready and the crowd erupts. Their first song is soft and sweet, serenading the room into submission. As the set progresses, they delve into something more poppy, but still ever so dreamy. People cram as close to their friends as they can, singing along to every word, hands grasped high in the air. 




 

Japanese Wallpaper. Photo by Bianca Holderness.

Mojo Juju has made people take notice at everything she's done this week. Her final show of BIGSOUNG sees local rapper Jesswar take the mic to open the show, hyping the crowd and sticking around for opening track, Something Wrong. Native Tongue follows and Juju's presence fills the room. Her rock and blues roots fuel a lot of her set and she has the packed Zoo pumping, especially when she dedicates a song to the shitness of Peter Dutton. Mojo Juju unites us in her music.




 

Mojo Juju. Photo by Lachlan Douglas.

With flashing lights from the fire engine parked outside as their backdrop, First Beige bring groovy disco-pop vibes to Ivory Tusk. The considerably tipsy crowd dance along enthusiastically, egging the boys on. The set has everything, from dreamy, drawn-out guitar solos, to snappy snares, to a triangle appearance. 

Well, it’s official: the word is definitely out that Cry Club absolutely rule. The Wollongong indie-pop duo – technically a trio tonight, with vocalist Heather Riley and guitarist Jono Tooke accompanied by a live drummer – see their audience swell swiftly once they kick things off at Famous. Decked out in matching suits, and so energetic you’d be forgiven for thinking this was still night one of the festival, the pair immediately earn the affection of their adoring crowd. Riley is particularly magnetic as the primary focal point of the performance, their animated, enigmatic demeanour adding to the spectacle as they strut about the stage and make it a space all their own. Cult-fave harassment protest DFTM makes a welcome appearance midway through the set, earning a pre-emptive cheer from the crowd, but truthfully there’s little about this showcase that isn’t spectacular. Even an unexpected cover of Mclusky's To Hell With Good Intentions, featuring a guest spot from Brissie icon Maz DeVita (WAAX), goes down a treat. This is a band that is all but guaranteed to do some amazing things together, and we honestly can’t wait to see it.




 

Cry Club. Photo by Justin Ma.

Double J’s Karen Leng is throwing out tote bags and T-shirts from the stage to thank everyone for coming. Electric Fields take the stage and there aren’t really any words to describe the magic we bear witness to. Nor any that would do it justice. It’s a spiritual awakening. A cosmic shift. The room radiates love and positivity, and there is nowhere in the world we would rather be in this moment. “We should have done this on the first night and the last night, all nights, every opportunity.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves, random punter.




 

Electric Fields. Photo by Bianca Holderness.