Night Two

After the thrills of night one of BIGSOUND, expectations were high for night two. Did it deliver? Um, yes.

Elizabeth Rose’s name is starting to pop up more frequently among the Australian music scene, partly thanks to her input on the Flight Facilities single ‘I Didn’t Believe.’ The girl can hold a tune on her own account though, and though we were a touch late to catch the whole show, for a set so early in the night a sizeable crowd had filled the Bakery Lane venue. Her electro pop beats had everyone moving and I was disappointed we didn’t get to catch the whole set. It’s exciting to see a solo female artist making waves both performing and producing in the indie electro pop arena, and I have little doubt that Elizabeth Rose’s star will continue to rise.

Hey Geronimo delivered a set brimming with tunes made for singing along to, all delivered with a classic dose of Hey-Geronimo-amped-up-enthusiasm. The band’s latest single ‘Lazer Gun Show’ was there as were ‘Dreamboat Jack’ and ‘Co-Op Bookshop’, the latter of which involved a lot of jumping up and down on stage – and throughout the crowd. The biggest songs of the set however, were the final three; arguably the band’s most popular. Every time I’ve seen Hey Geronimo ‘I Got No Money’, ‘Carbon Affair’ and ‘Why Don’t We Do Something?’ have received the biggest reaction and last night was no different. The Brisbane boys truly have a flair for live performance and the huge roar of the crowd at the end of their set is a testimony to that.

The Griswolds have been on my hit-list of bands-to-see for a while now and their show at Alhambra didn’t disappoint. The indie pop maestros from Sydney treated the crowd to a selection of songs to be included on their debut album which will be released early next year. The group had a solid stage presence and shared a few choice anecdotes about their music and music in general, but the highlight for me was sneaking in just in time to hear the insanely catchy ‘The Courtship of Summer Preasley’. One of last year’s breakout radio hits, ‘Heart of A Lion’ rounded out The Griswold’s set, complete with hearty audience contribution to the oh-so-distinctive ‘oh-oh-oh’s.

We made for Black Bear Lodge next, anticipating ‘a bit of a crowd’ for Megan Washington. ‘A bit of a crowd’ there sure was, with a line going out the door and an extremely crowded venue by the time we finally got in. I’ve become fairly adept at squeezing my way through crowds at gigs if I do say so myself, but this show nearly had me stumped it was so squishy. When Washington took the stage, however, no amount of uncomfortably sweaty body contact with strangers could take away from her performance. Most of the set was new material but it was performed with such vigour – and that voice! – that it didn’t really matter whether we knew the songs or not. There were a couple of choice Washington classics as well: the opening chords of ‘How To Tame Lions’ drew a huge cheer of approval, and the last song of the set, ‘Rich Kids’ had all of us uncomfortably close audience members swaying to and fro in time with one another.

Jeremy Neale was the final act of the night at Black Bear Lodge and being the good fan I am, I staked out a spot in the front row as soon as Washington wound up and stayed there. Aside from his handsome face, there’s plenty to recommend Jeremy Neale: fuzzy garage pop that has distinctly 60s feel and is absolutely made for moving your feet to. ‘Winter Was The Time’ kicked off the set in style and from there we heard a few older tunes and a few brand new ones. Jeremy piled on the charisma and charm between – and during – the songs with plenty of jokes and anecdotes, and Rainbow Chan and her saxophone joined the band on stage for ‘Darlin’.’ ‘A Love Affair To Keep You There’ was a hit with the crowd, but latest single ‘In Stranger Times’ was definitely the highlight of the show. Major Leagues and, uh, other people, jumped up on stage to contribute the parts usually sung by Go Violets for a ripper ending to the set. The dancing in the audience actually got to the stage where the wooden floor was moving up and down, and if you got out of sync, it kind of felt like you were on a boat in really choppy waters. I should point out that this is a good thing.

With such a killer line up, it would have been difficult for BIGSOUND to go too far wrong but in the end it completely surpassed my expectations. The event was well organised, smoothly run and – most importantly – showcased a bunch of incredible Australian musicians. It’s no surprise this event is such a success. It may just become an addition to my annual music calendar.
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