Live Review: BIGSOUND Live - Night 2 (12.09.13)

Welcome back to coverage from Brisbane’s premier music conference and live showcase, BIGSOUND! (crowd goes wild) Tonight will feature the likes of Hey Geronimo, Sheppard, The Jungle Giants, Dubmarine, Tigertown and the Melbourne Ska Orchestra, among others. However, let us begin with at Electric Playground.

Spender opened BIGSOUND night two at the old church with his soulful loop filled tunes. The thing that makes Tommy Spender unique, is his use of his Tenor Sax. The loops that he creates with the instrument and his vocals in combination make for such interesting live combinations. “Never Again” is such a cool tune and I think really captures what he is all about.

Up next was Hey Geronimo at the Bakery Lane stage. Okay, so I didn’t think it had been that long since I last saw this band play, however they were sporting two new members on bass and keys. Regardless of the loss, they are still almost too much fun to handle. Their set was full of old favorites and new tunes with “Carbon Affair” still being one of highlights of the set.

Eden Mulholland was next up at Alhambra Lounge. I wish that I had got to see more of this lad. He had such an interesting vibe to his songs. One moment it was just him singing with a guitar in an almost folk-like manner, then next minute the band came in and it morphed into a heavy garage jam. It was awesome. And then the set ended! Damn! Here’s one to check out post BIGSOUND.

Now, I’ve heard a lot of hype about my next act Sheppard but not really caught up with it yet. I know they were finalists in the Q Music Awards, so I was really curious to see what they were all about. To be perfectly honest, I was blown away! They are ridiculously fun and entertaining. Kudos to the bass player for having pink strings on her bass, with matching nail polish and strap. Both the singers had interesting qualities to their vocals, and worked so well together and with the rest of the band. They were clearly loved by their crowd and vibed off this to up their act. It was one of the best of the night.

You know as soon as you see ‘Tempo Hotel’ on the program it was going to be loud, but Calling All Cars were just stupidly loud! Stupidly loud, and awesome that is! They are such a tight band and put on an amazing show! The bands’ new single “Werewolves” is definitely going to be a hit!

Unfortunately I couldn’t get into The Jungle Giants, due to a huge ass line, which led me across the road to Dubmarine. Sometimes it’s the unexpected and seemingly unknown that make the biggest impression on a listener at an event like this. Dumbarine was that for me. I had no idea what to expect and what I got was amazeballs. They have so much energy, creating music with a funky groove. Their reggae and hip-hop sounds really had the crowd pumping. I’ve seen the Jungle Giants more than a couple of times and it was nice to see something maybe I wouldn’t have picked off the program. Really impressed.

The night just kept getting better and better with Tigertown at the Triple J Unearthed stage at Oh Hello! I freaking love this band. All the voices work so well together and the music they create together is the right amount of indie-pop with enough imagination to avoid that generic sound that is coming out of some Australian bands at the moment. Highlight of the set has to be when mid song, two “audience” members held up tom drums and became part of the song. Rad! Also, it needs to be said that the “BIGSOUND Jam Jars” at Oh Hello were absolutely amazing.

The final act of BIGSOUND was also the single highlight of the entire festival. Melbourne Ska Orchestra. I don’t think I’ve ever really quite seen anything like it. 26 people on the 5x4m stage that was Bakery Lane including stands for the 11+ member horn section. They opened the set with their version of the “Get Smart Theme” and as soon as frontman Nicky Bomba started controlling the crowd at the end of the song and getting them to interact with the final chords of the song, I knew we were all in for the time of our nights. The orchestra themselves were having so much fun onstage, despite the lack of personal space, and were waving their instruments around and dancing just as much as the rest of the crowd were. And oh my! There were steel drums! STEEL DRUMS! I know you’d expect it in a ska and reggae band, but still, Steel Drums!

When the orchestra finished their sensational set, they had a play off song where all the members weaved their way though the crowd and out the lane. And everyone followed them. We all went for a walk through the valley, slowly making our way to the Brunswick Street Mall were they played stationary for a while before playing their way back to the lane. In reality where there set should have been 30 minutes, it ended up being at least 45 minutes. Every second was incredible.

And it’s over for another year. 20 live acts over two nights. I feel empty! On a serious note, I said this last year, but I will say it again: If Brisbane live music has this many options for music venues on an everyday basis, things would be grand. However, of the 12 BIGSOUND venues, only six host shows on a regular basis. What does that say?

Well done BIGSOUND. You have brought out the best Brisbane, nay, Australia has to offer and thrown it at us. Thank you.