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I lost count of how many bands I saw, and the same goes for how many beers I con­sumed. It was noth­ing if not an awe­some time full of great music, inter­est­ing peo­ple and gen­eral debauch­ery. The mas­sive selec­tion of artists play­ing made it impos­si­ble to choose who to watch, so I just rolled with it and didn’t plan too much, which was a great way to go. Ini­tially I was flus­tered with the amount of clashes I had to con­tend with, how­ever I still saw a tonne of acts, and those that I missed I’m sure will be kick­ing around Mel­bourne in the not so dis­tant future. There are so many that I can’t wait to wrap my ears and eyes around. Notably and repeat­edly rec­om­mended; Hits, Man­sion­air, The Har­poons, Holy Holy, Jesse David­son, Jack Lad­der, Air­ling and Blank Realm.

The pre-BIGSOUND evening was a bit of an elec­tro night for me, I hung around the Wooly Mam­moth to catch a very attrac­tive line-up which included elec­tro darlings/total babes LUCIANBLOMKAMP, Banof­fee and Oscar Key Sung. I have no idea how I’d not got­ten around to see­ing a Lucian show before despite the hype, I ended up catch­ing both his sets because I fell pretty in love the first time around. The guy’s a beat savant, as well as being incred­i­bly accom­plished on gui­tar and vio­lin. When his girl­friend Rose­bud Leach came on stage to lend her vocals for a cou­ple of tracks, it was an unde­ni­able chem­istry that brought the house down amongst the “Naaawwws”. A++, would go see a mil­lion times over. It was also my first time see­ing Oscar Key Sung prop­erly (last time was Golden Plains — need­less to say it was fuzzy), and he seri­ously got the crowd going. Lots of booty shak­ing and girls swoon­ing. I kind of wanted to get up on stage and have a dance with him. The dude can move. Fol­low­ing this, I gave myself a break from the synth action and headed across the road to catch Adelaide’s BAD//DREEMS tear up the stage at The Fly­ing Cock for the Mush­room party to get my garage fix for the night. I then decided to wrap things up early, go and get a kebab and pre­pare myself for the huge few days ahead of me.


The first offi­cial night of BIGSOUND Live started off with the hyp­notic Kathryn Rollins who has made the bold but wise move from folk to elec­tron­ica.  Keytar-wielding Yeo impressed with his dance moves at the Wooly Mam­moth, where he’d drawn a huge crowd. All of my main BIGSOUND Live high­lights all occurred on night one; with LANKS, Hay­den Cal­nin and Dor­sal Fins leav­ing me might­ily impressed with the qual­ity of music being pro­duced in Mel­bourne town. LANKS is the solo project of Will Cum­ing, who is no stranger to the Mel­bourne music scene, hav­ing pre­vi­ously played in sev­eral projects, includ­ing Poco La Pax with Saskwatch’s lead­ing lady. His rel­a­tively new solo project takes a turn into the realm of exper­i­men­tal elec­tron­ica, which at times can be quite dark with melodies that stick in your head for days. The multi instru­men­tal­ist who’s vocals can at times be likened to Thom Yorke had his band along for the ride. This meant gor­geous har­monies and live drums that were a real dri­ving force behind the per­for­mance. Hay­den Cal­nin has been gain­ing momen­tum for some time now, and right­fully so. His song­writ­ing is intel­li­gent, cre­ative, and some­times heart­break­ing. He had his four piece band with him for his out­door show at The Ele­phant, which made his beguil­ing, melan­cholic sounds into some­thing quite epic. I walked away from his per­for­mance feel­ing as if I’d taken a piece of his soul with me. The wee hours of Wednes­day night/Thursday morn­ing were all about dancin’ at the Bright­side. Old mates Saskwatch were bril­liant as always (Nkechi Anele, whatababe) but the stand out for me were super group Dor­sal Fins. Cute as a but­ton Ella Thomp­son of the Bam­boos and Eagle and the Worm’s Jar­rad Brown lead this Mel­bourne 9 plus — piece made up from but not lim­ited to mem­bers of Eagle and the Worm and Saskwatch. Their hyper­ac­tive live show is a stu­pidly good time which leaves you jump­ing up and down try­ing not to drop your camera/phone/drink. It’s brass infused indie pop of epic pro­por­tions with a touch of soul and 80’s synth thrown in for good mea­sure. Total party happy fun times.

Night num­ber two was a marathon. I started off at The Ele­phant with D.D. Dumbo and beats wun­derkind SAFIA, before scoot­ing over to see puke-punk out­fit The Sink­ing Teeth at the Bright­side, where hilar­i­ous ban­ter and my own stage danc­ing ensued. I then went BACK to the Ele­phant for the gor­geous Tully on Tully, who grace­fully over­came some sound issues and gave a crack­ing per­for­mance includ­ing a guest appear­ance from Hay­den Cal­nin. I got stuck there for quite some time because beer and mates and was con­vinced to stay for Coach Bom­bay, who I wasn’t famil­iar with but thor­oughly enjoyed. Back to the Bright­side for elec­tro hip­ster bros I’lls, then I was off to The Press Club to get a dose of coun­try in the form of Roy Orbison’s ille­git­i­mate off­spring Mar­lon Williams, who wooed us all with his gui­tar and gen­er­ally charm­ing char­ac­ter. I used to be scared of coun­try music, but after see­ing top notch acts such as Mar­lon and like all-girl har­mon­isin’, banjo twan­gin’, accor­dion squeezin’ dar­lings All Our Exes Live in Texas the pre­vi­ous night, I can feel myself becom­ing a con­vert and wish­ing I was at Amer­i­cana fest in Nashville right now. Well-played.

Despite the hang­overs I dragged myself into town to see some really inter­est­ing pan­els as part of the con­fer­ence side of things. One in par­ti­cluar that really high­lighted the impor­tance of BIGSOUND’s exis­tence was the Big 20 Ques­tions Q&A. Direc­tor of Street Press Larry Treweek’s panel included guests rep­re­sent­ing UK’s The Great Escape con­fer­ence, New York’s Panache Book­ing and Texas’s Bon­na­roo Fes­ti­val. It was so excit­ing to hear how stoked they were about the qual­ity of music that is cur­rently com­ing out of the coun­try. They sang BIGSOUND’s praises for not only the array of fan­tas­tic artists, but also how well organ­ised it was and how much of a freak­ing good time they were hav­ing (a cou­ple of them were clearly VERY hung over, and ques­tions often had to be repeated. Made for qual­ity view­ing). They also shared the opin­ion that BIGSOUND is such a sup­port­ive com­mu­nity of music mak­ers, lovers and the like, who will usu­ally be more inclined to say “hey go check out this band”, instead of plug­ging their own. It seems almost as if every­one is mates with every­one and there­fore cre­ates the ulti­mate envi­ron­ment for amaz­ing net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. Just a rad, friendly place to be. Go us.

I felt incred­i­bly for­tu­nate to be immersed in such a vibrant and cre­ative hub for a few days, and get­ting back to real­ity gave me the post-BIGSOUND blues. It’s such a cool thing to be able to rub shoul­ders with peo­ple at all lev­els of the music indus­try and share expe­ri­ences, advice, beers and maybe even a boo­gie with one another. I feel that it’s also an impor­tant event for the Brissy com­mu­nity of music lovers as they can be exposed to an array of acts that might not have had the oppor­tu­nity to make it up North. With the only real down­side being not able to be 10 places at once, I am aim­ing to make this week in the Sep­tem­ber sun­shine an annual vay­cay, as I feel it can only get big­ger and better.