BigSound – Wednesday
Having a lot to live up to following the first night of Bigsound, there was a lot of anticipation from myself as I walked into The Black Bear Lodge to see Emerson Snowe impress us with his artistic showcase performance. Taking the stage wearing high wasted jeans and a funky western style button up which he decided to then take off and do it all topless, the solo artist got straight into Supermoon. Immediately the performance intrigued everyone as it was not only quirky and individualist but it seemed somewhat a glimpse into the complicated, self-aware mind of the artsy performer. This continued through Leonard Sings Of Marianne, Amore Felicé and Androgynous. A groovy self-love aura filled the fast filling venue while he continued on his performance. The local Brisbane boy decided to go into a cover of Every Morning by Sugar Ray, while joining the crowd on ground level, thanking them for coming and sharing the mic to ask how everyone was. His gag of turning around and urging the guitarist (which was not present) to take it away with a solo added a comedic touch of brilliance and light heartedness. Who’s In Your Arms, Mutual Breakdown and Chain Of Flowers, winded the second half of the night to a close as he ended it with his vocal testing song If I Die Then I Die. Emerson Snowe’s performance was endearing, brave and nothing but himself. His jaw dropping genius pushed the boundaries of a performance and handed a heavy element of art and dance delivering the first chills of Bigsound.
The next venture led me down to the under floor of Crowbar. Dear Seattle have been making a name for themselves recently amongst the post rock scene and if you are heading down into Crowbar then you should know what you are in for. The dark rock dungeon was the perfect host for such a heavy hitting rock band. Housing 2 of the boys from Violent Soho front of the crowd, the band played through The Things You Do, The Meadows and Cut You Deep. A loud punch of beautiful vocals, strong guitarists and intense drumming held the reputation of the venue. As heads were banging and bodies were crashing into one and other in an intense mosh, the rock loving crowd had definitely chosen the right artist to see at this time. Afterthought, Concrete and Quiet allowed us all to see an insight into just what more Bigsound had to offer us. They put on half an hour of intensity for the crowd of superfans.
Having only listened to Lupa J a small amount and seen a handful of snapchats of previous showcases I was a touch unsure of what to expect. After a few technical difficulties leading past the start time of her set, she kicked off Put Me Back Together as fast and as loud as she could. I was blown away. Sydney’s classical violin electronic superstar took over The Wooly Mammoth in an instant with her performing band wielding a violin, synth pads and synth keys. Double violin jams and some rad outfits widened all of our eyes through Evaporate, All Talked Out and Ring Empty. All of our dancing shoes were on in witness of this special electro 3 piece. They created a unique atmosphere of intimate, cloudy vibrations that housed our wide eyes in absolute awe. They were loud, skillful and moody. Playing songs from an upcoming EP showed us what was in store from Lupa J and let me tell you they are incredible and should be watched out for. Humbly ending her set, in shock of her crowds reception she played Keep Back. From a band that seemed like you could have pulled from Blade: Trinity, they succeeded in wowing us in a rushed set that seem like they held time at a standstill trance. Her complex, layered vocals paired with the keys, synth drums and violin were the perfect harmony to raise the standard of showcases at Bigsound so far.
As the night started to wind down and Fortitude Valley started to build in capacity I made my way upstairs in The Woolly Mammoth to go see a highly anticipated show from a young 17-year-old high school student. Taj Ralph was recently one of the Triple J Unearthed High finalists and was doing what was one his first live performances to a pretty full, intrigued room. From the moment he got on stage with his 2 guitars, a drum pad and several guitar pedals he took to live performing like duck to water. It was astonishing to see him go through Waterfall and Night Catcher. Using his own live looping of not only his guitar but of his voice and drums as well his young age did not match the experience that he was bringing to the table. Doing a cover of The Internet’s, Under Control he started to sport 2 very enthusiastic dancers that were definitely feeling his vibe going into Son Of Sam. His energy was as chill and as wavy as his beautiful long hair and charm. He blew us all away with his raw talent and dazzling vocals while entertaining us all with this incredible solo performance. Beat The Keeper being one of my favourite releases of the year and Undone saw the show to a close as he seemingly played all the material that he had. His performance emanated a smooth mix of King Krule and Tash Sultana and excites me to see him develop as a young artist. An easy highlight of the whole festival.
What was easily one of the most memorable acts of the whole festival was staying that the same stage for Winston Surfshirt. Having the room fill up with caution that they would miss the spectacle, Winston Surfshirt YOLO style just started the show early. No introduction, no warning, apart from yelling “THIS IS THE REAL SET!” and then going through Juan, Same Same, Papa T and Got The Party the whole room began to become sweaty. The 5-piece band had no drum set but instead a drum pad and an impressive finger drummer, a keyboardist, a vital bass guitar, more so vital trombone and the front man funk/jazz rap/singer. Their groovy silky vibes seriously made it seem like you were looking through yellow tinted glasses as they flaunted their serious vocal powers and trombone solos. When You’re Ready, For Real, The Moments and On A Lock kept the crowd entertained as their time was pretty close to being up, but they did not care, and for good reason. Their power to create a hypnotic graze through their jazzy vocals and incredible trombone waves only accentuated their cool levels to new heights. They seriously enforced old school A Tribe Called Quest vibes in their continuous stream of passion for the music, energy of performance and funk in attitude. Their biggest hit Be About You is what seemingly brought their show to an end, already over their time limit but alas! Their YOLO style brought out one more. To everyone’s surprise, I think including theirs, Kendrick Lamar’s, Be Humble tune started to come from the trombone, and I swear to you they played through the whole thing. The front vocals rapped the whole thing, while even putting his own surfy flavour to it. All while getting in amongst the crowd which were all in sheer disbelief of what was happening while hyping him up. It was incredible and one of the most exciting shows I have been able to be a part of. Words cannot describe the absolute brilliance that is Winston Surfshirt. The best highlight personally for the entire festival and the perfect way to finish night 2.
Check out the gallery from Wednesday with Danny Foster
Words by Lachlan Eunson