QMusic’s BIGSOUND is a gathering of the Australian music industry and all of the bands, bosses, icons, industry folk, movers and shakers it has to offer. Our nation’s own answer to Austin, Texas’ esteemed SXSW, it sees over 100+ bands play across 12 stages over two tune-filled nights. But even if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley as BIGSOUND takes over the city, how are you going to make heads or tails of that daunting list of acts? Never fear, Tone Deaf is here to help with our top picks of the must-see acts – handily broken into one act per venue across those 12 stages, for both Wednesday and Thursday night. Grab your diary – here we go!
Wed Sep 12th, 10pm-10:30pm – Sonicbids Stage @ Electric Playground
It sounds clichéd, but these Melbourne rockers have already had a break out year. Since winning the Triple J Unearthed competition to play Splendour In The Grass, their lives on the road simply haven’t stopped. There’s a reason these guys are so booked out - they absolutely kill it live.
Wed Sep 12th, 10:30pm-11pm - Bakery Lane
This Perth five-piece mix funk, hip-hop and electro to produce an incredible live show packed full of energy. They’ve got the reputation of bringing in the big crowds and leaving them smiling. This set is guaranteed to get you dancing.
Wed Sep 12th, 9:10pm-9:40pm – Black Bear Lodge
The vocals on Kira Puru are something to behold. The range on this woman is breathtaking, in the higher register it hits you like a tonne of bricks. When you take into account the strength of the band, this one’s a no-brainer. Get ready to be blown away.
Wed Sep 12th, 8pm-8:30pm - Ric’s Bar
Local Brisbane lad and sometimes Velociraptor member, Jeremy Neale embraces vintage pop sounds often forgotten and makes them his own. Shuffling ‘60s beats as soulful sax underpins the low crooning tones of Neale’s voice.
Wed Sep 12th, 11:40pm-12:10am – The Tempo Hotel
With a unique marketing campaign leading up to the release of their debut record Silent Machine in November, Melbourne’s Twelve Foot Ninja are every bit as powerful as their mix of prog and hard rock sounds. Don’t let their digital smarts trick you, they back it all up on stage.
Wed Sep 12th, 8:20pm-8:50pm – Alhambra Lounge
Indie folk songstress Caitlin Park crafts beautifully intricate songs. The mixture of her soft vocals with repeating loops both digital and acoustic creates a dreamlike atmosphere. On top of all that, she’s recently been announced as a finalist for the QANTAS Spirit Of Youth Awards. Her live show will certainly be a stand out.
Wed Sep 12th, 9:40pm-10:10pm – Qmusic Stage
Sydney punk rockers The Snowdroppers had an incredibly busy eighteen months - including a tour of the U.S and a slot at SXSW 2011. With a brand new single ‘White Dress’ and recent support slot with Shihad, these boys are sure to please.
Wed Sep 12th, 9:40pm-10:10pm – Channel [V] Stage @ The Zoo
With their debut album A Year At Sea due out in a couple of weeks, Winter People’s showcase at BIGSOUND will surely be one not to miss. Their blend of traditional folk and modern indie pop takes on epic proportions without ever feeling contrived.
Wed Sep 12th, 9:10pm-9:40pm – Triple J Unearthed Stage @ Oh Hello
A male/female folk duo out of Sydney, who have quite the past together. Despite having gone through a relationship together, Simon Rudston-Brown and Melinda Kirwin have put aside any tensions they may harbor for the sake of crafting beautiful traditional folk mixed with cleverly crafted pop tunes.
Wed Sep 12th, 9:40pm-10:10pm – CMC Stage @ Mustang Bar
Newcastle singer/songwriter Catherine Britt has that familiar country music twang but doesn’t let it dictate her sound. Having worked with some of Australia’s most respected songwriters - including her current slot as Tim Rogers’ support act on his national tour - Ms Britt brings a refreshingly contemporary sound to an often-overlooked genre.
Wed Sep 12th, 9:10pm-9:40pm – Press Club
Indie rock specialists, Bearhug are out of Sydney and have been building steadily toward their debut record. Described as an awesome mix of modern indie dream pop in the mould of Real Estate and Deerhunter, but with a subtle Aussie twist. Coming into Spring, these guys will be perfect to enjoy in the sunshine.
Wed Sep 12th, 8pm-8:30pm – Magic City
This Sydney electronic duo manage to create an irresistible groove with tricked out loops and never ending samples. Awesomely eclectic mixes of traditional pop melodies and glitched out digital sounds, the accompanying live show will surely be the talk of BIGSOUND attendees.
Thurs Sep 13th, 8:50pm-9:20pm – Bakery Lane
In a word, atmospheric, but that’s not to take away from the interest in Oliver Tank’s music. His incredibly detailed tunes mix acoustic and digital instruments seamlessly. Surrounded by synths, drum pads and all sorts of electronic paraphernalia, Tank twists and tweaks his way through his catalogue of dreamy tunes.
Thurs Sep 13th, 9:10pm-9:40pm – Black Bear Lodge
These Melbourne based boys aren’t naïve when it comes to the realities of touring and they already possess an amazing live show. A distinctly Australian sound that takes on traditional country rock influences but goes beyond that with the dual vocals of Steven Clifford and Matthew John Smith.
Thurs Sep 13th, 8:50pm-9:20pm – Ric’s Bar
A garage punk band out of Adelaide building momentum off the back of supports with An Horse and DZ Deathrays, these fellas have developed a healthy reputation for a raucous live show. Their searing rock intelligence has also won them support slots with internationals like Texan art-rock outfit, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead.
Thurs Sep 13th, 8:20pm-8:50pm - The Tempo Hotel
This Melbourne soul/hip-hop outfit truly separate themselves from the rest of the pack with their production and experimental beats. That’s not to take away from the vocals, which work just as effectively on top of their beats. A set that's sure to have heads bopping and bodies swaying.
Thurs Sep 13th, 9:40pm-10:10pm - QMusic Stage
Not much needs to be said about this soul-certified 9-piece funk outfit. A rhythm section you could set your watch too, bouncing horn lines and soaring vocals - it's all here. After their debut record Leave It All Behind recently scored Tone Deaf’s Album of the Week upon its release, we cannot recommend this set enough.
Thurs Sep 13th, 11:40pm-12:10am Alhambra Lounge
One of BIGSOUND’s few international acts – but perhaps the best; The Darcys are heading to our shores all the way from Toronto, Canada. Their icy soundscapes build dynamically, but the most exciting part of their music is the layers and textures they create. They have the potential to completely steal the show with their Australian introduction.
Thurs Sep 13th, 9:40pm-10:10pm Channel [V] Stage @ The Zoo
There’s no doubt these boys will draw a significant crowd. Not only are they local Brisbane blokes but also it’s been some time since we’ve heard from them. Their debut Escapades was released in 2010 and was nothing short of an awesome debut; this will be one of the first chances to hear their new material.
Thurs Sep 13th, 9:10pm-9:40pm – triple j Unearthed stage @ Oh Hello
On top of his background in production, which obviously shines through, it’s Mr Calnin’s voice that really makes him stand out. The brooding and emotionally stirring music underpins the soaring vocal harmonies. He’s well-rehearsed too, having completed a month-long residency and launch tour for his debut EP, City in his native Melbourne.
Thurs Sep 13th, 10:30pm-11pm – CMC Stage @ Mustang Bar
Another band mixing old school folk influences with contemporary Australian sounds. This Sydney four-piece has released two EPs with a third one on the way for early 2013. They’ve continued to hone their sound and develop their songwriting to capture each of their talents and create beautiful indie folk tunes, capture them as they develop on stage and in sound.
Thurs Sep 13th, 10pm-10:30pm – Press Club
This solo female electronic producer has managed to steer away from sounding too mainstream, producing creative beats coupled with the use of vintage samples; all while Rose’s voice maintains the spotlight and is the true focus of the music. An incredibly talented young woman destined to create even more hype off her industry showcase.
Thurs Sep 13th, 11:40pm-12:10am – Magic City
The influence of vintage British rock on this group is clear, and coupled with a Melbourne attitude of playing for the fun of it, translates into one hell of a live show. The group vocals lend themselves perfectly to large crowds and this set will be a perfect bookend to the day.
Thurs Sep 13th, 8:20pm-8:50pm – Electric Playground
Currently supporting The Medics on their national tour, this Melbourne quartet have gone from strength to strength with the release of their EP, You’re Boring Us All earlier in the year. I, a Man have truly cemented their place as one of Melbourne’s up-and-coming bands, as good as they sound on record, nothing compares to the live performance of those shimmering textures and rhythms.