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thoughts on Big Sound Live – Day 2

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I ditch my plans and stick to the Artisan Gallery Outdoor stage for the Thursday night. I’m glad I do, as the line-up is great. The vibe is a lot more relaxed than it was for the indoor venues on the Wednesday night, and people are more willing to move around.

The night starts with Richard in Your Mind. The band have been labelled psychedelic, but there’s a lot more to these guys than extended jams and trippy guitar effects. I could have watched them for a lot longer than just a 30-minute set – strong basslines, rhythmic drum beats, funk guitars and the most energetic frontman I’ve seen in ages.

It’s synths galore when New Zealand act The Naked and Famous take the stage. The seemingly mismatched five-piece produce a pretty decent sound, despite the fact they don’t seem too confident in themselves. Nerves aren’t helped when the bass cuts out midway through the third song – noise complaints, apparently. Their set is still extremely enjoyable, especially ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Punching In A Dream’, and I’m glad to see people singing along – something that doesn’t happen much at smaller local shows anymore.

I’m a pretty big Ernest Ellis fan. I enjoy his/their (the name applies to both solo artist and band) set, but tonight isn’t their best. As usual ‘Pulse’ detours and becomes the middle-section of ‘The End’ by The Doors. In a normal set I don’t mind this, but for a 30-minute set that is supposed to showcase your own original talent, it’s time wasted. The rest is pretty standard, the band ploughing through their better-known songs, ‘Want For Anything’, ‘Loveless’ and ‘Heading For the Cold’. Ellis has a pretty diverse album that he never seems to take advantage of live. One day maybe.

I really want to like [local band] Last Dinosaurs more. This is the third time I’ve seen them, and I still have the same feeling as the previous two times. They play well, their songs are good, but there’s nothing fantastic about them. ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Alps’ are good to listen to, but the rest of the set is too average.

Sydney band Parades are easily the highlight of my Big Sound Live experiences. Their sound is incredibly lush, and pretty different to anything I hear over the two nights. Strong in vocal harmonies, and with musical influences ranging from post-rock, jazz to indie pop, their live set is seemingly flawless, calm but with a good amount of energy. They are my best ‘new’ find of the event.

Overall no, I don’t think that the acts I saw over the two nights were a showcase of Australia’s best and original talent. I think it was a better representation of what has been popular so far this year. I think that Brisbane could have been better represented, especially considering the event was held here. It was also disappointing to think back about the Brisbane bands I did see and realise they were some of my least favourite acts of the event. But the event succeeded in introducing me to some new bands, and for the most part I had fun and enjoyed each act I saw. And isn’t that supposed to be the point of live music anyway?

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