‘Bakery Lane’, ‘Brisbane Marketing’ Stage
I first met female Aboriginal duo The Stiff Gins in Canberra nearly eleven years ago, and still have an autographed copy of their first EP. Still with the absolute and beautiful simplicity of vocal harmonies and a single guitar, these ladies were as soulful and melancholy as ever.
Like most Aboriginal singer-songwriters, Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs are consummate story-tellers, inviting us into their world, their lives, and painting us a picture so that we could take this journey with them. It’s hard not to feel like they were not only singing, but teaching as well.
Almost appropriately on an outdoor stage, hearing the girls sing in their Aboriginal languages brought a smile to my heart. The only disappointment for me was the small crowd, on an apparently sold out night. Those who arrived late missed a real treat.
Feeding us country and western crooning and singalong party anthems, six-piece Melbourne outfit Eagle and the Worm picked up the pace. With a twin-bass (not to be confused with double-bass) rhythm section, a steel-lap guitar, vocal harmonies and wailing trumpet sound, these indie-rockers were reminiscent of acts such as The Fauves and Custard.
Although the singer had a habit of waffling between songs, these lads had a tight, clean sound that was unfortunately cut short by time restrictions.
Six-piece funksters The Melodics quickly had the punters dancing right from the first track. Obviously enjoying themselves, front man Jeremedy‘s enthusiasm was a welcome departure from the usual ‘hipster-disaffect’ stance being seen at gigs lately.
Not ashamed to borrow sounds, the track Superhero even included an homage to the epic solo from GnR’s equally epic track November Rain. This was quickly followed up with one of the greatest sax-offences of all time, the solo from Baker Street.
Danceable, singable, enigmatic funk, these guys brought to mind the likes of now-defunct Australian outfit Swoop.
Brisbane locals Dubmarine are yet another essential piece of a growing scene of live instrument dance groups. Epic basslines, jacked up on synths and a twin-trombone horn section, this eight piece put on what was for me the most energetic performance of Big Sound so far.
With rapper/vocalist D-Kaz Man painted up in traditional Aboriginal markings and female vocalist Cat Walker reminiscent of a 1960s go-go dancer, this pop outfit was just as much about the performance as the music, entertaining every sense that we had in our bodies, and a few extras to boot. Even Elefant Traks kingpin Urthboy couldn’t keep still, lurking quietly in the crowd.
Just quietly, big ups to the two drunk guys who tried to chat-up Cat Walker as she met with friends after the gig. Stay classy.
Brisbane hip-hop stalwarts The Optimen treated us to their usual brand of rhymes and humour under the marquee at Bakery Lane. With guest appearances from The Kelly Gang’s Kel Timmons and Aussie hip-hop legend Rainman, The Optimen put together a tight, rambling set.
Touring on the back of their first album in five years The Out of Money Experience, The Optimen are doing a string of shows in Brisbane this month for both Big Sound and Valley Fiesta.