I saw Tape/Off at the Valley Drive In during BIGSOUND 2018, all I could hear was a wall of sound coming from behind the Brightside, and I wanted to know more. I checked them out on their Triple J Unearthed and Facebook profiles later on and realised that their favourite bands included many of mine. I like a noisy band.
Tape/Off released ‘Broadcast Park’ last year just before BIGSOUND and the latest single ‘Vigorous Lover’ is a step away from their usual sound dynamic. Cnt Evn, Minor Premiers and Requin as supports were thematic choices with their own brands of quality noise.
Tape/Off played a solid set that included ‘Wake in Fright’, ‘Micronation’ and ‘Day In, Day Out’ and of course ‘Vigorous Lover’. ‘Vigorous Lover’ shows the melodic chops the band has and some clever lyric play: “She wanted a vigorous lover, that would go all night, I’m not such a vigorous lover, but I go alright…”
Get and see Tape/Off, especially if you like noise in abundance. The tour namesake single ‘Vigorous Lover’ shows a bit of a sardonic side through the lyrics and softer sound that you might not realise Tape/Off possess.
What do you get when you band 10 live music venues together to put some seriously great bands on? The Mountain Goat Valley Crawl is what! Spread across 3 blocks (so easy scramble distance between venues) and some of the best up and coming as well as established bands from Brisbane and beyond, this always promised to be a good night.
As I got my wristband, I realised that I had left my glasses at home (hurrah for living very close – boo for disorganisation and bad eyesight!) so had to scoot home again leaving me with minimal time to catch Perve Endings at The Foundry.
Perve Endings do great synth punk pop – a lot more punk than their Unearthed Profile would suggest, and a lot noisier than their recordings there too. They had a decent sized crowd for a 6.30 slot – the hard work they have been putting in (Voiid’s Sludge Session to name one) has paid off.
The Bonnie Doons were on at the Crowbar in my 7pm timeslot. I have almost seen them countless times, only to have a scheduling conflict – interestingly enough there was one with this line up for me too – Being Jane Lane at Blutes. If you like a laid back, almost reggae tinged sound (think surf-punk-coastal music) you will love these guys. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of their set – get on their Unearthed page and have a listen.
Being Jane Lane were in full swing when I arrived at Blutes. By full swing, I mean going off. Blutes stage area is small and the band had spilled off the stage onto the floor area, merging with the audience. I saw them last supporting Horace Bones (I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, a criminally under attended gig – RIP live music at the Bloodhound Bar) and missed them at VB Hardyards. I was trying to work out out where their lead singer Teigan was, she was in the crowd much to everyones delight.
After a quick dinner break, I went back to the The Foundry, where Tiny Castle was playing in the Back Room (AKA The Bowie Room). If you like bands like the Killers and City Calm Down, these guys are for you. It seemed that the audience was filled with friends and family (grandparents included). The Back Room at the Foundry has surprisingly good acoustics – it felt like we were at a house party in someone’s lounge room.
My must see for the night was Cry Club. Their recordings only give half the indication of the energy and noise that comes from a live show. Heather is the consummate front person – high energy and engages with every member of the audience. I love noise pop that I can dance to and Cry Club are a band delivers this in spades.
My first band at the Zoo for the night was Minor Premiers. This band sounds like they are from another time, like something off the early 90’s Merge Records roster. They had a bunch of loyal fans ready to go. I had been waiting to see them for some time and they did not disappoint. It was then off to Barbara to see Pool Shop.
I had popped into Barbara earlier to do a light reading – it seemed darker and more crowded when I went back. Barbara is not really geared for this type of live music (and frustrating sound issues as well as lack of lighting) and the punters were all squashed in, with more trying to get in. I took my shots and went outside to listen to the rest of their set. Pool Shop is one of my favourite Brisbane bands, fantastic shoegaze style, melodic power pop.
My biggest scheduling clash of the night was Raave Tapes and IV League. I went over to the Brightside to catch IV League first. IV League put out a solid beginning to their set (was hoping for Superstar – maybe I left before it?) then off to the Zoo for Raave Tapes.
I have been singing the praises of Raave Tapes to whoever will listen – I saw them live for the first time as the “surprise” band at the end of the Against the Grain festival. It seems that the rest of Brisbane has arrived – the line to get in was down to the convenience shop (thank you media wristband). It was already packed upstairs too. It was already heaving – Raave Tapes are a band that will make you have a good time, and all your friends as well. They invited a big pile of their friends up for their song “Corridor”, members of Bugs, Sweater Curse and Stumps and other randoms. The crowd loved every minute of it.
After that little bit of excitement, it was back to Blutes for the “surprise” gig of the night – Washington. New songs and old favourites were performed. It seemed that not everyone got the memo about Washington playing straight away – the line up at the door started well into the set.
Once again, Mountain Goat Valley Crawl put on a stunning array of talent. Because you can’t be everywhere at once, I missed Selfish Sons, Sleep Club and Requin – bands I really wanted to see. Stumps I missed due to utter confusion with the schedule (sorry guys – next time?). I’m looking forward to seeing some of these bands around this year.
The guys from Grain are getting very good at selected great acts for a great night out – Against the Grain festival was an eclectic line up of established and up and coming bands and their SILO nights are using the same formula.
The 4th instalment of the SILO nights grouped the very welcome return of Major Leagues with Grace Turner and Sacred Blue.
Grace Turner and her band are one of the hardest working acts around (or are at least stretching themselves thin) as they took off after their slot to play Grow Your Own festival. From Newcastle, the flow of bands from Newcastle playing in Brisbane is increasing and Brisbane is loving it. I also love that Grace plays a Flying V. Her brand of jangly indie pop was a great segue-way to from Sacred Blue to Major Leagues.
I have photographed Jaimee in her other project Pool Shop several times last year and was very much looking forward to seeing and photographing Major Leagues. Major Leagues are a happy power pop quartet (if you love stuff like Best Coast, Throwing Muses or Belly these guys are for you). The ease of style and not missing a beat (except when Vlada lost an earring!) made for a set that went all too quick (they are supporting Snail Mail so if you have tickets to that you are in for a treat).
All these artists have Bandcamp sites – check them out below:
A collective howl went up from Brisbane earlier this year when Gang of Youths announced their Australian tour and there was no date for Brisbane. It was quickly followed with a message to wait as there was something special in store for Brisbane.
Then we waited, finally on August 8 Gang of Youths announced they would be doing a mini-festival, A More Perfect Union at the Riverstage with Publique, Charlie Collins, Thelma Plum, Luca Brasi and Jack River. It predictably sold out in about an hour.
Publique kicked off the festival. They were a great opener, with an urgent jangly guitar sound. You should always get and see opening bands, you might just see something you like.
Charlie Collins played a great set, her easy-going country-tinged music a great soundtrack to kick back with on the Riverstage lawn and enjoy some food and drinks.
Thelma Plum gave us lovely anecdotes about growing up in Brisbane and going to gigs among other things, her amazing belter of a voice filling the amphitheatre.
Luca Brasi took us into the late afternoon, with their usual high energy offering, this is a band that enjoys what they are doing and it shows with the audience pressed up against the barrier trying to get closer.
Jack River has just released her new album, Sugar Mountain. The crowd lined up to hear favourites such as Ballroom. As with all the acts on for this festival, people were lined up at the stage singing along with whoever was on stage at the time.
Publique – photo Bec Harbour
Charlie Collins – photo Bec Harbour
Thelma Plum – photo Bec Harbour
The crowd was getting excited to see the headliners Gang of Youths and it was all too much for some (saw several people carried out of the crowd by security). Dave Le’aupepe is an amazing frontman, as Jack River said, you’re all going to see some sexy dancing next.
They dedicated “Heart is a Muscle” to Dave’s recently departed father and zipped through a ‘best of’ set that kept the crowd engaged and singing at the top of their lungs.
Dave Le’aupepe (Gang of Youths) – photo Bec Harbour
Joji Malani (Gang of Youths) – photo Bec Harbour
It was a different innovation to have a mini-festival and one wonders if the lack of a larger venue in Brisbane contributed to that. The line-up was great, once again get there early you might just see something amazing and support acts work just as hard as headliners and deserve your support. Gang of Youths are the ultimate live band and have honed their craft since I saw them last at Splendour in the Grass in 2016. Go see them, they are also a band with a social conscience (see their anti-Via GoGo posts on social media) as well as a band that puts on a great show.
Brisbane, you got a (mini) festival, the opportunity to see some great up and coming artists and some amazing established bands thanks to Gang of Youths.
East Brunswick All Girls Choir – photo Bec Harbour
Once again a gig has been moved due to noise complaints about the Bloodhound Bar. Greaser was business as usual with their restaurant trade continuing around the bands. I quite like the idea of going out for a burger and seeing a great band so hopefully, they can continue this.
First up was Gold Stars giving us a nice serving of noise. The narrow stage seemed too small for them and they spilled out onto the floor in front.
Jack Spider – photo Bec Harbour
Gold Stars – photo Bec Harbour
Jack Spider was next, borrowing musicians from other Brisbane bands (I see you Dougal you busy bass player!) dropping an energetic set that had people coming from their tables where they were eating their dinners to have a look.
This prepped the way for East Brunswick All Girls Choir. Touring on the back of their latest release Teddywaddy, East Brunswick All Girls Choir had made a decent splash at BIGSOUND this year (I was impressed enough to see them twice).
The band showed the casual banter that makes them a really great band to watch, Marcus and Rob filled up the tiny narrow stage area with their energy on songs such as “Essendon 1986” and Jen was in the middle with Rie tucked away in the corner. A young punter had his first band experience with them (great way to start) and Marcus offered him his glass of red in tribute to the occasion.
East Brunswick All Girls Choir played a great show, pulling out all the stops, engaging with their audience and pushing the tiny venue to its limit. 100% will see them next time they play in Brisbane.
East Brunswick All Girls Choir – photo Bec Harbour
This festival is a really good idea, set up to showcase the local area, the eateries and local businesses, it has succeeded. Set up in the park across the road from the little community of restaurants, cafes and other shops, behind the repurposed substation, there was plenty of parking early on, as well as access to regular public transport.
The festival had a great selection of food and drink and plenty of seating. There was something for everyone at this festival, with “the paint box” for kids (big ones too) to have a bit of a creative moment, plenty of lawn and hay bales to sit or play on as well as family-friendly food options.
The musical entertainment opened with Gooby Jim and the Goobs, who don’t sound as lo-fi playing live as they do on their recordings. They were followed up by Moreton, another band that sounds a lot more up-tempo live than the recordings I was able to find for them online.
Gooby Jim & the Goops – photo Bec Harbour
Moreton – photo Bec Harbour
The Butter was up next (I envisage a name change for these guys – there are a lot of bands with close variations of that name). They are a good fun, funky band that had a lot of the kiddies having a dance. Then somewhere in between Moreton, The Butter and Jade Imagine, there was a flash mob of sorts that many audience members jumped in on and had a dance.
The Butter – photo Bec Harbour
End of the Line Festival dance off – photo Bec Harbour
Jade Imagine – photo Bec Harbour
Jade Imagine was a band that I wanted to see as I had enjoyed their set at the BIGSOUND Closing Party earlier in September. I love a bit of fuzzy guitar dream pop, and Jade Imagine have that brief covered.
Fraser A Gorman was next with his country-inflected pop, then Handsome. I wasn’t sure what to expect of Handsome as they described themselves on their Facebook site as “tomboy pop”. Reality is they are a lot of good fun, electronica, it’s good they have decided on their own genre, it suits them.
End of the Line Festival – photo Bec Harbour
Fraser A Gorman – photo Bec Harbour
Body Type has recently re-released their singles as EP. I saw them supporting Alex Cameron at The Foundry earlier this year, and thought they actually stole the show. Body Type played noisy, fuzzy guitar sweetness, with an underlying worldliness.
They were followed by Gabriella Cohen, another 2018 BIGSOUND alumni. Gabriella’s music is great, jazz-infused and with plenty of rock to spare.
The festival was a great success, it catered for all people at all stages of their lives (singles, families, retirement). It also showcased what the southside had to offer as a festival venue, food and entertainment, as festivals and music often sit in the domain of the Valley.