Annual music festival and conference Bigsound is set to run from September 5-8th, once again at venues around Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. Beyond the daytime events of keynotes, presentations and panel discussions there’s, of course, the parties, with nightly showcases serving up a smorgasbord of local music — with a clear focus on the emerging over the established. But with over 150 acts scheduled to perform across three jam-packed nights, knowing what’s worth catching is a mission in itself. Here, we’ve compiled a (by no means definitive) list of artists we think should definitely be highlighted on your Bigsound 2017 schedule.
By Genevieve Gao and Jonny Nail.
Alex the Astronaut
Previewed via a selection of 2016 tracks — including the whimsical “Half of 21st Street” and nostalgic “Already Home” — Sydney singer-songwriter Alex the Astronaut (pictured) released her debut EP, To Whom It May Concern in March. Clearly not one to rest on her successes, she shared the strikingly personal new song “Not Worth Hiding” earlier this month, alongside the announcement of a new EP See You Soon EP, due October — set to be previewed at her Bigsound showcase at the Triple J Unearthed Stage at Oh Hello! on Thursday, September 7th. [J.N.]
Having just wrapped a national tour off the back of his solo debut Teething (released in June), Port Mac ballader Brightness, aka Alex Knight, plays a pair of full-band shows at Bigsound 2017 — at the Black Bear Lodge on Wednesday, September 6th, and The Zoo on Thursday, September 7th. Expect Teething tracks, potentially alongside a selection of unreleased songs, with Knight revealing in a recent Rolling Stone interview that he’s already got a full album of new material written and demoed. [J.N.]
Brisbane-based folk-pop singer-songwriter — and December 2016 Future is Now feature artist — Clea Pratt celebrates her recently-released debut EP, Fairweather, with a set at The Foundry on Thursday, September 7th. She is also scheduled to play a secret afternoon show with Jess Locke and Jim Lawrie for pop-up venue initiative Parlour. [J.N.]
Laconic Brissy garage rockers Good Boy have already had a huge 2017 — touring with Skeggs, releasing a split 7″ with Jarrow and taking out the Queensland Music Award for Best Rock Song with “Poverty Line”. They come to their Bigsound showcase at The Brightside Outdoor Stage on Tuesday, September 5th armed with firey new politico-punk track “Fishing With a Shotgun”. [J.N.]
While hardly a newcomer (she’s been steadily self-releasing music since 2009, starting with demo In The Bedroom) Melbourne-based Jess Locke is currently prepping her spotlight moment, with new LP, Universe, due later this year via the Smith Street Band’s newly established Pool House Records. The album’s lead track, March’s infectious “Better/Bitter”, suggests a stronger pop-skewed focus for Locke’s sad-yet-sharp, self-described “overshare” songs. Expect Universe material alongside live favourites such as 2016’s “Paper Planes” at her Bigsound set at The Foundry on Thursday, September 7th; as well as at the aforementioned Parlour show with Clea and Jim Lawrie. [J.N.]
The strikingly powerful, near-hypnotic hip-hop fusion created by the mysterious sand hills women comes from “somewhere beyond just music”, as they told Rolling Stone for a recent Future Is Now feature. Having funded the trip from their hometown south of Tennant Creek to Brisbane via a successful Kickstarter campaign, the quartet will make the most of their voyage east, playing songs from their self-titled debut at three sets over two days — at The Elephant Hotel on Wednesday, 6th September, and a pair of events on Thursday, September 7th, an afternoon Ric’s Big Backyard alongside keynoter Archie Roach and later at Black Bear Lodge. [J.N.]
The Brisbane rapper’s feisty-yet-fluid songwriting has been making waves since last year, catching the attention of Salt-N-Pepa and the Ying Yang twins. She chased up the sexually-charged provocative one-two-three punch — “Fuck Real Slow”, “Drop It Low” and trunk-rattling “Clap Clap” — with the more electro-pop “Freq U” in July. Expect a swaggering, diverse set from the emerging queen of Aussie hip-hop when she plays a pair of Bigsound sets — at The Elephant Hotel on Wednesday, September 6th, and TheMusic.com.au Stage at The Flying Cock on Thursday, September 7th. [G.G.]
Following a pair of independently-released EPs — 2013’s Dichotomy and last year’s The Guilt and the Grief — Sydney metalcore quintet Polaris are set to display their mix of chugging guitars, brutal breakdowns and harsh/clean contrasting vocals at a headline set at 256 Wickham on Wednesday, September 6th. Expect plenty of previews of new material as well, with the band recently announcing their debut album, The Mortal Coil — led by thunderous new track “The Remedy” — is due November. [G.G.]
Wild Honey‘s sound — showcased on their 2015 self-titled debut EP — is built on laidback pop charm with subtle Sixties psychedelia. The Sydney quintet will kick off a short East Coast tour in support of infectious new single, “Messed Up”, with a pair of Bigsound gigs — opening at Themusic.com.au’s The Flying Cock stage on Tuesday, September 5th, and alongside Jess Locke, Clea and Peter Bibby at The Foundry on Thursday, September 7th. [G.G.]
Perth rapper Ziggy Ramo forms his unique style around a combination of politically-charged lyrics and catchy, clean-cut beats — with the occasional jarring synth thrown in. Ahead of a support slot on September’s Pharoah Monch tour, Ramo will showcase his latest work — including the unflinching “Black Face” and his unique, jazzed-up analysis of mental illness, the recently featured “Same Script” — at three separate Bigsound sets, playing with his full band at The Elephant Hotel at Tuesday, 5th September, and a pair of solo sets at Ric’s Big Backyard on Thursday, September 7th. [G.G.]