It’s BIGSOUND season again, and my humble home of Brisbane is ready to prove that we can do urban pretentiousness as well as the other east coast heavy hitters. We have a gluten-free brownie shop, those fucking donut milkshakes and even a cat cafe – because, shut up. More relevant to the swarm of music journos and broke-as artists about to descend on our fair city is that Fortitude Valley, home of the BIGSOUND conference, has a tobacco shop three doors down from Maccas – and at least two pubs where you won’t be the first person to order a drink at 9am.
Our relative smallness certainly hasn’t restricted our output when it comes to musical talent, it just makes the scene…well, a little incestuous. This has more of a talent incubating effect than birthing bands with mutant third limbs. Although there are plenty of great venues spread across the city and its suburbs, there’s no denying the few seedy blocks of the ‘Valley’ contain the city’s most well-loved live music institutions.
We gathered some Brisbane bands on this year’s BIGSOUND bill to share some stories – the first from Babaganouj drummer Jack Gleeson.
Jack: I used to be in a band which for anonymities sake, we will call ‘Inland Twee’.
We had been offered a coveted spot on the Big Sound 2011 Lineup, which featured legends like Big Scary, DZ Deathrays, and Ball Park Music. I was pretty pumped, because our manager at the time told us this was a pretty important opportunity for like, the band and whateverblahblahblah. I guess she was right because we ended up touring the UK soon after, but eh who is keeping score anyway?
To keep it short and sweet (I lie, this is a longwinded piece of shit), I don’t fully remember the show, but we played a gig hotter and sweatier than the dreadlocked armpit hair of a JBT roadie. Playing Brisbane in summer can be a test of endurance, akin to the Bridge To Brisbane or listening to the Veronicas discography. Thankfully it was mid-September. I’m sure the gig went well regardless.
During the course of the next three days of debauchery/networking, 7 of the 10 people in our ridiculous band, proceeded to drink so heavily that guitarist Beau, our resident ‘wild man’ had to be sat down and told to “rein that shit in” cause he was just “grabbin’ chicks”. Claire fell over in front of Cloudland resulting in an amount of bruises usually exhibited by the entirety of a roller-derby team post grand-final. A few of the Inland Twee-team even managed to seriously jeopardize long-term relationships! Severe bruising, a troubled gait and relationship turmoil – as history attests – continue to be the hallmarks of a good time. It was truly, freaking wonderful.
To fellow fans and musicians:
BIGSOUND is like being tossed into a churning sea of beer, basic spirits, and some exotic shot of liqueur you didn’t ask for. You’re swimming for your life among the drunk musicians, drunk fans, and drunk industry types and the regular Valley locals we know and love (shout out to the guy outside the old Westpac building who just constantly shreds). You’ve just gotta catch the party-wave back home in time to get a reasonable enough sleep to get to work on Friday. Which of course never happens, and the next three days post-BIGSOUND are a total write-off.
Babaganouj will kick off BIGSOUND debauchery at The Elephant Hotel’s outdoor stage on Wednesday, September 9th.
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