It’s Wednesday lunchtime at BIGSOUND and a near-capacity crowd at Ric’s Big Backyard is bathing under a glorious bright blue sky. Brisbane’s spring is turning it on, but that brilliance will soon pale compared to what’s about to hit the stage.
The BIGSOUND program describes Didirri as an alternative pop/folk artist. But that label does the man and his band no justice. Didirri’s songs carry a raw emotional honesty with a rarity for a songwriter who’s still only 22. I’m talking about the type of songs that allow one man and his guitar to go straight to your heart as your head swims in the delirious imagery his words invoke. The kind of songs that could be so easily be lost with an electric band in full flight behind them. But not this band. These guys are something else. The lead guitarist might pick up on a song’s musical motif and carry it into new sonic territory while the bass player bends the bottom end with some slide work but nothing is overplayed.
In the midst of it all Didirri stands with acoustic guitar in hand baring his musical soul and the crowd is transfixed. I overhear people murmuring comparisons from Neil Young to Jeff Buckley but all I can hear and see is an original artist and his band expressing themselves with an unbridled passion, lost in the moment. We may be bystanders witnessing magic as it unfolds, but we are still very much part of it.
As we bask in the sunshine the lush vegetated exterior of Cloudland with its cascading waterfall forms a backdrop to this incredible musical moment, taking this surreal experience to another level. It takes an exceptional performance to calm the schmoozing music industry types greasing the wheels of their networking opportunities, but something else again to leave them in gobsmacked awe. Didirri made his mark and branded us with something truly magnificent.