Australia’s primo music conference has entrenched itself in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and those who pull the strings (and those who think they do) of the industry slide from one venue to the next looking for opportunities. The daytime schedule is dominated by keynote speakers, deliberating panels on industry topics and workshops for musicians, managers and marketeers. The parties are underway by lunchtime fuelled by free beer and live music. I walk down the street and a freakish looking dude wearing knee length socks, sluggos and a cape hurtles by on roller skates with a ghetto blaster on his shoulder. People cheer Super Boom Box Man but he’s gone in a flash and I doubt that he cares.
By night the precinct throbs as music fans join the throng scampering between gigs hoping to get blown away in their quest to find the Next Big Thing. Words are exchanged amid askew glances as rumours become a buzz around a must see act that’s just torn a club to shreds. I walk down Brunswick Street Mall where a temporary dance party venue has been created fenced off by white pickets. A DJ works from a caravan with a bar set up beside him. The crowd jumps in time to the thumping beat as a young girl decides to expose her ample cleavage with strategically placed nipple glitter for her friends. Clearly this isn’t Joh’s country anymore.
By the end of the night eardrums are bleeding and heads shaking in wonder as even jaded decibel warriors are gibbering like loons hyper driven by their noxious intake.
In the end it’s the verbal exchanges that become the currency of reputations and debate, from the utterances on stage to the schmoozing between sets and the bullshit exchanges that meant stuff all – here’s a taste of what went down at BIGSOUND:
“I’ll be everywhere, as will you.”
“I know where I’m going, but I’ve no idea where it is.”
“Ritchie Yorke was a veteran cosmic rocker. He was also a hoarder culturalist.”
“My wife detests this song but she’s not here tonight so I’m going to dedicate it to her.”
“I tried to write love songs but they came out all sick. This one’s called Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die.”
“I’m only playing new stuff, so if you came for hits just fuck off.”
IMAGE: Whalehouse at BIGSOUND Festival 2017 (c) Nadia Achilles