The second day of the conference was a mix of interesting talks related to the industry with more practical panels and talks which gave attendees skills to apply to their industry practice. More serious panels like Capital Raising & Financial Sustainability were counteracted with Alison Wenham‘s Mini Keynote The State of the Independent Nation. CEO of WIN (World Independent Network), Wenham explained the growing market share of independent record labels which currently hold a 37.5% market share with major labels and discussed how new technologies are making it easier for the right artist and company to get paid. A positive message in an industry where globalisation has lead to a worry about the health of independent record labels and the ability for them to compete with multinationals.
The most fascinating talk of the day, however, was Lucy Wood’s Audience Behaviour and Sociology. Wood’s study was to see whether there has been an increase in annoying behaviours such as talking and using a smartphone at gigs and how these impact the experience of attendees. Although her study was relatively limited in scope, she did discover some interesting things. One example was that the data showed that women tended to talk and dance more at gigs. Woods concluded that one reason for that may be that disproportionate ability to gain cultural capital through gig attendance and therefore, they tended to enjoy the music with more physical enthusiasm. Male attendees were more likely to nod along and stand still, which can be read as an indication of experiencing the more music in a more cerebral and therefore meaningful manner, behaviour which was also found to be higher in people of the more privileged socioeconomic status. Phone use, however, did not seem to be any more prevalent across genders yet unsurprisingly more common in younger punters. She also found that this behaviour does not seem to be as prevalent as media would make out, but rather Wood guesses that it simply has a greater impact on the gig goers, so it’s more noticeable and memorable. Wood’s study took place in London and it would be interesting to see how behaviour compares in Australia.
After all the panels and talks, there were plenty of mixers and parties to attend before the highlight of the evening started; the festival showcases. Here’s my pick of the final night artists.
After hearing the buzz around her first showcase performance, there was no way I was missing Miss Blanks on the final night of the festival. Miss Blanks is a commanding force with rousing trap beats and powerful lines which transfer into an incredible live performance. Inviting no less than five other rappers and hype ladies on stage, it wasn’t hard to see why she was allowed to go way over time. This Brisbane local is just another example of our impressive homegrown hip hop talent and obviously destined to make very big waves.
Part of the suite of Western Australian bands on the lineup for this year, Dream Rimmy creates delightful dream indie pop tunes which were a welcome respite amongst the more dramatic acts on this lineup. Squeezing their many members onto the tiny stage at The Empire only aided to showcase this band’s approachable personalities. With elements of shoegaze, ambient and post rock, their brand of dream pop is sure to attract a lot of fans.
The hilariously sensual Donny Benét turned the usually relaxed and demure Black Bear Lodge into a surreal dance den. Dressed in a red power suit and singing to triggered funk and disco inspired grooves, this Melbournite shows that he has more to offer than just being a silly time. His dedication to aesthetics is something to be admired but his great dance rhythms are most certainly able to be enjoyed without revelling in the generous amounts of cheese.
The punk/heavy rock component of the BIGSOUND lineup was somewhat lacking in energy and impact, yet there was one major exception, which was Melbourne’s Press Club. Walking the fine line between power and polish, Press Club smashed out a procession of anthemic and angry songs. Their short, sharp tunes are a true pallet cleanser and at the Brightside Outside Stage, they showed that they can certainly deliver that impact live.
It’s an achievement for a fully instrumental act to receive such triplej popularity but sleepmakeswaves awe-inspiring performance showed why. Their progressive post-rock is atmospheric, intricate and all encompassing. While there is no denying that their recorded music is incredible, these Sydneysiders are best experienced live. It is not hard to imagine their performance gracing large venues shortly, so catch them while the crowd numbers are under the thousands.