Congratulations Brisbane, you bloody got it. The Queensland city found out this week that it will host the Olympics in 2032. It might be the smallest city by population to host it since 1952, but we know that Brisbane will make up for that in passion.
As per ABC, six years of planning by Queensland authorities came to a great conclusion this week as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced Brisbane as the host city, with a whopping 72 votes to five.
It might 12 years away but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited for it. With that in mind, we thought it’d be helpful to show you some of the finest music talent to hail from Brisbane and it was difficult to whittle this list down to just six!
One of Australia as a whole’s finest, The Go-Betweens were wonderful purveyors of the burgeoning jangle pop sound that blossomed both here and in New Zealand (check out the Dunedin Sound) in the 80’s. Led by singer-songwriters Robert Forster and Grant McLennan (who renowned music critic Robert Christgau once called “the greatest songwriting partnership working today”), the pair struck a delicate balance between sad and soft and hard and anxious, finding the bittersweet in-between. Their connection with their hometown was so strong that in 2010 a toll bridge was renamed the Go Between Bridge. That’s how you know you’ve made it.
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They were always going to be in this list, weren’t they? The Aussie alternative rock legends formed in Brisbane in 1989. Led by vocalist Bernard Fanning, their huge radio-friendly sound saw them land five number one ARIA albums in a row, from 1998’s Internationalist to 2009’s Golden Rule, a remarkable run of success. With 18 ARIA Awards, they lie behind only Silverchair for most wins. After breaking up in 2010, they got back together last year for One Night Only, a special livestream charity gig. Wouldn’t it be fitting to see them play Brisbane’s Olympics Opening Ceremony?
Indie pop outfit Cub Sport have been on a steady incline in their career since starting over a decade ago. Their latest album, 2020’s Like Nirvana, saw them earn their highest ARIA chart position to date, landing at number two. That led to them performing at the AFL Grand Final last year; don’t doubt them also having a role in the Olympics when they roll around. With widescreen pop flourishes and endless melodies, there’s a reason that Cub Sport are a festival favourite.
Brisbane had quite the fierce punk rock scene in the 70’s and none were better than The Saints. Their razor-sharp guitars and rowdy vocals were a match for anything the Ramones could muster in the U.S.. Their impact on punk rock is highlighted by the fact they were the first “punk” band outside of the U.S. to release a record with their debut single ‘(I’m) Stranded’ in September 1976. To mark the band’s contribution to Brisbane culture, there’s a mural on the city’s upper Roma Street, just around the corner from Club 76, where they rehearsed in their early days.
Violent Soho may have started in 2004 but their sound recalls the raucous grunge of 90’s predecessors such as Pixies and Nirvana. Their last two albums, 2016’s Waco and 2020’s Everything Is A-OK, both reached the top spot in the ARIA charts, as the band continue to grow. Loud and meaningful, unvarnished and unpretentious, they make rock music that deserves to be witnessed in a live setting.
The Goon Sax
Channelling the anxious spirit of the much-maligned dolewave scene from the early noughties, with a melodic panache that recalled the finest 80’s jangle pop, The Goon Sax are a band truly born from an Australian perspective (their name is derived ‘goon sack’, which really says it all). Their slacker style over three albums has seen them become critical favourites, both here and abroad. Oh, and Louis Forster just so happens to be the son of one Robert Forster, the co-founder of The Go-Betweens. Some families just have it all.