With impending lockout changes that could cripple the live music landscape in Brisbane, locals were more than ready for a big night- and The Blurst of Times Festival certainly delivered.
Showcasing a thoughtfully curated selection of 24 Brisbane and Australia’s top rock, indie, and alternative artists, Blurst went down across three of Fortitude Valley’s best-loved music venues; The Brightside (and its convenient carpark), The Zoo, and The Foundry.
Kicking things off across all four stages were a host of local groups including These Guy, Ciggy Pop, and alternative favourites Deafcult. Josh Coxon of These Guy returned to the stage for his solo project, Simi Lacroix, and delivered a highly charged set of postmodern dance tracks and electro ballads. With personal and musical style straight out of a John Hughes movie, Simi Lacroix was wildly enjoyable (microphone trick blunders aside), and echoed the nonchalant, effortlessly cool tone of The Blurst of Times perfectly.
The Lulu Raes graced the stage next as Sydney’s answer to Britpop- an extremely tight and well constructed pop/rock group that had The Zoo packed and grooving. With driving percussion lines and genuine warmth, their performance was entirely happiness-inducing. Elements of varying styles including ska, polka, and R ’n’ B show a deftness of writing that explains the infectious nature of The Lulu Raes’ set.
Twin Haus and The Goon Sax, playing The Brightside Carpark and The Zoo respectively, are two great Brisbane acts that are at different stages of their progression- Twin Haus demonstrated an incredible evolution since their first gigs three or four years ago, and performed as a deservingly confident band with an intricately layered, noise-filled set.
The Goon Sax, on the other hand, are a fresh-faced group who demonstrated an overt confidence that tread a line dangerously close to blasé. Their honest lyrics (best demonstrated in opener and title track of their recently released album “Up to Anything”) and endearing melodies made for an enjoyable set nonetheless- it’ll be interesting to chart their development.
Back in the carpark, Methyl Ethel were one of the most-hyped groups of the night. Opening with some seriously dense noise followed by ‘Shadowboxing’ and ‘Idée Fixe’, the Perth trio radiated an on-stage coolness that matches their sound. Methyl Ethel’s set showcased a range of sounds and styles that differed hugely but ultimately combined in a state of intriguing synergy. The kingpin of their set was vocalist Jake Webb’s voice- it’s eerie and crisp and homogenised their sound perfectly, presented best in the ebbs and flows of crowd favourite “Twilight Driving”.
As the evening progressed, heaviness ensued across stages- Sydney’s Endless Heights contained their melodic hardcore inside at The Brightside, while up the road locals WAAX took to the stage at The Zoo.
[include_post id=”471667″]Regulars on lineups across Brissie, WAAX never fail to deliver a lively, technically impressive set and their contribution to The Blurst of Times was no exception. Frontwoman Marie Devita is captivating- part Karen O, part Patience Hodgson, part Deborah Harry and 100% entertaining.
Electric single ‘Wisdom Teeth’ drew a huge crowd response and even saw a 7ft tall punter risk his admission for the fleeting thrill of crowdsurfing… WAAX are one of Brisbane’s best live bands, entirely giving of their energy and skill.
Keeping the solid run of Aussie rock going, Bad//Dreems took their groovy bass lines, catchy melodies, and thoroughly shootable lyrics to the carpark. “Paradise” was evidently a fan favourite amongst a set of great songs, interspersed with football chants- “There’s only one Tony Lockett!”- that are the perfect example of Bad//Dreems’ charming roughness.
The John Steel Singers and Polish Club delivered equally captivating and infectious sets. TJSS set was lively and gleeful, and included cameos from members of Youth Allowance, Major Leagues, and Rolls Bayce. With their matching shirts and declaration that they were “very happy to play a festival with a lineup as good as this,”, TJSS imparted a timeless charm on their lucky crowd.
Over at Polish Club, the energy was turned up more than a few notches with soulful pop/blues that had The Brightside feeling like a good old fashioned barn dance. Closing track “Able” was a highlight- soulful, raw and imploring, and rounded off a set full of great drum hooks, killer vocals, and commanding songwriting. Polish Club delivered the sort of set that never goes out of style.
As the crowd surged into the already-packed carpark for Dune Rats, the energy was palpable for the hometown headliners. It’s bold to cover ‘Blister In The Sun’ but Dunies pulled it off, heightened with hand claps all around and a sizeable flock of inflatable animals making their way around the crowd.
Over at The Foundry, Kirin J. Calling was rounding off the night for those who lasted to the end, and opened with a new track- an electro-inspired, noise filled trope into house music that had fans pretty excited. With an extremely bass-heavy, pressing set, Kirin J. Calling is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but for the late-night Blurst attendees he seemed to hit the spot.
Any event that sees Fortitude Valley’s streets and venues filled with music fans is a good one, and The Blurst of Times was a particularly solid example of a great night out. A quality driven lineup, easygoing artists and crowds, and all-around good feelings will surely leave Southerners hoping for Blurst to migrate down the coast again.