LOADED present Big White @ the Foundry, 15th July

It’s Friday night, I’m in the valley and it’s LOADED.  I quickly grab a couple slices of pizza to numb my starving stomach before filling up with cheap Sailor Jerrys later on. Tonight on the bill, Sydney’s Big White play the Foundry stage amongst a sea of dance-ready, hair slickin’, denim wearing punters. Hmm, or maybe that’s just me.

I second guess the half pizza once I make it up the stairs to the main stage. Unfortunately, due to my slowpoke Uber driver and my hunger for a slice of pie, I miss the first act.  But without much wait, my ears welcome the twangy-punk sound of Nick Nuisance & the Delinquents. Rocking an Ian Curtis-esque haircut, Mr. Nuisance himself rocks the guitar while providing deadpan Australiana vocals ala Courtney Barnett. This is especially true on their single Grocery Store, though their style turns to a darker side during Out of the Window. The Delinquents provide some great tunes to sway to like it’s 1979.

I’m slightly outraged with the pricing of Sailor Jerry’s tonight. What used to be pocket change pricing has now forced me to break a tenner’. Nonetheless, I grab one as the next artist makes the stage.

Anyone who’s been around the Brisbane scene long enough to remember when Labor was in Government would have heard or seen Major Leagues. I’m pleased to recognise Pool Shop, the moniker of Jaimee Fryer of Major Leagues fame, as she makes the stage. Armed with a lone guitar, Fryer begins dreamy pop songs that I picture on the soundtrack to the next season of Twin Peaks. There’s a calmness to the music that contrasts nicely against the punky attitude of Nick Nuisance. Fryer has some devoted fans who line the front of the crowd, staring up to her as her shoe-gazey tunes float through the beer stained air. It’s a beauty listening to Pool Shop live, especially her new single How Long. Fryer has the ability to sweep you off your feet with her melodies and hold you steadily as you drift off to a dreamy abyss.

Headliners Big White finally make the stage as the clock strikes a little before eleven. The five piece nest comfortably on the stage as they begin with twangy guitars and a bopping bass line. I immediately get a sense of 80s new wave bands as the vocals and guitar lines take on an aura of the Go Betweens. The synth in the background holds steady chords as the jangly guitars play off each other. Each guitar possess a unique sound that differentiates it against the others, but still hold the similar 80s inspired twang. Many of the band members share the vocals, each taking their respected song. It’s clear Big White are inspired by the 80s bands that defined the generation; I hear the Cure, the Go Betweens and a little bit of Talking Heads for good measure. The band play my personal favourite, Whatever Happens in the Night, towards the end of their set.  The track pays musical homage to the bands I mentioned, but doesn’t just act as a tribute. Big White make it their own with passionate vocals and a catchy as hell guitar riff; I could see it on the track list for the Breakfast Club.

For a night I am transported back to an era of perms, shoulder pads and denim jackets; an era of punks, dreamers and hipsters. This month’s LOADED captured a generation within a handful of bands, each showcasing something special on stage. As I leave the Foundry, I flick my shades on, throw my trench coat around me and raise my fist firmly in the air.

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