The traditional crushing hangovers of day two did nothing to diminish the quality of the performances across Bigsound's stages.
The conference kicked off with a keynote talk by Speedy Ortiz front woman Sadie Dupuis who highlighted the need for correcting the gender imbalance in rock to allow for a 50-50 female-fronted band ratios at festivals. Luckily for Bigsound's booking team, they've managed to smash their quotas this year with more female-led acts than we've ever seen at the conference.
Other highlights included a fascinating discussion between the power players in Aussie music, APRA boss Brett Cottle, ARIA's Dan Rosen, Triple J's Chris Scaddan, and UK 4AD A&R Director Jane Abernethy and WIN CEO Alison Wenham, shedding light on the way royalties are distributed in a post-physical world. We had a look at the first ever Bigsound tech presentations from some impressive Aussie start-ups, and there was also an inspiring discussion on Gender in Music that led perfectly into another night of music dominated by female performers.
The Levi's Bigsound party at the Brightside Outdoor stage delivered buzzy sets by Ruby Fields, Winston Surfshirt, Maddy Jane and Hockey Dad, carrying past sunset and delivering us back indoors for a sultry set from Exhibitionist (AKA Sydney muso Kirsty Tickle).
Over at Crowbar, a young crowd were enjoying the undeniable thrill of loud/soft dynamics, thrashing hair and fuzz pedals served up by the ludicrously named Dear Seattle (they were a lot of fun, and had Violent Soho members there to watch them). Over at the Elephant Hotel new EMI artist Odette held court with her huge voice and infectious bangers while NZ artist October served up impressive drama and catchy electro art-pop at the Ric's Big Backyard. There was plenty of buzz surrounding Melbourne punks Press Club, and they didn't disappoint, with firebrand frontwoman Natalie Foster proving she has one of the strongest set of pipes that we've heard in a while. Our night ended with Belle Haven, who charged through a spirited, if not very original set of aggressive post-punk, that shouldn't have seemed as polite as it did.
All photos by Matt Coyte.