These 5 BIGSOUND acts will excite you about the future of music

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I saw 43 bands this week. I want to see these five again right now.

BIGSOUND is a feast of music. It’s the only way to describe it. With 150 bands playing sets throughout Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley over just a few nights, it’s an intense experience.

It's no longer just about the music industry, either. Anyone can rock up and take their pick of amazing artists, and just about everyone leaves with a new favourite act. 

The trickiest thing about BIGSOUND in the past few years has been the high standard of the artists on show. When everyone is good, it makes it really hard to pick a few favourites.

But there are always a couple of acts that just slap you across the face with their show, and these five did that for me. They’ll do it for you too; try and check them out when they’re next in your town.

Carla Geneve  


I wasn’t sure if I’d get a chance to see this West Australian singer-songwriter as her sets always clashed with other things I wanted to see. But I squeezed into a tiny room with a couple of hundred others to witness one of the most fierce shows of the year at BIGSOUND on Wednesday night and I’m so glad I did.

Carla Geneve is an amazing vocalist, guitarist and songwriter. Her band are strong and powerful, but never get in her way. She has amazing stage presence. She has to be big.

She has a little of the same spirit as Mia Dyson, and a little of that of Stella Donnelly, with shades of disaffected, mid-late 90s alt-rock for good measure. A seriously smart songwriter and a seriously exciting performer.



Every year I keep a little list of the new songs I’ve loved since the beginning of January, mainly to make the always difficult Hottest 100 voting a process a little less painful.

Thando currently takes up three spots on my list for 2018.

Her show at the Double J BIGSOUND party was not the first time I’ve seen her, but it was the first time I’d seen her with a big and captive audience. She absolutely brought the room to a standstill with the power of her voice. She was operating on a higher level and, when she sang, she brought us up to that level with her.

This was such a beautiful, soul-nourishing performance and Thando’s openness about her anxiety just brought us closer to her. No matter where her career goes, this woman is going to do amazing things.

I’ve written a lot about her this year. Her show at BIGSOUND made me realise I probably won’t stop doing so any time soon.



Striking the balance between true poetic artistry and making music all about having a good time is really tricky. Nardean makes it seem easy though.

She’s a brilliant writer, singer and rapper, and seeing her live was assuring proof that she brings every bit of that talent – and more – to the stage when she performs.

The way in which she engages with her backing singers and the freeness with which they move along with the music breaks down any tension, Nardean wants to bring us along with her as she spits her stories with such finesse.

A. Swayze & the Ghosts


An unhinged rock’n’roll party band from Tasmania that are a very important reminder that garage rock is still the best style of music when it’s done well. They are rough and heavy and a whole lot of fun, and their songs are killer as well.

Frontman Andrew Swayze is loose in all the right ways and he stirred up massive crowds at both of their official showcases; flailing about the stage – and into the crowd – with mania, but didn’t let it affect the quality of the performance.

They’re pretty much ready to dominate, all they need is for you to fall in love with them.

Sweater Curse


I’ve been looking for an excuse to write about this Brisbane trio for years now. Their brand of indie rock is equal parts impassioned and unaffected, both in precisely the right ways. They channel the best noisy guitar rock of the 90s and retrofit it to work in today’s more complex and diverse music landscape.

They’ll have their debut EP out soon, and it’s great, but don’t wait for it. Get lost in their washy, noisy, melodic beauty when they play their next live show in your area. It’s where this music always lives its best life.

At this point in time I don't feel like seeing another band ever again. But if any of the above were to put on a last minute show tonight, I'm not sure I'd be able to help myself...