Reviewed by Jack Smith
Image Credit: Big Splash
The Big Splash is an annual, West Australian band competition which seeks out the best musical talent that Perth has to offer and rewards them with a $10 000 cash prize. The event has been running since 2013 thanks to the donations and work by melophiles; Andrew Ryan and Maria Florides. Heat 5 of this year’s comp took place at a packed out Mojos in Fremantle.
Starting the night off and making their live performance debut, Beach Aunty played their feel-good, indie pop ohrwurm ‘East Coast Acid Rain’. It’s the sort of track that makes you want to go for a relaxing coastal drive, and I hate the beach, I even hate being near the beach. It’s that good. Beach Aunty displayed impressive vocal and stylistic range, including a semi-swoony love song which doesn’t take itself too seriously and manages to avoid sounding trite. They really had great onstage chemistry, especially for first time performers, you get the sense they are playing to each other as much as they’re playing for the crowd. These guys put on a great show and are the up-and-comers to be keeping an eye on.
Indie rock outfit Bliss in Berlin were next to grace the stage, and it didn’t take long for them to get the crowd on their side. With their tick-tock, metronome chorus chords, alternating crescendo/diminuendo guitar progressions and anthemic lyrics. Soon enough communal head-bopping and group-stomp ensued. They have a very casual playing style but still manage to energise a crowd, by the closing song the atmosphere in the room was something akin to a tribal rain dance. I’ve never actually been to a tribal rain dance, but if I ever do, I’m sure it’ll remind me of a Bliss in Berlin set.
Valdaway provided a return to the classic rock sound, with Bon Jovi inspired mic movements, vocal chords being stretched to falsetto and drum skins being beaten like the French in a war. A lot happened over the space of five songs. There was a rock n roll version of a grand jeté. An amp became a climbing frame. There was a song about Tinder. But best of all; a catastrophically inebriated lady crashed the stage and made noise with her mouth (singing doesn’t quite describe the sound accurately). Valdaway cheerfully took the interruption in their stride and finished an energetic and very entertaining show.
Performing in Perth for the first time since their 2014 European tour, psychedelic-rock troupe The High Learys took a bit of a risk by debuting some new tracks, including their upcoming single ‘Letters to Alice’. They also played Learys’ fans favourite ‘Clear My Mind’ and my favourite Learys song to date, previously unheard; ‘Lead My Mind Astray’. Their undying efforts to keep the Mod spirit, style and sound alive and charismatic stage presence proved to be enough to win over the judges. The risk evidently paid off as The High Learys were announced as Heat 5 winners and will go on to the semi-finals, taking one step closer to the $10 000 cash prize. In the true spirit of Rock n Roll, the guys have very generously promised that the money will be put towards cocaine and hookers. If that isn’t a noble use of the money, then I don’t know what is.
Check out TheBigSplash website for all information on upcoming Heats and help support your local talent. If you don’t care about local musical talent, but do enjoy facial hair, then go to witness The Big Splash compère ‘Magnus Danger Magnus’ and his immaculately groomed moustache.