Pop quiz, round one – where will you be come May 30th? If your answer was anything but “Why, the Big Pineapple Festival of course”, then I’m sorry to have to tell you, but you’re making a big mistake. Hold on! There’s still hope, friend. We’re a public spirited bunch around these parts, and I consider it a high holy duty to get you clued in. The festival, which takes place in the shadow of Queensland’s finest tourist attraction, is now in its third year of delivering high-quality tunes, and its rapid growth has seen this year’s festival move across the road in order to ramp up the size of both the stages and the camping grounds. Well that’s dandy, but what about the music?
The Big Pineapple Festival is back for round three! Bigger and bolder than ever the line up is a delicious slice of Aussie music. Here’s 6 you can’t miss.
My personal pick, if only for pure goofball charm, has to be Dune Rats. Their vibe is resolutely casual, but the performances are tight, with a muscular yet slippery groove beneath widescreen guitar tones. Make sure to check out the sizzling Dalai Lama Big Banana Marijuana, a track whose lyrics consist solely of the song’s title repeated for some two and a half minutes, getting somehow funnier each time.
Karl S Williams
Those more inclined to the earnest and soulful might gravitate more the tunes of Karl S Williams. With a distinctively tremulous and reedy vocal delivered over spare arrangements of banjo, acoustic guitar and keys, Williams’ tunes will surely bring a touch of the rustic to the festival this year. If you’re looking for a pre-gig primer then check out his 2013 debut Heartwood for more backwoods melodicism.
At the other end of the spectrum lie the Belligerents. This five-piece Brisbane-based dance band boasts a propulsive, rhythm-driven sound that neatly blends crisp indie guitars and cloudy synths. Hopping between rolling melodies and stabbing bursts of crystalline guitar figures, the boys’ tunes can be found spread out over a couple of EPs, with some of their best work being found on their latest, She Calls The Shots.
But maybe you want it all; rootsy twang, raucous fuzz and a danceable beat. That’s a tall order, but I think we can handle it. What you need is some Dallas Frasca. With several albums under their belt, this Melbourne riff rock trio is fully formed and sports a tight, dextrous sound that screams ‘killer live act’. After a couple of years break between drinks, the gang has just brought out a new record, Love Army. If you’re planning on belting out some accompaniment during their set, you’d best get listening now.
The Dawn Chorus
Similarly nimble-fingered are the boys from the Dawn Chorus, a Queensland five-piece. Coming across like a jazzier Vampire Weekend, with lush horns and an even more pronounced Paul Simon obsession, the band nevertheless has its own distinctive warm, open sound that contrasts well with the members’ tight instrumental interplay. Throw on top of this a low-key but tuneful lead vocal fleshed out with bright harmonies, and you’ve got yourself the perfect sunny-afternoon sound.
Of course I’d be derelict in my duties if I didn’t bring up Sahara Beck. Truly well-crafted tunes are uncommon enough as it is, so to hear them coming from an 18 year old is doubly rare. Her latest release is the Bloom EP, which came out late last year and features the rippling tones of Brother Sister, a confident composition that veers between intimate acoustic folk and pounding, quasi-choral arrangements. It’s a hearty musical brew, and one well worth checking out while you’re doing the rounds.
Well if that hasn’t swung you, I don’t know what will. The line-up is tight for this year’s Big Pineapple Festival, and those in the know are already setting their sights on the giant fruit. Watch that calendar, friends, you’ll find that May 30th can’t come soon enough.