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The Big Splash Grand Final

Hideous Sun Demon, cheque mate! – Pic by Daniel Grant

The Bakery
Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Big Splash band competition has come and gone for another year, with a huge night at The Bakery on Saturday seeing Hideous Sun Demon taking out first place for 2014.

That means the band walked of with a giant cheque for $10,000 from Big Splash co-director, Maria Florides, which the band will use for mastering, CD/vinyl printing, shipping and promotion of their forthcoming debut LP, Sweat.

Second place were Pat Chow, who receive $2,000 worth of audio recording, video production, photo shoot and private function (hold private gig up to 70 guests) courtesy of Yo Yo Studios.

Third Place were Dream Rimmy, who receive $1,000 worth of goods thanks to Kosmic Sound.

The Enchantment Award (for the whole competition) went to Old Blood, who also performed on the night. They will now perform at The Beaufort Street Festival, courtesy of Jump Climp.

It started a little quietly, but the fire certainly built as Kitchen People unloaded with the opening set. It was an upbeat half-hour full of banter pertaining to dodgy guitar straps, misread setlists and anything/everything/nothing, but it was a hell of a way to open the night, given the punk/pop vibrancy that recalled the older school Ramones, Buzzcocks and garage tones that pervaded and the sheer joy with which they were performed. Singer, guitarist, Jake Suriano, would appear later in the night as bassist for Hideous Sun Demon, while for bassist Vin Buchanan this was just the first of several appearances for the evening. (Key set moment – Suriano: ‘This is our second last song’. Heckler: ‘One more!’ Suriano: ‘Sorry, there’s two more’).

Pat Chow came into this Grand Final pretty much as the ones to beat. They inspired plenty of frenzied action at the front, the more physical kind of stuff you’d see more often at gigs of yore. Example – I’ve not seen push-ups so enthusiastically exercised on a dancefloor since The Externals used to invite their SAS mates to gigs at the Swanbourne Hotel in the late ‘90s. Anyways, this trio combine delicious hooks with killer playing and are simply in command of what they do. You can cherrypick what ‘90s alt-rock influences might be in there, but singer/guitarist, Ben Protasiewicz, has removed the wheels from that cherrypicker and designed a new car. The wheels are the same, but this is the model for now. It was a balance of freneticism and rolling waves. Then they had to leave and do it all over again at Amplifier, supporting Emperors.

Dream Rimmy were an antidote to the rest of the evening’s harder-edged moments, even if Vin Buchanan (keyboards) was in most of the bands. With the name in mind, they were dreamy, yet driving. The songs unveiled on a musical storyline even beyond any lyrics. Singer/guitarist, Ali Flintoff, seemed in bliss with the band’s music and it’s hard not to fall into the band’s psych-rock magnet charm (even with a fill-in bassist). Later in the set a song called Spring Break took things to poppier climes, before Sunshine brought a baggy Brit feels to the psychedelics.

For mine, it seemed that Pat Chow were still looking hard to beat, but then Hideous Sun Demon took to the stage, this time with Vin Buchanan in the role of singer/guitarist, and yes, he kicked arse at that too. HDS are harder to pin musically, there’s a punk spirit with some really interesting rock deconstruction going on. They are an animated band with Buchanan out front as a bona fide showman, shouting ‘Shut up!’ in shouty chorus providing a delicious irony. Crowdsurfing greeted their performance throughout, with Dream Rimmy drummer George Foster, roadie-surfing to the front of the stage to fix a microphone stand indicating what kind of camaraderie is present in The Big Splash competition. We know who won. Music was the winner. And Hideous Sun Demon. Oh, and Vin Buchanan. He may have been in three of the bands, but it took half a dozen sets of independent judging panels for these bands to get there. Nothing wrong with doin’ things right.







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