Sitting in a venue full of Australians, it suddenly dawned on me how very, very English I am. Sure, my music taste is a lot more Missy Higgins than Missy Elliott, but no amount of accent practice was going to make me properly fit in at The Aussie BBQ. A travelling musical showcase originally started by two Melbournians, this mini festival has become a SXSW staple and arrived in London following a well-received slot at The Great Escape in Brighton.
Despite my British woes, I quickly threw myself into the live music. First up was a surprise late addition: Israel Cannan. Being given the earliest slot meant that his crowd was a little on the small side, but Cannan entertained us nonetheless and certainly left a lasting impression for me at least. He filled the stage on his own with an intriguing jig that he liked to do before he threw himself into his music. I particularly enjoyed Blue and Let It Rain – the latter prompting a crowd discussion about the current warmer climate in London than in some parts of Australia. England 1 Australia 0.
Bonfire Nights were too electronic for my liking. Whilst The Touch, despite their impressive stage presence, left me undecided.
At 6pm, I took my position at the front of the music hall for Dan Parsons. He was the reason I was spending my Sunday afternoon stood in a room full of Australians, all clearly several years older than me, in Shoreditch. Opening with Run with Me, I immediately knew I’d made the right decision. On album Parsons is something special, live he’s simply incredible. Sure, I may have been the sole crowd member singing along to the tracks from his latest release, but I certainly wasn’t the only one enjoying it. Parsons, and his band of lookalikes, had me entranced until the closing notes of Firestarter with it apparent that they were all really enjoying performing – something that is often lost with mainstream acts in larger venues. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but this guy is definitely one to watch.
The event was meant to be showcasing everything Australia had to offer musically, so it came as no surprise that some artists weren’t particularly to my taste. I could easily make a weak pun on DZ Deathrays name (I actually did on my twitter) but let’s just say they weren’t to my taste. The Jezabels oozed energy with lead singer Hayley Mary’s dramatic dancing and huge vocal range failing to impress me as much as I thought they would. Clearly my opinion was not shared by everyone as the, by now full, crowd were totally consumed.
Little Red were more to my taste with Rock It seeing the entire audience jumping around the cramped music hall. Already well established in their homeland, Little Red play the kind of music that could easily be working its way up the UK charts sometime soon.
The Aussie BBQ – worth the trip? Definitely. It’s much cheaper than a flight across the world and it’s only gone and got me even more excited for my move to Melbourne next year. The Australian music scene has a lot to offer here in London too, even if it’s only a room full of natives who turn up to appreciate it.