International showcase round three for me was the Aussie BBQ at the Delancey, a favorite stop for many CMJ attendees, which was obvious by the slew of people crammed into the upstairs lounge watching Big Scary perform during one of the final upstairs slots of the day.
The male-female duo from Melbourne brings back memories of the White Stripes, going bass-less and relying on only drums, guitar, and occasionally keys to produce their indie-rock sound. Singer Tom Iansek has great range in his vocals, from his well-controlled powerful upper register to his softer side which is often backed by bandmate Joanne Syme’s breathless intonation, creating a hauntingly beautiful sound, especially apparent in “Leaving Home”. Don’t let that breathlessness fool you though, Syme plays hard on the drums, with her beat in “Purple” garnering its own set of applause.
The wear and tear of the week of festival madness was definitely showing later on in the evening, as a slew of technical difficulties were visibly frustrating some bands performing downstairs. Some relief came in the form of the High Highs who, despite some technical difficulties themselves, namely something wonky with keyboardist Oli Chang’s Macbook, made the most of what was left of their 25 minute set. They only managed to squeeze four songs into their “minimal” set, but they were a lovely, dreamy, sweet four songs. Jack Milas‘ falsetto voice lives up to the title “weapon of mass emotional destruction,” as he melted hearts during set opener “Open Season.” Not to mention they had twinkling lights, and as we all know, twinkling lights make everything better.
By the end of their set, the tiny basement space was crammed full. The new crowd seemed to have brought with them a second wind,as people starting to yell things out more regularly (“Take your top off, you did it before!”), clap a little louder, and sway with a bit more enthusiasm. Someone even brought bubbles. Weird.
The Aussie BBQ was the perfect way to cap off to a crazy five days, with just enough action to keep the festival feeling up without draining even more of everyone’s already low energy. Now, please excuse me while I go sleep for a month.
Photos by Maverick Inman