Friday saw the beginning of the Independent Music Project’s (IMP) Eleven compilation album launch take place in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall. The compilation is made up of some of the best tracks recorded during the IMP’s 2012 100 songs project which has now been renamed the Indie 100. The album highlights 11 of Brisbane’s finest local talent and is an eclectic mix of folk, indie pop, indie rock and alternate rock which truly gets the senses going. The first of 3 days saw O’Little Sister, Jackson James Smith & Jakarta Criers perform a couple of sets to the hustle and bustle of our busy little city.
There’s something about Queen Street Mall that upsets me a little when it comes to live music. City Sounds are doing a wonderful job supporting the music industry by bringing live music to locals every weekend, but yet I still feel a little uneasy by the locations made available for those to perform and express their talents. Quite frankly, the outdoor mall doesn’t exactly have prime positions for full exposure unless you’re considered important enough to perform on the Myer Main stage. In saying this though, a place to play with decent sound is definitely better than having no place at all.
Tucked away behind the Italian restaurant Milano, across the way from the Treasury Casino I settled in to watch O’Little Sister strum away at her guitar and sing her sweet little indie pop/ folk tunes. Despite the chaos of the 4:30pm rush hour she still managed to draw me in and make me forget about where I was and just how chaotic the world was around me. She was joined by, local Brisbane talent and special guest to the album launch, Meredith for a few songs to sing back up vocals. This combination of beautiful toned voices brought a sudden warmth over me, like a snuggly warm blanket or long awaited hug. O’Little Sister pours her heart out through the lyrics she writes, they’re truthful and filled with emotion, exactly the way I like artists to be. She finished her set with a wonderful acoustic cover of Coldplay’s ‘Til Kingdom Come’ which is the hidden track featured on their album X&Y. The highlight of her set would have to have been seeing her perform an acoustic version of ‘Ready for This’ featuring the lovely Meredith which features on Eleven.
Following O’Little Sister, Gold Coast singer songwriter Jackson James Smith took to the microphone. Now this was when I truly realized just how unfair some of the locations musicians have to play in Queen Street Mall actually are. At Milano for example, it faces a walk way and performers basically have to fight to get people to just stop and take a few minutes out of their day to listen. This is hard to see when someone so talented doesn’t get given the time of day like they deserve. It might have just been the time of day I saw him perform, but as soon as I noticed this I tweeted the lovely girls from Willow Wood Music to share his music and hopefully spread the love for a young guy who’s sound is absolutely incredible. Jackson James Smith is basically a light haired Matt Corby… except Jackson is better looking and sounds 10 times better. His vocals are as smooth as butter which just melt away into the air. He played an acoustic cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ which was absolutely swoon worthy and he also nailed a cover of Matt Corby’s track ‘My False Cover’. Don’t be scared away by the mention of him playing a couple of covers, Jackson has a huge back catalogue of his own originals available via his youtube channel JacksonJamesSmith. Highlights of his set would have to be seeing a little toddler dance away to his songs, seeing the occasional young lady stop just to check him out and hearing him sing ‘Little By Little’ one of my personal faves.
The final act for the evening that I checked out was Jakarta Criers who were performing behind the Visitor Information Centre. I’ve heard them mentioned a few times by a friend over the past 12 months but had never really taken the time out to have a listen to their music. They’ve had airtime on both Triple J Unearthed and on Triple J, have a decent size fan base for an “undiscovered” band and certainly are a talented bunch. However, I’m not exactly in Jakarta Criers audience demographic so to begin with I was a bit skeptical about fully embracing these boys and their sound. They’ve got a super chilled vibe about them. This was proved to me when I noticed their lead guitarist Seaton had rocked up in thongs then started playing the set barefoot and by their sound being of the laid-back indie rock nature. I am a fan of indie rock however for me to really dig a band within this genre there normally has to be something special about them. Despite my original skepticism, Jakarta Criers definitely proved themselves to be something special. Besides falling in love with their track ‘Watchtower Birds’ (which appears on Eleven) their special 3 in 1 cover absolutely blew my mind. If my notes I scrawled down quickly on the night are correct the song contained Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’ and The Offspring’s ‘Gone Away’. This was absolute perfection – three killer songs turned into one.
Friday was definitely a great start to the Independent Music Project’s Eleven album launch. Please stay tuned to read more about days 2 & 3 coming soon to MTM.