Live Reviews

Live Review – Big Scary + Jonsi – Ormond Hall (11.07.14)

Big Scary

Big Scary

Big Scary returned home to Melbourne after three months touring the U.S promoting their album No Art, and they played one final show for their hometown before disappearing for a while to write and record their next album. They played in the beautiful art deco Ormond Hall in front of a very quiet and tentative crowd.

Big Scary were supported by Jonti, a South African born electronic musician, who was up on stage mixing electronic tracks while also throwing in some cool guitar rifts while looking slightly awkward and uncomfortable.
After a long break between sets, Big Scary quietly walked onto the stage in the dark. Although the crowd silenced as they noticed, it was an eerie welcome as the crowd remained still and quiet. The band launched into their set which blitzed past with lightening speed. Tom Iansek and Jo Syme were joined on stage by an additional keyboardist and synth master.

Having seen the band earlier this year as they supported Seattle’s Say Hi in front of a modest crowd of one hundred and fifty people in one of New York’s newest venues, I had been looking forward to seeing the band play in front of a large hometown audience. Back then, they were only supported by Say Hi’s Eric Elbogen on bass, which gave the band a heavier and deeper sound, but with the additional help on keyboard and synth tonight, the show was a different experience, and had a closer sound to that of the studio recordings.

Jo’s loud thumping drums was one of the highlights of seeing the live act this evening. The drums bring their songs alive on stage and it still astounds me how she can sing so beautifully during “Harmony Sometimes”, while keeping a steady but slightly offbeat drum rhythm.

“Why Hip Hop Sucks in ‘1” was an instrumental delight as we watched Jo and Tom engross themselves into the stunning piece of music. Jo got in the zone striking those drums with such accuracy and delicate weight, while Tom got lost in the music as he played the sumptuous keyboard melody with his eyes closed.
Big Scary were sure to play some of the crowd favourites including “Invest”, “Twin Rivers” and “Belgian Blues”, while my personal favourite was hearing them play “Phil Collins” live, with the electric guitar strums echoing through the hall, with the thumping drums bounced off the walls of the large Ormond Hall. It was absolutely mesmerising. They also ensured to play some of their older tracks from their album Vacation including “Gladiator”, “Leaving Home” and “Falling Away”, which in particular was great.

Once they finished their main set, they clumsily stumbled off stage with Tom declaring ‘We’re just going to grab a drink’. They returned to stage, with Tom apologising for the awkward departure stating ‘we never do encores so we aren’t quite sure how they work’ which only made them even more endearing. They finished their set with the super fun “Purple”, which was a great way to finish their final show for some time.

Big Scary has seen great success off the back of No Art, including winning the prestigious Australian Music Prize, and while fans may miss them as they go into hiding to write and record their new album, we can’t wait until they return with their new material. Until then, we are fortunate to be able to relive tonight’s pleasant memories until that day.


First published for the Au Review –


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