The ever-sprawling Queensland music scene has developed genres and acts which cater to almost any sound and discipline. Valley Heat Records (VHR) is a special example of how a DIY attitude, and a deep passion for the local scene can cultivate into providing these acts with one-of-a-kind physical releases. In honour of the local label’s third birthday, on Saturday, 4 May The Bearded Lady hosted a line-up of four ‘eclectic’ bands that truly highlight the definition of the word.
With excitement reaching a high-point, the seemingly never-ending line of musicians that lined the cramped stage announced themselves as The Holy Rollercoasters. Totaling eight members, the musical armada introduced the crowd into a winding journey that struck it’s first notes in the form of heavy gospel. With a vast array of talent at their disposal, The Holy Rollercoasters led a musical experience of ecstasy and vibrancy that transcended into parallels of tragedy and loss. These themes and the ecstatic energy was carried throughout by an infectious groove that really debuted the evening of celebrations in a wonderful way.
Diving deeper into the birthday cake, The Double Happiness arrived next on-stage to perform with a notable nostalgic note. The quartet’s surfgaze sound comes inspired from a meeting between spaghetti westerns and The Go-Betweens. Drawing from a broad spectrum of influences across various identities in Brisbane music culture, The Double Happiness are able to embody and perform this love they have for the local culture. These influences and styles were minted on their 2018 EP, City, which translated into a fantastic live performance.
A true highlight of the evening though, came in the return of The Dollar Bill Murrays after a long hiatus. Having announced their return for Valley Heat’s birthday, no other present could ever compare. The alt-rock legends brought a tried and tested set list of bangers that were performed with an energy so rambunctious, you could have easily mistaken the group as pure effigies of rock n roll. Having already set the bar high with their past two single launches (which are available on a 7” vinyl, thanks to VHR), it was easily one of their best performances to date. This was solidified when the first chords of their final song Medicine, was received by roars of responsive energy from the crowd with the unspoken wish: please, don’t leave again.
The icing on the cake to VHR’s third birthday arrived in hushed tones and ethereal notes which blanketed the room to announce Cloud Tangle to the stage. The dream-pop project lead by Amber Ramsay is one of the most eclectic and impressionable performances in the scene. With some dream-inspiring vocals lacing over a silken guitar, deep melodic cuts were performed in combination with violin, guitar, brass, and provoking emotion. As a perfect sentiment to leave the evening on, Cloud Tangle whisked the room into a commanding lull which finished the winding journey on an introspective path.
Kudos must go to the man behind the legendary VHR – John Russell – for his unwavering support of the local scene and bringing together these four mind-boggling acts which gave us all a beautiful taste of just how far Queensland music can go. Happy birthday Valley Heat Records!
Relive the magic of every glorious act ever to grace Valley Heat Records’ roster, by grabbing a copy of their VHR Sampler 2019 on Bandcamp.