Big Star's Third at the Sydney Festival

Big Star is a band that I have written about before and you can get an idea about their story here.  If you haven't clicked through, they were a Memphis based band from the early 1970s who created three albums and, through a series of mishaps and bad business, were never distributed or promoted. Their three albums became a cult amongst musicians and musos.

In the last couple of years a series of one-off or limited run concerts have been taking place around the world where an all-star cast of musicians both local and international gather to perform Big Star’s third album, called Third or in some cases Sister Lovers. The base group of musicians who do these concerts are the only remaining founding member of Big Star, Jody Stephens, R.E.M’s Mike Mills, The dB’s Chris Stamey and Mitch Easter (Let’s Active).  

From the 2011 Concert in the USA, this is Brett Harris doing Kangaroo

Last night it was Australia's turn, as the Sydney Festival brought these musicians to the Enmore Theatre in Sydney to put on this concert for one night. The core group of musicians were joined by The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow, guest vocalists Skylar Gudasz, Brett Harris, Kurt Vile, Cat Power, Edwyn Collins, and Aussie singers Tim Rogers (You Am I), Kim Salmon (The Scientists) and Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus) along with a Sydney-based 12-piece ensemble of strings and brass.

This concert emphasised how important live music is. This tight knit group of musicians come together on stage and created a wonderful night full with big personalities, great songs, and moments of joy and sorrow that can only happen at a live show. All the guest vocalists did a fantastic job of evoking the original song and simultaneously making it their own. I for one, was very happy to see the music played live especially as we had the added bonus of most of the songs from the other two albums and some of the solo work of members of Big Star being played. If you want to sample some of Big Star's music listen to a couple of the clips below.

Thirteen off the album, #1 Record.

O My Soul from the album Radio City

Stroke It Noel off the album Third/Sister Lovers

In The Streets off the album, #1 Record