Over the past few weeks, Sydney has seen dozens upon dozens of big name concerts, with guests from around the world in town thanks to Splendour in the Grass. On any given night, there have been half a dozen SOLD OUT signs around the city for any of these acts. Amidst all the negative talk about a city dying due to the lock out laws, Sydneysiders have been continuing to fight for their right to party by getting out, supporting the live music venues we have left, and making sure that our performing guests are given as good a welcome as Sydney can offer.
And this hasn’t been exclusive to the international and interstate guests, either. A string of incredible showcases over the last month have also helped remind us of the local talent we have. Last month, Sydney group Why We Run packed out Plan B in the city (formerly the Good God Small Club) to celebrate the launch of their new record Holograms and play it in full (get your hands on it HERE). While the gig wasn’t as tight as the album – this was one of the first times they’d played many of these tracks live, to be fair – it showed off a band who have produced an incredible piece of music in Holograms, and are not shy in showing it off.
This is a band who I hope get more and more opportunities to play and tour so they get some more live plays of the music under their belts. Particular mention has to be paid to the great light show that accompanied it too, which the headline image gives you a taste of. A few days later, and shortly before Splendour, The Preatures played a secret show at the Oxford Circus, one of Sydney’s finest up-and-coming live venues, packing out the room with family, friends and lucky fans as they said goodbye to co-founding member and guitarist Gideon Bensen. You can read a little more about that show HERE.
Then, just after Splendour, Blue Mountains born, Sydney based artist Julia Jacklin sold out the Newtown Social Club for a special performance before she heads overseas – during which time her own debut record will launch. Going from playing open mic nights to selling out venues around the country (and the world) in the space of 8 months, this year has been truly remarkable for the talented musician. Her voice was impeccable on the night, as she pushed through as-yet-unreleased tracks of her debut (but long finished) LP, and singles like “Pool Party”, “Leadlight” and ” Don’t Let The Kids Win”, the title track of the record, which ended the night, with just her and drummer Tom Stephens (who is a great solo artist in his own right, as is Eddie Boyd who also plays in the band). The set cemented her position as Australia’s biggest rising star of 2016, one that I feel like we’ll be seeing less and less of on a local level as she continues to take over the world stage. Interestingly, this special showcase was only possible because her trip overseas was delayed.
And finally, another of our city’s biggest success stories, Gang of Youths, took over the same venue on Tuesday night for a free, last minute announced show, that saw lines down the block as fans tried to make their way into the gig, as the band celebrated the launch of their new EP Let Me Be Clear, and a triumphant return from Splendour in the Grass. The gig was full of huge energy from the band, with a tease of not just the EP, but also tracks set to come from the next full length, which saw frontman David Le’aupepe sit down at the keys in solo capacity – something they’re not always able to do at the bigger shows the AU Live Music Award winners are playing these days. You can read a full review of the show HERE by one of our amazing writers.
These artists show that there is an insatiable appetite from local music fans to go and see local, live music. In the coming weeks, more events are being put on to continue to put that to the test. We’re throwing our own 8th Birthday Party at the Oxford Art Factory on 18th August with locals Hedge Fund and Allan Smithy performing, and we’ve pretty much run out of our ticket allocation at the time of this post. At the same venue, alongside The Cliff Dive, The Burdekin Hotel and Brighton Up Bar, Volumes Festival will be celebrating the local scene with an incredible two day event on August 26th and 27th. The event, now in its second year, had a hugely successful inaugural event and you can learn more about it HERE.
While the wones about the state of the Sydney live scene are warranted – the Lock Out Laws have done irreparable damage to the city we love – anyone who says that the city is dead clearly hasn’t been out in a while. There are so many fantastic venues around the city, many of which have live music every night of the week – such as Frankie’s Pizza or the just launched Leadbelly (formerly The Vanguard). You just have to go out and look.
Maybe you’ll discover some amazing new local talent along the way. And when you’ve got the four bands like the ones I mentioned, popping up and playing packed out shows all over the city, honestly it starts to make you wonder if Sydney is leading the whole country with our local talent. Either way, it’s bloody time we start recognizing it before the bastards try to take more of it away from us.
Image Credit: Youtube (Why We Run)