The best live music in Sydney this week
Sydney's Fringe might not be as old or well-funded as Melbourne's but it's spreading its footprint much further for its tenth anniversary. While the festival has its traditional hubs of music, theatre, art and performance all across the Inner West, it's also taking over the CBD this time around with a massive hub at City Tattersalls Club. You can also catch shows at the Emerging Artist Sharehouse in Erskineville, the touring hub at the Old 505 Theatre in Newtown, and a very special show in the Rocks based on a certin '90s thriller. Check out our guide to Sydney Fringe and our hit list of highlights.
There is a vibrant live music scene in Sydney today, despite what some contemporary nightlife tales tell. So if you dig the gigs happening every week in the city, you may be interested in investigating the history of Australian music. The Museum of Sydney’s Songs of Home exhibition provides insight into the music that was created and enjoyed by early colonists and the Indigenous people of New South Wales. It considers how these groups interacted and shared music, our limited knowledge of the musical world at this time, and the place of music in our society today. Artefacts exploring these ideas include the earliest transcripts of Aboriginal songs, the oldest surviving print music from the colony, the first Australian bagpipes, and a music box and barrel organ. Others come with intriguing tales, like a piano that was carried over the Blue Mountains by a Scottish family in 1843; a guitar owned by Napoleon that was given to a teenage girl who became a prominent Sydney socialite; and albums of music hand-copied by Jane Austen which reflect the top jams of the 18th and 19th centuries. Performance is also a central element of the exhibition. Hear special compositions from groups like Scotland’s Concerto Caledonia and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, as well as a series created by Aboriginal artists in partnership with Ngarra-Burria First Peoples Composers initiative. The works will reflect on ideas explored in the exhibition.
The Museum of Contemporary Art stays open until 9pm each Wednesday night with a program of live music on the terrace, discussions, performances, talks and workshops, to complement the exhibitions. The indoor-outdoor MCA Cafe, on the Sculpture Terrace, also stays open until 9pm. It's got some of the best views of the harbour at night – assuming there aren't any cruise ships. See our hitlist of art exhibitions this month and check out where else you can enjoy art at night.
Literal angel Troye Sivan is coming to Sydney this spring. The Perth-born popstar is finally jetting back to Australia for his long-awaited homecoming tour after traipsing through a string of shows in the US, Europe and Asia (not to mention appearances alongside the likes of Charli XCX and Taylor Swift). The Australian shows are part of Sivan’s Bloom tour, which was announced last year following the release of his likewise-titled album in August 2018. This will be the first time that Sivan has toured on home soil since 2016 and fans will no doubt be frothing to hear hits like ‘My My My!’, ‘Dance to This’ and ‘Bloom’ live at one of the musician’s high-energy shows. The first stop on Sivan’s Australian Bloom tour will be Perth, followed by Adelaide and Brisbane before heading to Sydney for two massive shows.
Running as part of Sydney Fringe Festival, this massive program of live music will help the broader Sydney community get to know some of the stellar acts coming out of Western Sydney. For three days, Parramatta Town Hall and surrounding venues will be ringing with the electro-tinged hip-hop of Hooligan Hefs, the big guitar riffs that mark the moody punk-rock of Shogun and the Sheets, and the synthy, dreamy pop melodies sung by Laura Jean. They’ll be joined by special guests from the ’Gong, metalcore rockers Totally Unicorn, along with a slew of other local acts for this music fest in the west. The festival hub will be at Town Hall, but performances will also be taking place in venues like Milky Lane and Butter, kicking off from the early arvo. These spots are all within a five-minute walk from the train station for music lovers travelling to Parramatta for the free gigs.
Last time the 1975 toured Australia, they were just about to release their second album I Like it When You Sleep, For You Are so Beautiful Yet so Unaware of it. Their new album saw them reach the top of the UK Albums Chart, Gold in the US and number one in countries around the world including Australia. The 1975 started out experimenting as teenagers in an emo-type school band. Since then, they have released three studio albums with a fourth one on its way for next year. They aren’t afraid to experiment with genre, combining synth-pop with guitars and dance music that’s reminiscent of 1980s pop. Their songs are honest, looking at their own relationships, addictions and the complexities of modern life. You can hear them live, at their best on September 21 with supporting act, No Rome, at ICC Sydney.
Kate Miller-Heidke is absolutely dominating our musical worlds right now – and rightly so. The classically trained musical tour de force took on Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year with her operatic, heart-rendering ballad ‘Zero Gravity’, which gained her a top ten spot in the competition. Her extraordinary song writing talents are making us laugh and cry with the 20 original songs she composed for Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical – a Helpmann Award-winning score. And she’s racked up a whopping 13 ARIA nominations in 12 years. Now, as part of a one-off special performance during her national tour, Kate Miller-Heidke will be performing ‘Zero Gravity’ at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall in September. Snap up tickets to this one while you can, because, as Sydney Opera House’s head of contemporary performance, Olivia Ansell puts it, “From opera to music theatre, indie folk to alternative pop, Kate is a genre-defying game changer with limitless vocal range.” Kate will be joined on stage by long-time collaborator Keir Nuttall, who she worked with on Muriel’s Wedding: The Musical, as well as some of Australia’s most talented musicians. Along with ‘Zero Gravity’, you’ll hear emotive tracks ‘Caught in the Crowd’, ‘The Last Day on Earth’,and ‘O Vertigo!’.