In 2017, Lights on Later moves from Thursday to Wednesday night, as part of the city-wide 'Culture Night' initiative. It's the same deal, however: extended hours, and (from Wed Jan 11) 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. See our hitlist of art exhibitions in January, and make sure you tick off the full list of essential summer culture experiences in our Summer Culture Guide.
Craig Ilott's 2015 show is returning to Sydney with a cocktail of circus, cabaret and disco tunes to rival the legendary New York night spot Studio 54. Marcia Hines is up front wrangling the boogie, and playing guide to the young ingenue (Tom Oliver) who stumbles into her boogie wonderland. La Clique favourite Craig Reid (aka The Incredible Hula Boy) is one of many delivering acrobatic eye-candy: Stephen Williams, Mirko Köckenberger, Emma Goh, Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour.
Real Estate’s indie roots have deepened into more serious terrain that are garnering them lots of critical acclaim. Their latest album In Mind is bathed in a humid calmness that washes over you like a gentle sun bathe and you can let their lo-fi melodies embrace you in the flesh at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. They’ll be joined by the wonky and addictive energy of Brisbane’s Blank Realm and local scrappy garage-meets-The B-52s band Display Homes.
As Choir of Hard Knocks and Sydney Street Choir founder Jonathan Welch says, “Singing for an hour a week in a choir has now been scientifically proven to help build your immune system and fight cancer, build neural pathways for those who’ve had strokes and can't speak ... the list goes on.” It’s also anecdotally proven to make you feel happy. Inner Westies can check out Newtown’s Welcome Choir, which meets weekly and is open to people who love singing and are willing to learn the lyrics – you don’t need to audition, you don’t even need to be able to read music. “We want to offer a place that is also safe for greater diversity,” says co-founder Betty Judd. Lead by musical director Bek Jensen, the 30-or-so regulars have a feelgood repertoire that includes Adele, Fleetwood Mac, Outkast, Prince and Madonna. Like singing in a relaxed environment? Check out Sydney Flash Mob Choir.
Held semi-regularly on Thursday and Saturday nights, these live music gigs are free and skew towards experimental, jazz and folk sounds – in keeping with the small scale stage and venue. For Vivid Live they're presenting a mixed bag of artists spanning and scrambling genres. Free entry and one of the best espresso martinis in town make for a fancy evening that's slyly cheap. Click through the Dates & Times tab to see details of who is playing when.
Las Vegas Entertainment dishes out a rip-roarin' mix of comedy and live music every weekend in the centre of the CBD. Every Friday night you'll find the $10 Comedy Club, which showcases rising stars of the local scene alongside long-term residents. Saturday night is all about Bonkerz, which sees a full evening of experienced comics hitting the stage from 8pm. On the last Saturday of every month you can catch Magic Motown and the Whitney Houston Tribute Show featuring the Soulsville band. You can also make a night of it and add on dinner packages. Time Out readers can also get a special discount this month – simply mention Time Out Sydney at the door and you'll enjoy two-for-one seats at either the $10 Dollar Comedy Club or Bonkerz.
The Museum of Contemporary Art's monthly party series is curated by a different artist or collective each edition, and features art, performance and design – with killer views, party tunes and hands-on activities with artists. Since Artbar kicked off in May 2012, we’ve seen the MCA's galleries graced with nude performance art, endurance table tennis, house party-style karaoke, vomit montages, huge inflatables and a live goat. Ah, artists. Never change. July's edition is curated by ceramicist, installation and performance artist Claudia Nicholson. Artbar tends to sell out in advance, so consider pre-purchasing those tickets. If the event does sell out, check back on the MCA Artbar Facebook event page for late releases. Click through the Dates & Times tab for the line-up for each edition of Artbar.