A great perk of my job is getting to see some amazing musicians perform live. From stadiums to small clubs, I’ve entered as a reviewer and often a fan, and had the privilege of hearing some international and national artists perform great sets. Here’s my top 10 for 2015.l
I know you’re sensing a theme here, right? Jon Foreman was my number 1 interview AND also just happened to front my favourite gig of the whole year when Switchfoot came to 170 Russell. My first time seeing these guys perform live and I cannot express just how special the performance was. The best music moves you and takes you to another place; this gig did this for me time and time again.
Heavy and Light was my first gig of the year and a sentimental favourite on my part. Catching up with the crew at To Write Love On Her Arms and joining them in their flagship event was truly special. The mix of great music, conversation and honesty is not something I’ll forget any time soon, and between amazing performances by the Summer Set, Matthew Perryman Jones, Dustin Kensrue and particularly Jon Foreman, this is one of my favourite moments of the year.
The Toff in Town
It was bittersweet seeing New Empire on their Farewell Tour earlier this year. I joined a packed out crowd to say goodbye from their friends and fans in Melbourne, and was able to sing along to some of my favourite songs from all three of their albums. The sound and experience you get from one of their live shows has always been memorable for me, and I am so glad I was able to see them one last time.
There is something ethereal about seeing Yirrmal perform live, and his voice resounds with so much depth and experience. There are some people you hear sing, and you feel honoured to hear their voices- it is like their tones are sacred and they are singing the song of your soul. Yirrmal is one such talent, and I expect one day he will be known alongside great musicians like Archie Roach in telling the stories of Australia’s first peoples.
I’ve had the chance to see NEEDTOBREATHE perform once before as openers for Taylor Swift, and I was so excited to see them with Third Day for World Vision’s ‘Make A Difference’ Tour. Both bands are complete rock stars in the best sense of the expression, and seeing them perform live was like going to church- except with guitar heavy, southern rock tunes.
In all fairness, I should disclose to you that I’ve seen Guy at least 10 times in the past decade (no shame), so it isn’t surprising that his Melbourne leg of the ‘Madness Tour’ makes the cut. The first time he has headlined an arena tour, and with a set, performance and dance moves to match, Guy Sebastian is the best he’s ever been. Aside from hearing some of his new tracks from ‘Madness,’ I also loved the throwback to Idol days as we delved into the vault of his early career.
Wow. Just Wow. How do you sum up Jakubi’s gig at Max Watts on their return to Melbourne? Crazy, amazing, fun and insanely talented are just some of the words that come to mind. Capturing the crowd with every song, you couldn’t fault the boys set as they performed new songs and old hits. I said in my review that these guys are made for arenas and I still stand by that statement. They are some of the best in Australia.
It felt quite surreal sitting near the stage at the Playhouse Theatre for the opening of AWME, watching SGV perform. The five piece are eclectic, folky and beautifully raw in their musical delivery. Mixing guitar and percussion with wood wind, synth and violin, their set took me to the ocean in all its passion and beauty.
Coming to Geelong for his Authentic Lemonade Tour, Dylan brought his A-game and somehow converted this self professed pop lover into an appreciator of hip hop and rap. Mixing his quirk with killer melodies, faster spoken words than you could poke a stick at, and a message that was far bigger than the stage he stood on, this night had it all. Oh, and there was the coordinated swing dancing at the end – that was just a win for everyone.
The Lounge Room Tour
By some random occurrence, my friend won the chance to have Fatai perform in her Lounge Room, and dang this girl can sing! While Fatai was sick on the day, she pulled through like a fighter and delivered a crazy, quirky and fun set that made you feel as though you were in the room with a friend you had known for years. From Sia’s “Chandelier” and Sam Smith covers to the breathtaking “She,” Fatai was amazing. She is also a really cool person to match.