Vivid Music: Howl & Echoes’ top 15 events

Australia’s beloved festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, is quickly approaching – and we’re impatiently counting down the days until May 22. This year’s musical line up is without doubt the biggest, best and most diverse yet – and that’s before we even start looking at the light displays and Vivid Ideas events. We recently had a chat with Vivid Music curator Stephen Ferris about how it all came to be, and we’re growing more excited by the day. Here are our top 15 choices for Vivid’s musical events, with info, ticketing details and more.

Squarepusher 

The UK electronic stalwart Squarepusher follows in the footsteps of past Vivid headliners Kraftwerk and Amon Tobin, by bringing his experimental, expansive music and universally acclaimed light show to Vivid. With a new album coming out next month, we’ll be among the first in the world to hear his new pieces live one of many reasons this is an unmissable event.
When: May 22, 7 pm
Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House (ONLY Australian show)
Tickets: From $39
On sale 9 am Friday March 27

Sufjan Stevens

One of the most beloved indie-folk weirdos of our time, the magical, angel-voiced Sufjan Stevens will be gracing our shores once again to perform music from his new album Carrie & Lowell. No stranger the Sydney Opera House or Vivid LIVE, expect to be enchanted by a career-spanning set, as Sufjan touches down in Australia for these four shows only.
When: May 22-25, 8 pm
Where:
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House (ONLY Australian shows)
Tickets: From $69
On sale 9 am Friday March 27

Daniel Johns

While he was once the lead man in one of Australia’s best and most influential garage rock bands, Daniel Johns makes his long-awaited comeback to the live music scene at Vivid LIVE. He’s just released his surprisingly gorgeous new EP Aerial Love, marking a massive change in music style. Gone is the long hair, Kurt Cobain-inspired growls and lyrics that swell with teen angst. Instead, prepare yourself for some electronic neo-soul a la Chet Faker or Active Child.
When: May 28 & 29 8 pm
Where:
Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House (ONLY Australian shows)
Tickets: From $59
On sale 9 am Friday March 27

The Drones

I’ll start by saying that I just adore The Drones. I’ve seen them live a bunch of times and (with the exception of Gareth Liddiard’s haggard solo show last year at The Basement,) I only fall in love with them more and more. Easily one of the best live acts Australia has ever seen, Vivid LIVE will see them celebrating the ten year anniversary of Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By, alongside an exclusive preview of tracks from their forthcoming seventh album.
When: May 24 7pm
Where:
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House (ONLY Australian shows)
Tickets: From $39
On sale 9 am Friday March 27

Vivid at Oxford Art Factory

This year sees the very exciting addition of a range of new venues to the Vivid Music curation. One of my personal favourite haunts, Oxford Art Factory, will be featuring exciting acts of all genres throughout the entire festival. New label Personal Best Records will showcase their big talents, including the wonderful Tear Council, MLHLND, Physique and more. Other acts featuring throughout the festival include Art of Sleeping and Kilter.
When: May 22 – June 8
Where:
Oxford Art Factory, Oxford St, Darlinghurst
Tickets: From $20

The Basement

The Basement has been one of my most adored Sydney venues since I was probably too young to actually be allowed in. This tiny venue will be home to jazz and funk acts including Funkoars, Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra and The Bad Plus. Moreover, regular hip hop night Halfway Crooks will be in tow, alongside one of my personal favourite Aussie singers, Jane Tyrrell.
When: May 22 – June 8
Where:
 The Basement, 29 Reiby Place, Circular Quay
Tickets: From $15

Modulations at Carriageworks

Head to Carriageworks for live music, art, installations and more throughout Vivid. The program itself, Modulations, “looks at where music, art and design intersect, overlap and influence each other.” Included in the festivities will be a combined effort from three of Sydney’s top club nights – Kooky, Motorik! and Pelvis, featuring Trevor Jackson and Daniel Wang, as well as Grammy-winning Pharoah Sanders and many more to be announced.

When: June 4 – 8
Where: 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh
Tickets: Various

Heaps Gay

Sydney’s proud LGTBI community will be joining Vivid this year in a one-off event featuring DJs, artists, live music and tonnes more. Musical acts include KIM (The Presets), Black Vanilla DJs, TEES live, Catlips live, and many, many more to be announced. Art installations, projections and flash-parties will add to the bright vibes, and punters will have the chance to be involved in the Heaps Gay People Project, raising awareness for Beyond Blue.
When: June 7, From 3 pm
Where:
 The Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville
Tickets: From $35

Royal Headache

Garage punks Royal Headache are returning home after two years abroad, with this show marking their homecoming. I caught them back in 2012 when they supported The Black Keys, where they could easily have been performing their own headline show. Packing more than a few punches, their reputation precedes them as a live act. They’ll be joined by their sonic family at Repressed Records, with more acts still to be announced, it’s advisable to pack from ear plugs – things are going to get very loud.

When: May 23
Where: The Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera House)
Tickets: starting at $35.00
On sale now
Tickets and more info here

The Preatures

It was their single Is This How You Feel? that thrusted The Preatures into the international spotlight, ahead of their debut album Blue Planet Eyes. Performing at some of the greatest stages in this country and abroad, The Preatures have reached something of “national darlings” status, and will no doubt continue their rise to the top this year. They’ll be bringing their good old Australian rock & roll to the Opera House this year, ticking yet another accomplishment off their ever growing list.

When: May 27
Where: The Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera House)
Tickets: starting at $35.00
On sale now
Tickets and more info here

FCX – 10 Years of Future Classic

Starting off as a vinyl-only imprint, Future Classic have always prided themselves on seeking out and delivering only the most cutting edge electronica, it’s been a long but successful 10 years for the Sydney based label. To celebrate, they’ll be descending onto the Opera House for a two night spectacular, showcasing all that they have become. Flume, Flight FacilitiesSeekaeTouch SensitiveGeorge MapleHayden JamesWave Racer and Charles Murdoch will be playing over the two nights, with Flume and Flight Facilities performing on both. This is sure to be a night to remember!

When: May 29 and 30
Where: The Northern Boardwalk
Tickets: starting at $129 per night
On sale now
Tickets and more info here

The Hoodoo Gurus

Performing an exclusive one off performance, Australian living legends The Hoodoo Gurus will be playing at the Powerhouse Museum come late May. Titled Be My Guru: Evolution, Revolution, this performance will feature all eight past and current members as they relive their back catalogue in all it’s glory. Spoiler alert: the performance will end “with an all-in psychedelic, tribal finale featuring two drum kits, two basses and four guitars”, if you’re going to see a Vivid event, make it this one.

When: May 23
Where: The Powerhouse Museum
Tickets: starting at $62.50
On sale now
Tickets and more info here

Fractured Fantasies

Spoiled for choice? Looking for something a little different? Look no further than The Argyle, which will be playing host to three themed “Fractured Fantasies” for the full 18 nights of Vivid. The themes involved include Daft Punk inspired Discovery, which will feature a supposedly amazing tribute show, as well as Wonderland and Star Wars. There will also be salsa Wednesdays, a roster of DJs on rotation Vivid Sydney-inspired cocktails and plenty more to make any Vivid night fantastic!

When: May 22 – June 8
Where: The Argyle
Tickets: On sale soon
Tickets and more info here

RedBull Music Academy Presents: Astral People Feat. Robert Owens/Amir Alexander/Ben Fester/Preacha

Astral People are teaming up with RBMA for the third year running, taking over the Studio with one of their most exciting line ups yet. Chicago house golden age veteran Robert Owens will take to the decks alongside “next-gen hero” Amir Alexander in a one night only event, showcasing not only the prolific skills of both heavyweight names, but the undeniable knack of knowing what’s good that Astral People possess. Locals Ben Fester and Preacha will also be performing on the night, as it shapes up to be one of the most exciting events of the program.

When: 30 May
Where: The Studio
Tickets: $40
On sale now
Tickets and more info here

RedBull Music Academy Presents: Elefant Traks Feat. Joyride/Jayteehazard/DJ MK-1/Adit/Dggz

The RBMA fun doesn’t stop there! Elefant Traks will be treating the Opera House for the first time since 2012 with an all out hip hop/electronic invasion. Recruiting up-and-comer JoyrideHilltop Hoods collaborator Jayteehazard, as well as DJ MK-1Adit and Dggz also stepping up to the plate. From the crew that single handedly took homegrown Aussie hip hop and electronica from the suburbs to the national spotlight, responsible for The HerdHermitudeUrthboyHorrorshow and Jane Tyrrell, this Elefant Traks takeover is going to be one of the wildest parties seen by any Vivid Program.

When: 31 May
Where: The Studio
Tickets: $40
On sale now
Tickets and more info here