Australian music has always been of the highest quality in our books, but it seems our neighbours in the US take a while to catch on. Thanks to the huge success and influence of late night television shows like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan, Saturday Night Live and many more choosing musicians to play each night of the week, they were bound to pick up some Aussie talent along the way. After Courtney Barnett ripped into a killer performance on Saturday Night Live this weekend, we looked back at some of the best performances of Aussie exports heading over to the US to show what they’re made of, and compiled a nice list below of some of the greatest. Enjoy!
Courtney Barnett, Pedestrian At Best
(Saturday Night Live, 2016)
As mentioned before, Courtney Barnett launched into an absolutely stellar performance of her breakout single, Pedestrian At Best on SNL over the weekend. Blistering guitars, stomping riffs from Courtney Barnett and her band and her Aussie-as-hell accent all sheepishly pulling it off like they’re not actually performing on live television into millions of homes across the US. Her performance of Avant Gardener on Fallon back in 2014 saw her explode onto the international scene, and she hasn’t looked back since.
Silverchair, Abuse Me
Aside from the eyebrow ring Daniel Johns is rocking, this performance is pretty high up there not only in the ranks of the best, but also the most iconic for Australian music. Going over to the US to support their sophomore album, Freak Show after selling a whopping 2 million copies of their debut (Frogstomp), the Newcastle trio landed themselves the coveted spot on Letterman to play their droning grunge to millions of viewers across America. Letterman said it himself when he remarked, “Not bad for a bunch of school kids.” You’re damn right, Letterman!
INXS & Ray Charles, Please (You Got That…)
I’m not sure why this performance isn’t played on television screens across Australia every single morning due to how iconic and incredible it is. One of the biggest Australian bands ever, INXS, sharing the stage with one of music’s greatest artists, Ray Charles. You really can’t get much better than that. Frontman Michael Hutchence sitting on a stool beside Ray, both grooving away and singing at their absolute best whilst the rest of the band have a ball on stage. Taken from the Full Moon, Dirty Hearts record, Please (You Got That…) was already a standout track, but this just takes it to a whole new level.
Tame Impala, Let It Happen
I’m putting this one here as sadly, their previous US late night TV performances have been taken down from the internet. Perth psych-pop rockers Tame Impala returned in a blaze of glory last year with their third album, Currents, and landed a spot on Conan to herald their comeback in the US. One of the best performances on late night TV in recent memory thanks to exceptional work with lights, camera angles and visual effects, Tame Impala hit the ground running after this performance. They have previously performed twice more on US TV, both times on Jimmy Fallon’s show. However, it seems Fallon likes to keep the good memories to himself, as they clips are no where to be found (FYI, they first played Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind? in 2011 and Elephant in 2013).
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, I Had A Dream, Joe
I can’t go past Nick Cave. Already at veteran status, Nick Cave brought his brooding tune I Had A Dream, Joe on stage for a memorable performance on Letterman all the way back in 1993. Certainly not their usual standard of TV performances, Americans would have been a bit caught off-guard with this howling set, complete with a skulking Cave commanding your attention from start to finish. Hardly a commercially successful artist in the US, this performance goes to show Nick Cave could not care less if he tried about what the audience, or Americans everywhere thought of him, his music and his band. He’s just doing him, in the most dark and mysterious way.
Image: Music Feeds