The bigger Vivid artists whose shows will absolutely sell out. Get organised.

Every damn year, we wait for the big March announcement — which of the world's artists are heading to Sydney for our annual festival of lights? While the city sits awash with vibrant Vivid installations and projections, underground bars are heaving with live music, and festival headliners take the stage under the luminous Opera House sails. This year's impressive live music lineup features newcomers, stalwarts, and faces we haven't seen around here for a while. With most tickets going on sale to the public today, here's our pick of the bigger live shows to check out at Vivid LIVE this year — we'll take a look at the more intimate gigs and parties in the coming weeks.

Trying for Sampha? Those tickets are long gone. We paused too. Act fast on these nine.

By James Whitton, Libby Curran, Lauren Vadnjal and Shannon Connellan.

  • 9
    Camp Cope

    Hailing from Melbourne Camp Cope have only been kicking about together for the last couple of years after bonding in a friend’s kitchen. After gaining significantly gargantuan hype in Australia and overseas, they’re about to play one of the world’s most hallowed stages: Sydney Opera House. No pressure.

    The trio’s debut, self-titled album was released last year, and goes to show how much can really be achieved in two days, which is how long the album took to record.

    The LP harks to good ol’ garage indie rock, but there’s a real authenticity in the album, especially coming from the sharp lyricism and emphatic vocals from singer-guitarist Georgia McDonald, alongside bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich and drummer Sarah Thompson. Unafraid to tackle topics others might avoid, Camp Cope should bring a killer live show to their Vivid Sydney debut.

  • 8
    The Avalanches' Since I Left You Block Party

    Vivid Sydney’s massive 2017 program packs some serious punches, not least of which is a sneaky Sydney Opera House show by none other than The Avalanches. But it’s not just a show, it’s a casually large outdoor block party.

    The legendary Australian group has been stirring some heavy emotions since crashing back onto the live music scene in July last year, treating Splendour-goers to their first proper live onstage appearance in about a decade. Now, fresh off the back of festival shows at Falls and Sugar Mountain, The Avalanches have announced they’ll be hitting the Opera House’s Northern Boardwalk in May, for a Since I Left You ‘block party’ that’ll see the band perform its seminal, sample-heavy album in full for the first time since 2001. They’ll be performing with Sydney multi-instrumentalist Jonti Danilewitz, who performed Since I Left You for Vivid LIVE in 2014 with Astral People.

    Joining The Avalanches on May 27 and 28 is a top-notch lineup that includes renowned US producer DJ Shadow, 2017 Australian Music Prize winner Briggs, and rising hip hop star Sampa the Great.

  • 7
    Fleet Foxes

    Announced as the very first headliner for the 2017 Vivid program, indie folk-rock band Fleet Foxes are making their triumphant return to Sydney — for the first time in five years.

    The US band will bring their bright dance-around-the-forest songs to the Sydney Opera House for four exclusive shows on May 26–29 this year. These will be the band’s only shows in Australia, so tickets will be allocated via a ballot system. Anyone who sat online to get (or miss out on) tickets to the Opera House’s Bon Iver show last year will appreciate this method of allocation.

    Fans of Fleet Foxes will know the band have been extremely quiet of late; they haven’t released an album since Helplessness Blues back in 2011. The band is set to release their third album this year — which, according to Consequence of Soundis called Ylajali — and has already locked in some European tour dates post-Vivid, meaning that we could potentially be the first to hear their new material.

  • 6
    Nai Palm

    If you’re yet to catch Melbourne’s Grammy-nominated future-soul outfit Hiatus Kaiyote, do yourself a favour and meet their leader. Few artists have the same wild, raw vocal control as the group’s inimitable singer and guitarist, Naomi ‘Nai Palm’ Saalfield, and for Vivid Sydney, she’s branching out on her own for a special solo performance.

    Set in the Drama Theatre, this Sydney Opera House show will see Nai Palm’s solo debut, an intimate performance of Hiatus Kaiyote favourites and new solo material. Prepare to spend a few hours not realising your jaw’s been on the floor.

  • 5

    It’s been about 20 years since the French electronic duo’s 1998 release, Moon Safari, and Air have continued to grow, change and experiment with their craft over the intervening decades. For most of us, strong memories of the avant-garde French pop leaders stem from sensual classic ‘Sexy Boy’, but their back catalogue spirals much deeper than the stairwell of Ten Things I Hate About You.

    Air have been busy, with an impressive collection of work, as well as collaborations in film (they notably scored Sophia Coppola’s breakout film, The Virgin Suicides). Their most recent album, Twentyears, explores their old and new content, and they’ll be treating captivated Vivid audiences to a retrospective, of sorts, of their revered electronica.

  • 4
    Nick Murphy FKA Chet Faker Presents Missing Link

    Until last year, Nick Murphy was better known by his stage name, Chet Faker. Since dropping the moniker, Murphy has reinvented his ARIA-winning style, opting for a sharply produced cacophony of low tempo piano and his signature understated vocals, juxtaposed with upbeat synth melodies. After testing the waters with a live band at Laneway Festival, Murphy is making things a little more intimate for his Vivid Sydney show.

    Murphy is taking on theatre in the round for this Vivid performance, premiering new tracks performance in 360 degrees. It’s a triumphant return for Murphy, who played to 12,000 people over two sold-out nights in the Opera House forecourt as Chet Faker in 2015.

  • 3

    One of the giants in the modern pop scene, Goldfrapp have been mixing grind-inducing, strut-generating beats since the late nineties. With a brand new album slated for release later this month, they’ve joined the already illustrious bill for this year’s Vivid, and they’re bringing their latest and greatest to Carriageworks.

    The UK pop duo have had a slew a massive hits, from 2003’s ‘Strict Machine’ to 2005’s ‘Ooh La La’. While there’s been a widespread barrage of bangers from Goldfrapp since then, these are the two that have probably been featured in more films and TV shows than ‘Bittersweet Symphony’— seriously, Goldfrapp have been featured in Entourage, NCIS, Las Vegas, House, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, The Sopranos, Ugly Betty, ER, Heroes, Numb3rs

  • 2
    Bill Callahan

    Growing from his rough, garage-inspired acoustic rock of the early nineties into clean, driving Drag City rock and roll, Bill Callahan has sent imaginations worldwide rollicking into the American desert for a casual 12 albums. Boosted by those ominous baritone vocals, Callahan’s been spinning yarns for years under his stage name, Smog, and more recently under his birth name. He’s returning to Vivid this year to deliver four intimate performances with his long time collaborator, guitarist Matt Kinsey.

    A modern advocate of Appalachian folk mixed with country rock and roll, Callahan’s tunes tell a magical story, captivating audiences with his deep and edgy oeuvre.

  • 1
    Laura Marling

    Releasing her debut album, Alas, I Cannot Swim at the impressive age of 18, Laura Marling has held the world in her palm over the past decade with her contemporary, understated take on folk music. From the uptempo songs of her debut LP to the rich and inventive tracks peppering her latest album, Semper Femina, released earlier this year, Marling has demonstrated a true mastery of her craft — multiple Mercury Prize nominations during her career can’t be wrong.

    Marling’s putting on a single performance for Vivid this year, and, as one of the UK’s best current songwriters, she’s sure to make it a cracker.

Published on March 20, 2017 by James Whitton

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