Performing in front of a sold-out show at the Palais Theatre, MEL Live flocked to see Kacey Musgraves as the American singer songwriter visited Melbourne for the first time on her Oh, What A World tour.
Supported by Bahamas, Canadian musician Afie Jurvanen brought his smooth folk rock tunes to the packed out Melbourne audience. With a drummer and backing vocalist in tow, the trio performed a relaxed-setting performance that was a little folk, a little jazz and extremely entertaining.
Opening the set with So Free, the band won the crowd over with well-fitting Opening Act (The Shooby Dooby Song) as they played through their hits. Jurvanen took the time to speak with members of the audience, encouraging the younger punters for getting out and seeing some live music and commenting on the affordability of St Kilda coffee.
No stranger to the Palais Theatre, having toured with other groups including Feist, Jurvanen marvelled at the beauty of the acoustics at the Palais, the moment not lost on the incredible performer. Finishing the set with popular songs Lost in the Light and All The Time, we hope to see Bahamas again soon.
Soon enough, it was time for Spacey Kacey and band to make their grand entrance. From the moment Kacey took to the stage, it was clear to see that the country pop princess had some surprises up her sleeve. Opening with one of our personal favourites Slow Burn, Kacey wasted no time in showing the audience they were here to dance and party the night away.
The Oh, What a World tour features a Kacey performing her latest album Golden Hour in full, with tracks including Wonder Woman, Butterflies, and Lonely Weekend commanding sing-a-longs from young and old. There was a perfect blend of pop and country music as the set went on and we were treated to Golden Hour, Die Fun, Mother and Oh, What a World.
What we loved about the set was how professional everything went - as Kacey, a true performer - shone as one of the next big things both in country music and the music world in general. She spoke regularly to the crowd, made jokes, laughed and included her band in everything they did. The lighting was next level and the production both intimate and large at the same time. A key highlight for us was when Kacey asked the crowd if they’ve ever seen a huntsman spider and was truly horrified with the response.
Catering to crowd requests by performing It Is What It Is, covering a classic Weezer track Island in the Sun and even responding to the week’s earlier controversies by doing a “Shoey” on her own terms, Kacey Musgraves summed it all up when she stated, “Basically, you’re welcome”.
The set came to a close with Kacey performing her biggest songs to date: Space Cowboy, Follow Your Arrow, Rainbow and High Horse. As they departed the stage, adored by all who attended, we can only hope to see Kacey and band back on our shores soon.
Supported by our hometown indie folk pop artist Didirri, the night started well at the beautiful Palais Theatre. With a guitar by his side, Didirri brought his charisma and personality to the stage as he laughed and joked and sung with raw emotions in a set that really meant something.
Didirri himself acknowledged how far he had come over the past 2 busy years from busking on the streets of Melbourne to performing around the world alongside international talents, now including Hozier. What we saw was the excitement of someone doing what they love, as Didirri laughed and joked through his set, performing tracks from his EP and eventual debut album.
Pivotal moments included a shout out to his mum in the audience, Frida Kahlo (not in the audience) and dedicating songs to his ex girlfriend and to our need to eventually deal with death one way or another. Formaldehyde was a personal favourite, as were Blind You and Jude.
Before long, it was time for the main act as people settled in for the night ahead. A calm audience who had enjoyed the public holiday of Anzac Day took to their seats again as Hozier a.k.a Andrew Hozier-Byrne and his 7-piece ensemble came out to a series of applause and a feeling of anticipation.
The Irish singer-songwriter opened with Would That I, before leading into Dinner & Diatribes and Nina Cried Power, all from his latest album Wasteland, Baby! Having successfully warmed up the crowd, Hozier encouraged people to stand up (if they wanted to) and get the party going. This was the perfect time to play some old favourites, rolling out Someone New and Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene.
What proceeded was a series of songs from both his debut album Hozier and his latest, with key moments with To Be Alone, Almost (Sweet Music), Jackie and Wilson and Movement. It wouldn’t be a Hozier concert were it not for a sing-a-long with the audience of Take Me To Church, an almost religious experience in its own right to round out the set. The artist and the band, humbled in their success, spend time introducing one another to the crowd and praising all of the work behind the scenes that goes into putting on a tour.
As the night came to a close, the encore consisting of Cherry Wine, delivered by Hozier and a stripped back stage presence was beautiful. They welcomed back the band to perform their final song of the evening, Work Song. The night was an incredible experience and we wish everyone attending tomorrow night a great time.
It’s a public holiday eve, and we find ourselves at Arrow on Swanston for the Story So Far and Basement’s co-headline tour. Leading down to the venue’s band room, the stage is intimate and the audience ready for a big night out at the all ages show.
Opening the night is Melbourne band Stuck Out. Their set is short but sweet, leaving a lasting impression with their raw energy and powerful vocals. Their latest single Everything You Wanted is fantastic live and we will be keeping an eye out for them in the future.
Sydneysiders Endless Heights follow up with an equally powerful supporting set, giving the fans singalong moments and a serious case of the feels. Playing song Paralyse, the audience finds themselves in a gentle sway; lighters held in the air. Needless to say, Endless Heights were the perfect opener for what was to follow, with their brutally honest lyrics and melodic guitar work paving the way for the night’s co-headliners.
Now it was time for one of the headliners to take to the stage, with Basement opening their set with Disconnect and Aquasun, much to the audience’s delight. It doesn’t take long for the tame all ages crowd to transcend into a sea of fists and bouncing heads, the audience in a frenzy as the music takes over.
A few songs in, and the band’s impact on the post-hardcore/emo-revival scene is clear as day. The release of their latest album Beside Myself only adds to the variety in their live shows, perfectly complementing classics such as Brother’s Keeper and Covet - songs the audience decides to belt out with their last breath.
It was evident throughout the set that the band were enjoying every minute. Lead singer Andrew Fisher was seen joining in with every riff and drum beat, bouncing around the stage playing air guitar and drums. Finishing off their set with grunge-laden track Promise Everything, Basement leave the screaming crowd (and us) wanting more.
Pop-punk powerhouse The Story So Far are up next and had a lot to live up to. Opening their set with Empty Space, the crowd took no time to warm up as the sea of crowd surfers crashed over the front barriers once the first few notes hit. Security braced themselves for impact as the band launched into their next few tracks.
Belting out their hits such as Roam, Quicksand, and All Wrong, frontman Parker Cannon spits each lyric at the audience with his trademark grit. Each song only riles up the audience more, as more and more people join a massive mosh pit towards the front of the barrier. The precedent is now set for the rest of the show (with two people even coordinating front somersaults as they crowd surf across the crowd).
The Story So Far deliver one of the more crazier sets of the night as it becomes clearer they are the band people have come to see. Playing a fair few songs off their new release Proper Dose, the band slows it down with Take Me as You Please - a bittersweet acoustic track - before launching headfirst into The Glass, which starts up a circle pit in the audience. Closing the night off with Nerve, The Story So Far once again prove their place in the alt scene. We look forward to their next return to Melbourne.
Monday’s are usually a mundane experience.
This Monday, however, this was not the case. We were on our way to see Liz Phair at the Croxton Bandroom, supported by Melbourne talent Ali Barter.
Having followed Ali Barters’ career since 2013, we’ve been lucky to see her support some of the best local and international artists touring Melbourne and it’s exciting to see her music reaching so many people across Australia and beyond. Well-aware of the significance of playing a hometown show with one of her early idols, the moment was not lost on Ali as she took to the Croxton stage to a full house.
Choosing to perform as a solo set for the night, her stripped back and intimate set struck a chord with the audience, who were hooked on every word. Performing songs from her debut album, A Suitable Girl, Ali performed the best of her releases and even spoiled the crowd with a few new unreleased songs to enjoy. Opening with Please Stay, other highlights included her new song Big Ones, favourite Cigarette, the only love song Ali’s written You’re a Piece of Shit, finishing on January and of course her anthem, Girlie Bits. Each time we see Ali perform, it’s always something we look forward to seeing again soon.
Before we knew it, the time had come for Liz Phair to join us in Melbourne. Having performed at Golden Plains over the weekend, Liz was ready to spend some time with her dedicated fans in the incredible Croxton Bandroom. With a packed out crowd, the singer-songwriter came out to an overwhelmed crowd ready for the night ahead. Joined in tow by her electric guitarist, Connor Sullivan, the live two-piece launched straight into Supernova before following it up with Johnny Feelgood.
No drum kit or fancy stage set ups, the pair were ready to settle in for the night to perform tracks from Liz’s pinnacle and world-renowned debut album Exile in Guyville, recently remastered in March 2018 to include tracks from her famed Girly-Sounds demo tapes. The tracks that followed include breakthrough single Never Said, Explain It To Me, 6”1, Help Me Mary and Ant In Alaska. Other favourites included Polyester Bride and Go West, as well as tracks from her self-titled 2003 album Extraordinary and Why Can’t I?. The encore gave the people what they wanted, more tracks from Exile, finishing on Fuck and Run and Divorce Song.
Liz Phair’s contribution to music should not be underestimated. As Ali highlighted throughout her set, Liz has empowered the next generation of musicians to find their voice and spread their truth. The team at MEL Live are heading over to Spain to Primavera Sound to catch Liz again later in the year, excited to see a lineup with equal female and male artists.
The night at Croxton was a memorable one, filled with lots of warmth and appreciation for good music.
It isn’t often that Tuesdays are interesting. However, Christine and the Queens have now set a new standard for early-weeknight gigs. The MEL Live team headed down to the Forum Theatre in anticipation to see the French sensation, and her latest album Chris. With expectations high, the night left us amazed at the raw talent of Héloïse Letissier and her back catalogue from her two successful albums.
Opening the set was a gaggle of backup dancers, huddled around in packs. The audience is confused at first as to why there is a mass of people whispering loudly on stage. That confusion is swept aside as Chris herself practically levitates onto the stage, launching into Comme si and following up with Girlfriend, much to the delight of screaming fans.
On stage, Christine and the Queens translates loud and clear - this is a show for everyone. Chris and band switch seamlessly from ballad to 80’s synth-pop tracks, giving everyone what they came for. The audience is treated to Paradis Perdus, a mash-up of fellow French artist Christophe’s track of the same name, and Kanye West’s Heartless. With a single spotlight shining down on her, the song is easily one of our highlights.
Belting out hit after hit, tracks such as 5 dols, Saint Claude and Doesn’t Matter go off without a hitch, and the Forum is transformed into a dance party. In between songs, Letissier is cool, calm and collected, not to mention hilarious. Her words resound with the audience, encouraging everyone to embrace the weird, and to be happy in their own skin. There is an overall feeling of love throughout the theatre - one that continues throughout the entire set.
We can’t say we’ve seen many acts with such a powerful stage presence, but now strongly believe that everyone should have the self confidence and entourage of talented performers that appeared on stage. While most of Chris’ tracks are in fact in French, and not everyone in the audience knows the language, there are no language barriers at this concert. What isn’t conveyed by the back up dancers is filled in by the emotions from Chris and her storytelling; the stage her paper, and the dancers her words.
In all the years we’ve been attending shows, this one in particular felt important. The crowd, diverse and immersed, were in a constant frenzy of emotions - ready to party and ready to be loved. Christine and the Queens created a safe space for music lovers to unite, embrace and to be themselves. The night, a celebration to let your freak flag fly and to stand out.
The show’s overall message, if you take anything away, is the importance of being unapologetically who you are meant to be. This is a show we will never forget.
We look forward to their imminent return.
Opening for Clairo was Erthlings, a Sydney band consisting of four 16 year old high school students. Don’t let their age fool you - their music speaks for itself and highlights talent that is beginning to be recognised. Being signed on after releasing one single, the band has already supported G Flip on a series of shows in late 2018, and was now invited to support Clairo during her Laneway sideshow. Moody, hazy guitar and bass, overlaid on sweeping drum beats. Add lead vocalist Issy’s chirpy and soothing voice, and you’ve got a recipe for success. Playing their main single Bridges and finishing their set on latest single Cuts and Bruises, the set was mesmerising to say the least - one could say almost out of this world. We haven’t seen the last of Erthlings.
It was now time for Clairo to take to the stage; performing to a sold-out audience, as well as it being her first ever performance to an Australian audience. Booked as a sideshow to her Laneway appearance, the room was electric and the anticipation built as the 20-year old lo-fi, electro-pop artist from Carlisle, Massachusetts took to the stage. Claire Cottrill and band launched straight into the popular tunes from Clairo’s debut EP diary 001 - tracks B.O.M.D and Hello? winning over the crowd instantly and getting the party started. For an artist yet to release an album, the success of Clairo’s EP and live stage performance cannot be understated, with her being booked for shows across the globe and at some of the biggest festivals around.
Enduring the heat, and the heckling of more than one starstruck lover in the crowd, Clairo danced and sang through all of her latest singles including Get With U, unreleased track Bags, and crowd-favourite Flaming Hot Cheetos. With temperatures soaring in the venue, the punters were kind enough to crowd-surf some snacks (Cheetos to be specific) straight to Claire and the band for nourishment. Finishing the set on Better, the crowd chanted for their return, and of course, were successful in their attempt to woo the band back to their place on stage. Performing Pretty Girl and 4EVER to close the night, Howler punters were left satisfied, and yet still wanting more.
We look forward to Clairo’s performances across Australia during the Laneway Festival and hope for her return soon to Melbourne.
Florence + the Machine bring love, dance and positive vibes to Melbourne.
Florence + the Machine graced us with their presence, delighting thousands of fans on a Friday night to perform at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Touring their fourth album, High as Hope, the band’s first performance since 2015 had them welcomed back to Melbourne with open arms.
The night commenced with support from New Zealand artist Marlon Williams and his four-piece band, The Yarra Benders. Warming up the crowd for Florence, Marlon wasted no time in opening with his track What’s Chasing You, his buttery voice and folksy guitar wowing the crowd and getting them ready for the night ahead. Oozing charm and cool, Williams continued to deliver, performing Party Boy and Vampire Again to a receptive audience. Williams’ unique sound was genre bending, wavering between indie rock, blues and folk, and was the perfect choice to open the night.
After intermission, it was finally time for Florence + the Machine to join the party; anticipation building as the crowd waited, marvelling at the beautiful and natural stage design as the band took their places. A lone figure emerges from the shadows and takes her place, swaying in a trance, and barefoot in a peach dress. Florence opens the performance with June, and the crowd settles in for a big night ahead - already hooked on every word. Following it up with her latest single Hunger, Florence begins to dance across the stage, floating on air as she belts out the powerful chorus.
Addressing the audience, Florence ever so kindly explains to her fans that a Florence concert is “active” and audience participation is a big part of the night, encouraging people to get up out of their seats and to sign and dance along.
It’s the perfect moment to launch into her expansive back catalogue; performing crowd favourites Between Two Lungs and Only For a Night. Looking around the venue, it’s clear to see that everyone is mesmerised by the flurry onstage - Florence racing around, belting out her lyrics without fault. Her wild energy is unleashed as people cheer, when she leads into Queen of Peace; her raw and wild energy having her dance from end to end, twirling, singing, jumping around.
Mid-way through the set, Florence takes the opportunity to speak to the audience about her love for Australia, and her appreciation to her fans.
Reminding us of her humble beginnings, she thanks Australian for being one of the very first places to offer them a headline slot - performing at Laneway Festival back in 2010.
Throughout the night’s festivities, Florence continues to speak to the crowd with a purpose, highlighting what’s important to her, telling us about her music’s meaning and about the current state of the world. South London Forever tells us about the special meaning around the place you grow up - the memories, the moments and how it shapes you as a person. Patricia was a chance to speak about toxic masculinity, and how we should be supporting all people - highlighting everyone in attendance had shown their true colours by supporting women, and supporting Florence + the Machine. Dog Days Are Over was a chance for something different; with Florence requesting for everyone to nicely pass on the message to get off their phone, or alternatively, to yell “get off [your] f**king phone!” at each other.
Delivering hit after hit, the set was concluded with fan favourite Cosmic Love, Delilah and finally, What Kind of Man. Florence took the opportunity to jump off stage, rushing up and down the aisles of the Bowl to sing, dance, and party with each of her fans. Making their grand re-entrance shortly after leaving the stage, the encore was a chance for her to spend time with different sections of the crowd while performing Moderation, Big God, and finishing a magical night with Shake It Out.
As usual, Florence + the Machine performed to a sell out crowd, created something truly wonderful and intimate, finding beauty in being vulnerable and being yourself. The band will continue to spread their joy across Australia, performing at A Day on the Green, Brisbane and in Sydney.
The Wombats are no strangers to Australian shores; and in their latest installment of intimate headline dates, MEL Live were fortunate enough to attend their sold out Monday night show at the Palais Theatre.
The night commenced with an energetic performance from upcoming electro-pop sensation Eves Karydas. Having seen Eves perform at Laneway Festival in 2015, it was exciting to see all of her hard work manifest into a vibrant live show, leveraging the success of her debut album Summerskin.
Rolling through crowd favourites such as Couch and Further Than The Planes Fly, the crowd quickly warmed up to the catchy melodies and raw live energy. Our favourite moment of the set was hearing how excited Eves was to perform her final track off the album, Wildest Ones, in such an iconic Melbourne venue.
Eves Karydas is an artist to put on your radar, and will be touring Melbourne again in February. Tickets can be found here.
Before long it was time for the Wombats to take to the stage. Celebrating the release of their new album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, the Wombats came out and launched straight into Cheetah Tongue, before throwing back to Give Me A Try and 1996.
The setlist continued to perfectly encompass all of the hits that have given the Wombats a household name, blending new hits such as Lemon To A Knife Fight and Turn with the old classics Techno Fan and Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves).
What became apparent throughout the show was how dedicated the band’s fans are. Hanging off every word, the crowd were engaged from the moment they were told to get out of their seats, through to the performance of Let’s Dance To Joy Division, before the encore with people dressed up as wombats dancing across the stage. The Wombats finished with a three song encore, ending the show with Greek Tragedy.
Once again, we leave a Wombats show wondering how long until we see them again, knowing that it definitely won’t be the last time.
The future is promising for New Zealand’s pop scene.
Nelson-born pop artist Robinson has spent the year performing to audiences all around the globe, and now Australia can be added to the list; performing her first ever concert on our shores to the intimate audience at the Northcote Social Club.
The 22 year old came onto the stage, and the audience was reeling in anticipation. After performing her opening track Crave You, Robinson had made it clear that we were in for a show. Reminiscent of the time Lorde performed at the Workers Club back in 2013, Robinson proved to the audience why she had been nominated by the NZ Music Awards for both Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Single of the Year.
With over 70 million streams to her name, the audience watched on and at times, sang along as Robinson danced and sung her singles to a receptive and eager audience. Highlights of the set included Don’t You Forget About Me, Medicine and a cover of I’m On Fire by Bruce Springsteen; performed as a beautiful rendition on piano. Finishing her set with her breakthrough single Nothing to Regret, it was a faultless performance filled with positive energy and good vibes.
It’s clear that Robinson will soon be enjoying the spotlight on a much larger stage, and the only criticism of the show is that we never wanted it to end. What we were privileged enough to witness on a standard Wednesday evening in the Northern suburbs was something truly special, and it’s only a matter of time before she becomes a household name.
This won’t be the last time we attend a Robinson show, but we are thankful that we got to see her emotional and raw performance in such an intimate setting. We are already eagerly awaiting future announcements to see her again.
Gang of Youths have had a successful 2018.
They started the year strong in Triple J’s Hottest 100 Countdown, claiming spots #2 (Let Me Down Easy), #5 (The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows) and #10 (What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?), as well as securing a number of other positions in the countdown from their 2017 release Go Farther in Lightness.
When the announcement came out that Gang of Youths were embarking on the Say Yes to Life tour, it was no surprise that their biggest Australia tour yet included 8 sold out shows in Melbourne; a lap of honour to the success of their latest album.
Off the back of a European Tour and sold out North American Tour, the Sydney five-piece played hit after hit from their ARIA Apple Music Album of the Year as well as the much loved classics and a cover of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer.
With audiences hanging off every word, the energy from the show pulsated through the audience, making every weekday show feel like a Saturday night at the Forum.
It’s clear from their latest set of shows that Gang of Youths are here to stay, and we are looking forward to what’s next.
To see the full setlist from their shows, click here.
On a quiet Wednesday evening, we headed down to the Workers Club in Fitzroy to attend Homeslice, an event sponsored by Moon Dog Craft Brewery and in support of HoMie. Complete with a fundraiser, the event was run to spread awareness of young people experiencing homelessness.
The night began with a lively performance from the band Danitchy, who packed out the Workers Club from the beginning of the set through to the end. DMA-vibes were cast and the four-piece played an energetic set. Our favourite song from their performance was Natalieves, and we’d highly recommend checking them out.
Next up was Zoe and the Milkmen. Zoe’s vocals were flawless, and the indie-pop mixed with soul and funk had the room dancing, singing along and ready for anything. The standout song from the performance was their single Pain is a Losing Game, and when the set drew to a close, we found ourselves wanting more.
Before the headline act came on stage, a fundraising raffle was drawn, with proceeds going towards aiding youth experiencing homelessness. It was great to see so many fresh faces coming out to support such a great cause. A big credit to the team at Homeslice for putting the night all together.
The evening commenced with a performance from Taylor Piggot, indie-pop singer/songwriter whose calm melodies were reminiscent of early John Mayer material, with the occasional folksy Jack Johnson. Taylor’s song Dreams is worth a listen, and we hope to see him around again soon.
Overall, an extremely enjoyable night out for the MEL Live team, and all for a good cause.