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Love List:
Vivid LIVE 2021

by Ben Marshall

Love List is our Spotify series where we ask Opera House guests, friends and staff to curate a playlist dedicated to an artist, genre or subject of their choice.

Ben Marshall is the creative mind behind contemporary music at the Sydney Opera House and Vivid LIVE curator for the sixth time over seven years. Ben has brought prolific acts to the Opera House, including Solange, The National and Dirty Three. For Vivid LIVE 2021, Ben drew on Australia’s immensely talented, multifaceted musical communities to put together a contemporary music festival that celebrated local music in the incredible Harbour City. While Vivid LIVE 2021 will unfortunately no longer proceed, we look forward to welcoming you back to the Opera House for Vivid LIVE 2022. In the meantime, chuck on your headphones and enjoy Love List: Vivid LIVE 2021; an ode to the emerging Australian voices and world-class icons of the festival that wasn’t.

▷ BLESSED – Sorrows

“Versatile and emotional, he’s written many great songs but let’s start here with the mighty BLESSED.”

Sampa The Great – Final Form

“Surging horns provide a bright, vibrant backdrop to Sampa’s powerful ode to her Zambian heritage, who she is and where she’s going.”

▷ Briggs – Bad Apples

“Briggs’ muscular songwriting at its cinematic, truthful best, and the song he named his record label after, the first Indigenous Australian owned and operated record label.”

Multiple rappers on stage for Brigg's house party show in 2019


Briggs’ Bad Apples House Party from Vivid LIVE 2019. Image: Daniel Boud

▷ Genesis Owusu – Don’t Need You

“The confidence, defiance and flair of Genesis Owusu simply oozes out of this highlight from last year’s Smiling Without Teeth.”

▷ TEEKS – These Hands

“Remember his name, TEEKS is heading for soul superstardom, and it starts here.”

▷ G Flip – Killing My Time

“A giant slab of shimmering in-your-face pop, delivered on G Flip’s own inimitable terms and a clear statement of intent to redefine paths to music stardom.”


G-Flip kicking back in the Joan Sutherland Theatre

▷ Flight Facilities – Lights Up

“Fantastic merger of 90s Detroit and Chicago house sounds and modern production, glued together with the immense charisma of Channel Tres.”

▷ Young Franco – About This Thing

"This ridiculously catchy track with Scrufizzer was the first Young Franco piece I heard and it still rocks."

▷ Golden Features – 1991

“Sinister, dark, bass-drenched testament to Golden Features’ year of birth. Listen loud.”

▷ Liars – Plaster Casts of Everything

“Liars’ new single ‘Big Appetite’ is fantastic, go check it out, but I can’t help but choose my favourite, fierce, Liars song (the final minute from 2 mins 56 secs is the peak). Listen louder.”

▷ Low Life – Lust Forevermore

“Genius, jagged song from Sydney’s post-punk heroes. We’re lucky to have them.”


Still from Low Life’s 2020 Digital Season performance in the Joan Sutherland Theatre

▷ RVG – A Quality of Mercy

“The jangly/dark song that originally hooked me – it sounds post-punk, Australian and 100% uniquely RVG.”

▷ Methyl Ethel – Twilight Driving

“Gorgeously angular, chiming song that captures so much of what makes this Perth art-rock band so compelling.”

▷ Georgia Maq – Driving Blind

“Best known as singer, songwriter and guitarist for Camp Cope, “Driving Blind” from her debut solo album displays a thrilling indie synth pop left turn, with all the integrity and vulnerability you’ve come to expect.”


Georgia Maq performing as part of Camp Cope in the Utzon Room

▷ HTRK – Venus in Leo

“Spacious, disquieting and compelling, “Venus in Leo” captures so much of what makes HTRK essential listening.”

▷ Tangents – Terracotta

“Sublime orbital post-rock from one of the finest modern exponents of the form, this is brain music with a heart.”

▷ GODTET – Enumerating

“Floating, joyous instrumental track remeniscent of early Bonobo, and cannot help but put you in a good mood.”


Still from GODTET’s ‘60 Giant Steps – A Cosmic Reimagining of John Coltrane’ performance as part of the Digital Season in 2020

▷ Tiny Ruins – Carriages

“One of the very best folk artists working, once you hear this song you’ll be as grateful as David Lynch that Hollie Fullbrook is making music for us.”

▷ Liz Martin – Led Me Down

“ABC Radio National’s Tim Richie described Liz Martin as ‘Evocative, alluring and strangely comforting’ and I’m not sure that description can be topped for this wonderful song..”

▷ King Stingray – Hey Wanhaka

“Awesome surging Yolŋu surf-rock from the Northern Territory and descendants of members of the original Yothu Yindi.”

▷ Connan Mockasin – Charlotte’s Thong

“9 minutes of unashamedly fabulous 70s soft rock grooves from NZ’s pop maverick.”

▷ Angie McMahon – Slow Mover

“Her breakout single, an aching and moving ode to indecision.”

▷ Gordi – Unready

“Three and a half minutes of pure sonic radiance from Bon Iver protégé Dr Sophie Payten, aka Gordi.”

Gordi performing in the Opera House


Gordi standing outside the Opera House. Image: Daniel Boud

▷ Alice Skye – Party Tricks

“A sinuously building slow-burner from Wergaia woman Alice Skye, pointing to great things from I Feel Better But I Don't Feel Good, her forthcoming album on Bad Apples.”

▷ Eliza Hull – Going Soon

“Swirling indie-folk displaying Eliza’s textured voice to great effect.”

▷ Hiatus Kaiyote – Get Sun

“Blazing back after 6 years between albums, the luxurious strings & horns of this lead single from their new album heralds a mighty return for the polyrhythmic genre-fluid champions.”

Hiatus Kaiyote performing in the Opera House


Hiatus Kaiyote performing as part of the Nooks & Crannies series

▷ Miiesha – Damaged

“A piece of powerful, personal R&B from breakout start and Aṉangu/Torres Strait Islander woman Miiesha.”

▷ Budjerah – Missing You

“Young Bundjalung man Budjerah’s voice is truly incredible to experience live, enjoy this taste at the start of his career – you’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.”

▷ Electric Fields – Don’t You Worry

“Feel your mood lift with this huge song from the brilliant duo soundtracking this year’s Lighting of the Sails, and may be making an appearance in a Club somewhere over Vivid LIVE.”

Gordi performing in the Opera House


Electric Fields performing on the Opera House forecourt

▷ Skeleten – Live In Another World

“Irridescent dance music next door to Hot Chip, Russell Fitzgibbon’s Skeleten project continues to impress.”

▷ Hermitude – Stupid World

“Surging, uplifting emotive track from Blue Mountains heroes.”

▷ Cosmo’s Midnight – C.U.D.I. (Can U Dig It)

“Sun-drenched is the only word for this glowing cut from Sydney’s own Cosmo’s Midnight.”

Gordi performing in the Opera House


The boys from Cosmo's Midnight seated outside the Opera House

▷ Rainbow Chan – Nest

“A vibrant, off-kilter gem from talented Sydney producer, vocalist and interdisciplinary artist Rainbow Chan.”

▷ Marcus Whale – Undead

“Latest emotive, synth-heavy single from the multi-faceted Marcus Whale.”

▷ The Necks – Blue Mountain

“With 16 studio albums, four live albums and two soundtracks, it’s shame to only be able to choose from one album on Spotify, but this is my pick for these shapeshifting masters of sound – a closing 20 minute musical world unto itself. ”

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