Vivid LIVE 2021 full line-up revealed
Sydney – Tuesday 25 May, 2021. The Sydney Opera House today revealed the full line-up for its 12th annual centrepiece contemporary music event, Vivid LIVE 2021, taking place from 6 – 28 August as part of Vivid Sydney, the festival transforming the Sydney CBD each winter through a celebration of creativity and innovation.
Curated for the sixth time over seven years by Sydney Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Music, Ben Marshall, Vivid LIVE 2021 features more acts and dates than ever before including seven Australian exclusives, three world premieres, 17 Sydney Opera House debut acts, an anniversary, and two special, artist-curated projects. Transforming the world-famous building inside and out, Vivid LIVE 2021 will be presented across five Opera House venues including the spectacular Northern Broadwalk stage with sweeping harbour views, the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Utzon Room, Studio and Drama Theatre, which will host a variety of genre acts from electronic, pop, R&B, rap, soul, alt-rock, post-punk and experimental jazz.
Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Music and Vivid LIVE Curator Ben Marshall says: “It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to reach into Sydney and Australia’s immensely talented, multifaceted musical communities to put together this year’s Vivid LIVE event – a giant, open-to-all defiant celebration in the heart of our incredible Harbour City.
“From local and international communities formed over many years around Astral People, Club Kooky and Mad Racket, to Briggs’ curated evening, the incredible impact of G Flip and the remarkable event put together by BLESSED around his family of Western Sydney artists and beyond, this year’s Vivid LIVE is a reflection of local work of international scale and ambition. It’s a privilege to be staging the world premiere of Gareth Liddiard, Jim White & Chris Abrahams’ new album as well as finally letting Golden Features & Hermitude rip on the harbour and hosting the Opera House debuts of incredible artists like RVG, Miiesha and Connan Mockasin.
“Lighting of the Sails is an especially significant event this year – the new digital artwork Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, 2021 is a First Nations collaboration between the Pilbara’s eight Martu Artists and Sydney’s Curiious. Very few cities in the world at this time have the good fortune to come together like this, and I sincerely hope Vivid LIVE provides a moment for Sydney to surrender to art and beauty in a time of great turbulence. I look forward to Vivid LIVE being part of an extraordinary moment for the city I love.”
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres says: “Just as Vivid Sydney stands as one of the city’s true icons so too does the Sydney Opera House, and Vivid LIVE and the Lighting of the Sails are a wonderful partnership that showcases the creativity, innovation and technology Sydney and the festival is globally renowned for. The 2021 Vivid LIVE program is significant and exciting, and provides a different point of view for Vivid Sydney visitors to explore and enjoy.”
YARRKALPA – HUNTING GROUND, 2021 – LIGHTING OF THE SAILS
A stunning new digital artwork Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground, 2021, created by the Martu Artists and Sydney’s animation artists Curiious, will bring to life on the Opera House sails the Parnngurr community and its surrounding landscape, with an accompanying soundtrack by Electric Fields and the Martu Artists.
Extending First Nations stories on the country’s most iconic canvas, the artwork is inspired by the striking Martu Artists collective painting Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground, Parnngurr Area 2013 and part of the award-winning Yarrkalpa – Always Walking Country (2014) artwork by Martu/Wallworth/Anohni. The painting represents an intimate connection with country; cataloguing seasons, traditional burning practices and cycles of regrowth, hunting and vital natural resources, as well as abstracted ancestral stories.
Through consultation with the Martu Artists and the seamless connections between the tactile 2013 painting and their digital explorations, Curiious will create an artwork that brings to life the vibrancy, energy and rich storytelling of the Martu.
JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE
In a world-first performance, Australia’s newly formed avant-garde rock trio – The Drones’ and Tropical Fuck Storm’s Gareth Liddiard, Dirty Three’s Jim White and The Necks’ Chris Abrahams – make their global debut as Springtime, performing songs from their forthcoming record at Vivid LIVE, supported by Mess Esque (Mick Turner & McKisko).
In two Australian exclusive performances for Vivid LIVE, Sampa Tembo – better known as Sampa The Great – will debut her long-awaited new show An Afro Future, performing the four-time ARIA award-winning debut album The Return with her epic band, dancers, singers and special guests Mwanjѐ and KYE.
ARIA-nominated drummer, singer, producer, and self-taught writer Georgia Flipo (G Flip) will make her Opera House debut with her synth-pop anthems in her only Sydney headline show of 2021 this August. After uploading her debut single About You to triple j Unearthed in 2018, she played her first-ever solo show a month later at SXSW in Texas, and has been making waves internationally ever since.
In a celebratory return to the dancefloor, electronic powerhouse Golden Features – aka Australian producer Tom Stell – will share the stage with local hi-octane dance duo Hermitude, joining forces exclusively at Vivid LIVE for two nights with support from Motez and Ninajirachi.
Legendary Sydney queer underground institution Club Kooky will once again return to Vivid LIVE in a special one-off Northern Broadwalk takeover event with an unforgettable secret line-up that’s not to be missed.
ARIA award-winning duo Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell will return to the Northern Broadwalk with a feel-good party under the stars six years after performing for Future Classic’s 10th anniversary. Since then, the electronic dance masters have continued to evolve their sound, collaborating with vocalists from Emma Louise to Kylie Minogue and Reggie Watts. In 2021, Flight Facilities will deliver new music including their latest single, “Lights Up” produced in collaboration with Californian rapper, singer and producer Channel Tres.
To celebrate 10 years as one of Australia’s leading music management, touring and events companies and, as of 2019, an innovative record label, Astral People have curated a stellar line-up across an Australian exclusive, decade-defining weekender featuring Hiatus Kaiyote, Cosmo’s Midnight, Genesis Owusu & The Black Dog Band, Young Franco, DJ Seinfeld (SWE), Cashmere Cat (NOR), Milan Ring and Becca Hatch to name a few.
In an Opera House debut, NZ genre-bending, psych-pop surrealist Connan Mockasin will perform across two nights an unplugged solo set after the screening of never-seen-before episode of his five-part melodrama film, written and directed by Mockasin, about a fictional music teacher and his student: Bostyn ’n Dobsyn.
Australian folk-pop singer and producer Sophie Payten, aka Gordi, last played the Opera House when she livestreamed the performance of her official international album launch, Our Two Skins, while live music venues were closed to the public in 2020. She’ll return for two magnetic solo performances in the Drama Theatre.
Wong Kar-wai’s multi-award-winning Cantonese film is refracted onto the live stage in a world premiere live debut and Australian exclusive performance featuring a theatrical set, ‘60s style costumes, and sax-drenched renditions of the film’s romantic soundtrack alongside new music sung by Chinese-Australian artists Rainbow Chan and Marcus Whale with narration by Eugene Choi. First performed during lockdown, the audio-visual journey will guide the audience through a heartbreaking cycle of longing, intimacy and forbidden love.
Riding high on the success of her acclaimed debut album Salt, Melbourne singer-songwriter Angie McMahon makes her anticipated Opera House debut in a special solo piano performance. A gifted songwriter, guitarist and evocative vocalist, McMahon catapulted into the limelight after famously winning a competition to support Bon Jovi back in 2013.
Rising young soulful R&B superstar Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi, known by his mononym TEEKS, has been described as the male Adele. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter has already become a phenomenon in his homeland of New Zealand, going to #1 with his 2021 debut album Something to Feel, and is sure to dazzle Vivid LIVE audiences. An artist who is deeply proud of his Māoritanga, TEEKS leads from a Māori worldview which is integral to his work ethic and worldly output.
Internationally-acclaimed and ARIA award-winning Australian experimental jazz-rock trio The Necks will return to the Opera House for two entrancing performances this August. The Vivid LIVE alumni act are masters of long-form improvisation, creating mesmerising sonic experiences that swirl, evolve and unfold over hour-long sets.
After 18 years at the vanguard of experimental electronica and dub-rock, Victorian-based cult favourites HTRK will make their long-overdue Opera House debut performing new music at Vivid LIVE. The internationally renowned underground duo of Jonnine Standish and Nigel Yang continues to push, provoke and invite audiences with their dirge-like drum machine rhythms and sensuous vocals with the August release of their highly-anticipated fifth album, commissioned by the City of Melbourne’s Flash Forward project.
Three years after performing at the Opera House as lead singer-guitarist of Melbourne indie-rock band Camp Cope, Georgia Maq returns to make her solo Opera House debut, performing her latest record of shimmering synth-pop Pleaser in the Utzon Room.
Ahead of their forthcoming new album, treasured Auckland-based band Tiny Ruins, led by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hollie Fullbrook, return to Vivid LIVE for the first time in five years performing never-before-heard songs, showcasing their delicate folk and dream pop in the tapestry-lined Utzon Room.
In a double bill, Sydney instrumental post-everything group Tangents will launch their new album Timeslips & Chimeras, while Australian jazz collection GODTET, formed by prolific producer, beat-maker and multi-instrumentalist, Godriguez, will feature some of Sydney’s new generation of musicians in a unique, improvisational performance.
More than a decade since her last appearance performing Walking On Air with Aerialise troupe, multi-talented singer, songwriter and musician Liz Martin is making her exclusive return to the Opera House, bringing her evocative collaboration with Victorian composer, musician and disability advocate Eliza Hull, Into the Spaces Between the Notes, to the intimate surrounds of the Utzon Room.
Sydney producer and vocalist Russell Fitzgibbon’s most personal project to date, electro wanderer Skeleten, will bring his evocative soundscapes and ethereal vocals in an Opera House debut with a full live band and distinct accompanying visuals for a performance of all new music to the Utzon Room.
Bursting onto the music scene in 2020 with his infectious Australian debut single “Missing You”, 19-year-old Bundjalung descendent and soulful singer-songwriter Budjerah will make his Opera House headline debut with his unique sound that melds his childhood-inspired elements of gospel and soul with contemporary pop and R&B references.
Anangu/Torres Strait Islander woman and ARIA award-winning singer-songwriter, Miiesha, will make her Opera House headline debut at Vivid LIVE performing her world-class breakout 2020 album, Nyaaringu (meaning ‘what happened’ in Pitjantjatjara language) and new music including her latest single “Damaged”. Through beautiful R&B, neo-soul soundscapes she delves deep into telling a personal story that must be heard.
STUDIO – VIVID LIVE PARTIES
Celebrating the best in local club culture with an unmissable line-up, Vivid LIVE’s infamous Studio Parties return in 2021 with Opera House’s favourite club-scene innovators. This year’s line-up includes:
Returning for their first Opera House party since 2015, the iconic independent label, who counts Flume and Chet Faker on their roster, will bring a pulsating dance party to the Studio for Sydney’s club fans. The long-standing relationship with Opera House across the last nine years continues as the Future Classic DJs play alongside Australian electronic guru Touch Sensitive, Future Classic’s audacious new project Tseba followed by local Sydney DJ and radio presenter Deepa.
Leading Sydney’s club nights, Picnic will throw a huge Vivid LIVE Studio party starring a DJ set by Melbourne-based party starters Wax’o Paradiso, Simon TK and Edd Fisher, taking audiences on a wild ride into the depths of disco, house and techno. There will also be back-to-back sets from one-time FBi Radio resident electronic music guru Adi Toohey and club master Ben Fester, plus genre-hopping DJ Lauren Hansom and Picnic mastermind Kali.
Back by popular demand, Sydney’s legendary club collective and one of the city’s longest-running dance institutions Mad Racket returns to Vivid LIVE with a massive party in the Studio hosting a stack of Inner West dancefloor maestros featuring Mad Racket DJs Ken Cloud, Jimmi James and Simon Caldwell plus special guests Steppers – Steve Spacek, Edseven, Tom Studdy playing everything from future soul, Afrobeat, UKG, hip-hop, funk, Bruk, and house.
STUDIO – LIVE PERFORMANCES
In their Opera House debut, Perth indie genius Methyl Ethel – masterminded by singer, songwriter and all-round pop savant Jake Webb – performs their distinctive brand of hazy dream pop, psychedelic rock and quirky new wave sounds across two shows in the Studio.
Sydney's post-punk lords Low Life made their Opera House debut in a ferocious performance of guttural guitars and anthemic vocals streamed live from the Joan Sutherland Theatre as part of the Opera House's From Our House to Yours Digital Season in 2020. Now the cult punk heroes are bringing their majestic cacophony back to play for a full room, in addition to performing several new singles.
Capitalising on the success of his explosive house party at Vivid LIVE in 2019, Australian hip-hop icon Briggs returns this year with a line-up of friends from the abundant local hip-hop scene to rattle the Opera House Studio with beats and rapid-fire rhymes.
The world has never seen an African-Australian rock star, and guitar-wielding rapper, singer and producer BLESSED is destined to break this mould with one anthem after another. Bridging the worlds of punk and hip-hop, Ghana-born, Western Sydney-raised Samuel Joe-Andah has been challenging the ideals of a traditional rock star with his multifaceted talents in songwriting, production and creative direction. At Vivid LIVE he will exclusively perform DIASPORA, with appearances by friends and collaborators B Wise, Maina Doe, Manu Crooks and more in a special artist-curated evening.
Melbourne's beloved post-punk band RVG, led by the commanding frontwoman Romy Vager, has quickly become a force to be reckoned with on the local and international rock scene. In an Opera House debut, RVG will spellbind audiences with their highly anticipated sophomore album Feral (2020) – produced with PJ Harvey and Nick Cave collaborator Victor Van Vugt.
Avant-garde electro-punks Liars, led by Australian-bred songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Angus Andrew, are back after a three-year hiatus, delivering a dazzling dose of sonic experimentation to mark the release of their thrilling new record The Apple Drop.
For media information, please contact:
Vivid LIVE Communications Manager
0432 159 645