Last year’s winners
January 30th 2018
Introducing Sydney’s most exciting music, arts and culture – as voted by you!
We’ve just unveiled the FBi SMAC Award winners at an awards ceremony at Carriageworks, broadcast live on 94.5FM. Hosted by FBi favourite FlexMami, the awards featured live performances from Okenyo, Body Type and Party Dozen.
We’re especially proud to announce the 2017 SMAC of the Year: Sally Rugg. As the Sydney-based spearhead of GetUp’s YES campaign, Sally’s tenacity, compassion and belief galvanised a movement, supported a community and helped achieve a landslide postal vote result and swift legislative vindication.
Telepathic dancer, fem cyborg, giant gummy worm collaborator – Angela Goh’s performances bridge tropes of femininity and the supernatural to reveal what is unknown, yet somehow familiar. In 2017, as well as the continued touring of solo work Desert Body Creep and Predictable Dances, Angela created choreography for five dancers at Campbelltown Arts Centre as part of Scum Ballet where fantasy was the weapon, the body was the ammunition, and the target was forever transforming. She also travelled to the UK with Auto Italia for Body Loss, a new performance that displaced the female voice. Angela Goh’s dance works transport you, not between places or times, but between moods and sensations.
BEST ARTS PROGRAM
Drones, oil pressure vibrators and grappling with politics whilst standing on top of an artist. Presented by Performance Space, Liveworks 2017 pushed the boundaries of contemporary art at every twist and turn. This year’s ambitious program showcased an incredible line-up of artists from right across Australia and the Asia-Pacific, digging deep into the past and upholding the festival’s unbreakable grip on the present.
Putting an exciting spin on the much-loved Marrickville incarnation, owners Alex Elliott-Howery and James Grant opened sister cafe Cornersmith Annandale with a pretty notable difference. Retaining all the best bits – the strictly seasonal menu, produce sourced through a network of local producers, the shelves full of famous jams, pickles and ferments – the Annandale cafe is 100% vegetarian. Head chef Sabina Spindler pushes the meat-as-secondary ethos to the extreme, and we’re hooked.
BEST LIVE ACT – PRESENTED BY YOUNG HENRYS
This lo-fi four-piece are the embodiment of the D.I.Y. aesthethic – self-taught scuzz played on borrowed gear, confronting heartbreak and mundanity with dream-pop hooks and Bikini-Kill swagger. As evidence of their live bona fides, Body Type come fresh off a national tour with FBi faves POND, with Ariel Pink and Frankie Cosmos supports in the pipeline. Last year’s break-out single ‘Ludlow’ and 2017’s follow-up ‘Silver’ have been doing the radio rounds, building their devoted legion of fans – but it’s their rough-hewn, charismatic live performances that have put them ahead of the D.I.Y. guitar-pop pack.
BEST MUSIC EVENT – PRESENTED BY 42 BELOW
In its inaugural year, Soft Centre transformed the huge, industrial spaces of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre into a one-day festival of visual and sound experimentation – a pairing of art and music that positions it as Sydney’s answer to DARK MOFO. Alongside immersive performance pieces and site-specific works, local and international electronic artists such as DIN, Nite Fleit, and Via App were paired with sensory light works specifically designed to react with each set, creating unique, one-time experiences. In a crowded festival market, Soft Centre, by its unparalleled originality, truly stood out from the pack.
BEST ON STAGE
An extraordinarily powerful work by Bangarra Dance Theatre, Bennelong takes ownership of Australia’s black history. Moving through the past, present and future of indigenous culture, the hard-hitting story explores an ongoing connection to the land. The performance is centred around the story of Wollarawarre Bennelong, an Eora man who was kidnaped by Governor Phillip in 1789 and forced to live in the colonies. A moving journey of struggle and strength, resilience and resistance, the spirit of Bennelong lives on.
BEST SONG – PRESENTED BY APRA AMCOS
Rainbow Chan – ‘Let Me’
The genius of Rainbow Chan’s music lies in her ability to transform classic pop constructs into avant-garde electronic dreamscapes, and ‘Let Me’ is about as warped, twisted and broken as a pop song can get. It sounds as pained and jarring as the tale told in the song of finding the courage to break free from an exhausting on-and-off relationship. Chan finds clarity in the tumult through the internal monologue that drives ‘Let Me’, delivered through her incorruptible, crystalline vocals.
NEXT BIG THING
The past few years have seen women absolutely owning the traditionally male-dominated realm of guitar music… Angel Olsen, St. Vincent, Waxahatchee, Mitski, Frankie Cosmos, Girlpool and now scuzzy Sydney four-piece Body Type. Blending dream-pop rhythms, jangle-pop guitars and lo-fi aesthetics, Body Type arrived fully formed with last year’s debut single ‘Ludlow’, before cementing their reputation with 2017’s follow-up ‘Silver’. With a 100% hit rate Body Type are carving out their own space in Australian music for years to come.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Cloud Control – Zone
Since the release of 2013’s ‘Dream Cave’, Cloud Control have experienced some of the most tumultuous years of their decade-long career; weathering an exhausting succession of break-ups, break-ins and breakdowns. Four years in the making, entirely self-produced, and their first as a trio since the departure of founding member Jeremy Kelshaw, ‘Zone’ stands as Cloud Control’s most expansive and experimental record to date. It’s far grittier and emotionally complex than its dreamy predecessors, but preserves the colour and vibrant energy that defined their early sound. ‘Zone’ is a testament to tenacity – a deep meditation on hardship, loss, and transformation.
SMAC OF THE YEAR
Our Managing Director Clare Holland said it best: “A city’s culture is made up of countless moving parts. It is the result of complex interactions and intersections and whilst individuals can assert a certain influence, often the most effective tool we have in shaping our culture is through community. Communities provide space for expression and connection, they incubate ideas and fulfil the most human of needs – the need to belong. Built on the strength that belonging engenders, communities can grow into movements, bringing more and more people together until their ideas become common sense and the culture is changed forever.
Our 2017 SMAC of the Year winner shares FBi Radio’s belief in the power of community. She played a crucial hand not only in bringing her community’s voice resoundingly into the mainstream, but in codifying it in the law of the land. She helped build a broad coalition around the idea that Marriage Equality is a necessary ingredient of any culture that values equality, fairness and expression. Through the community that she fostered, those alienated and brutalised by the campaigns surrounding the vote found the strength and support to endure. And to prevail.”