Best Live Act - Presented by Young Henrys

The way we enjoy live music has changed a lot since COVID, but being able to create a live show with the power to move people remains rooted in the craft. These six nominees understand and embody this. Which one moved you most in 2021?   

 

1300

Korean-Australian hip-hop supergroup 1300 have been a breakthrough act in 2021; producing slick and versatile beats that flow between languages. The Western Sydney crew of five dropped gritty singles including ‘No Caller iD’ and ‘Smashmouth’ this year, cementing themselves as ones-to-watch. 1300 has performed as a part of the South Eveleigh Solstice Festival, at the Powerhouse Museum for The Wall 3.0, presented by EMC, and will be playing Future Classic x Sydney Festival in January.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Tasman Keith

Gumbaynggirr rapper Tasman Keith is an unbeatable force leading the hip-hop resurgence in Australia. Performing from an incredibly young age alongside his father Wire MC, Keith uses his music to continue the storytelling traditions of his community. His releases have been consistently refined, breaking new ground in story-driven hip-hop and amalgamating lived experience with a tone of self-assuredness. Keith and collaborator Kwame were featured live on ‘The Set’ in June, performing their 2021 single ‘ONE’.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Spvrrow

As an artist of distinctive stature, warmth and poise, Spvrrow’s music rummages culture and sound. From her 2019 breakout single ‘Drug Dealer’ through to this year’s release of ‘What I Said’, Spvrrow’s work has consistently a strong sense of lightness – cruising between delicious synths and balanced harmonies. Since participating in the Campbelltown Arts Centre’s Conscious artist development program in 2020, Spvrrow has performed as a part of the Sydney Opera House’s Barrabuwari programme, and also featured in Blacktown Arts’ Lockdown Series, ‘Connect’ this year.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Milan Ring

Sydney artist and multi-instrumentalist Milan Ring blends notes of soul production with sleek guitar licks and breathtaking vocals. She’s quickly becoming a collaborator and producer to behold, refreshing the sound of the local R&B scene with tastes of percussive fusion – her latest singles bring on the talents of artists including BLESSED and Che Lingo. Since supporting Sampa the Great at The Lair in 2018, she’s gone on to perform at the Sydney Opera House as a part of Barrabuwari and played her first headline show at Oxford Art Factory in June 2021. You can catch Milan Ring performing as a part of Future Classic x Sydney Festival in January.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Black Dahlia

Creating sinister dance floor dimensions and gothic live shows filled with distorted vocals, Black Dahlia fuses disparate sounds and values with crisp sensibility. With international travel off the menu, Black Dahlia’s craft has been doing all the flying. The mechanical repetitions in her latest EP ‘Animasochist’ develop a haunting tension, flickering with subtly textured syncopations and metallic hums. This year, she played Sydney’s Club 77 and performed alongside Bura Bura and Buzz Kull at La La La’s in Wollongong.

Photo courtesy of artist.

Arse

ARSE is abrasive, acidic and grinding. Since their 2017 album ‘Primitive Species’, ARSE have been performing EPs, ‘Safe Word and ‘Power Tripper’ and recently released a small selection of live recordings of new tracks ‘Prick in the Franga’ and ‘Shame (On You)’. Sounding both minimalist and anxiety-inducing, ARSE is innovative and commanding -pointing the finger at mundanity in a way that’s undeniably modern and raw. Audiences can look forward to a spate of summer shows from ARSE. 

Photo courtesy of artist.