Best Live Act

Presented by Young Henrys

Advances in technology are making it easier and easier to get music recorded and out there in the world, but being able to translate it into a live show with the power to move people remains rooted in commitment to craft and authenticity. These six nominees understand and embody this. Which one moved you most in 2018?   

 

DIN

DIN, composed of previous ‘Best Song’ winner Rainbow Chan and Alex Ward (aka Moon Holiday), make hypnotic dance music with an experimental, DIY sensibility. Chan and Ward’s club-ready collaboration released their debut self-titled EP in May as a more permissive outlet for unutilised ideas from their solo efforts. This freewheeling, creative approach shines through in their live performances, where the duo fuels dancefloors with dark, mechanical, sublime grooves. In a club setting, DIN’s mix of repetitive cadences and cyberpunk soundscapes proves totally irresistible.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Slim Set

Since ‘Cooked’ dropped at the start of the year, Slim Set have been inescapable. Since it (and its fantastic accompanying video) was released, Slim Set have played and inevitably been a highlight at Secret Garden, Soft Centre, Live and Local Parramatta, Purple Sneakers Twelfth Birthday, Our Hood, and FBi’s own 15th birthday party, alongside countless others. Slim Set’s grimey club-rap has an energy perfectly suited to the stage, and the chemistry between the MC Dev and his producer Atro is infectious. Their latest EP, Feed, was itself the product of extensive trial and error at live shows. Having played so prolifically since then can only bode well for their next release.

Photo: Jonno Revanche

Freda & Jackson

Freda & Jackson, made up of Jackson Fester and Brad Landy (aka Freda), have spent the year playing consistently brilliant DJ and live sets, showcasing their own fresh, downtempo house alongside impressively diverse selections from their renowned record collections. In 2018 the duo played at Freedom Time, Picnic x Harry’s 1st Birthday, Heavenly’s 5th Birthday, Maximum Joy, Hopkins Creek and Last Dance NYE, as well an ambitious 6 hour set for Pleasure Cycle. A Freda & Jackson show promises to be a journey, twisting and turning on the way to dancefloor euphoria.  

Photo courtesy of the artist

Sampa The Great

In a city swamped with excellent neo-soul acts, Sampa The Great has always stood out. Having recently moved to Melbourne, the Zambia-born, Botswana-raised artist continues to put on stellar live shows. 2018 was a huge year for Sampa, with her poetic, soul-tinged hip hop touring Europe, opening for Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$, and Sampa dropping her award-winning Birds and the Bee9 mixtape. Sampa has always said her stage name was more of an aspiration than an accurate self-description, and with each passing year that’s beginning to sound more modest. Now one of the country’s most recognisable hip hop acts, Sampa’s live shows maintain their trademark intimacy regardless of how big they get.

Photo: Harry Deadman

 

Dispossessed

Sydney metal four-piece Dispossessed have built a well-earned reputation for their uncompromising, politically-charged performances. Harry, Serwah, Jacob and Jarrod’s message of indigenous resistance and decolonisation is an essential part of both their music and their live performances. In their own words: “We’ve got enough people singing about oceans and ex-girlfriends playing in types of music that originated in political resistance”. On stage, Dispossessed’s hard-hitting music and message coalesce into something animated and urgent. Drawing on punk, hardcore, metal and shoegaze, Dispossessed offer an eclectic antidote to a heavy music scene that’s often homogenous and exclusionary.

Photo: Zsuzsanna Dominika Ihar

100

What 100 lacks in search engine optimisation they more than make up for where it really counts: up close and live, 100’s hard-hitting, punchy post-punk comes in to its own. Rowen, Jaryd, Paris and Colby tread the boards with a combination of reflective angst and swaggering confidence. Having played alongside Shame, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, A. Swayze & The Ghosts, Pist Idiots, Mezko and Zeahorse, 100 are quickly building a reputation as one of Sydney’s must-see live acts.

Photo courtesy of the artist