Best Live Act - Presented by Young Henrys

Even though the way we enjoy gigs has continually changed shaped these past few years, a few things remain the same. A good live show will move your feet or your heart (maybe both), and leave you buzzing long after the curtains close. Seated, masked, separated, and in a well ventilated room with half the number of kindred spirits, which of these nominees still made magic on stage in 2022?

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Optic Nerve

Optic Nerve have made a defining impact on the local DIY scene with their fast and loose, yet intricate sound. Following their 2021 releaseIn a Fast Car Waving Goodbye’ the band has garnered notoriety for their energetic and impassioned live shows. Featuring screaming guitars with driving bass and drums as well as furious vocals, Optic Nerve have delivered second to none live performances this year, including a show at Sydney’s premiere (and 2022 FBi SMAC Award nominated) underground festival NAG NAG NAG VII.

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Lara Andallo

Filipino-Australian Lara Andallo is one of the most exciting artists in Australia’s booming R&B renaissance. Her sound is defined by the way she pairs her silky smooth vocals and lyricism with a very club-ready sensibility. With a background in dance, performance is a key component of Lara’s musical expression. She works closely with a choreographer to create a live show that harks back to the golden years of R&B in the early 2000s, combining intricate dance routines with expansive vocal performances to give a show that is all-out, all the time. Lara recently joined Baker Boy’s national tour following the release of their single ‘Headphones’, plus appeared on Nova Red Room, The Sound, and WOMAdelaide festival in front of 15,000 attendees. This year, she joined UK producer Joel Corry on his Australian tour, with his support acting as confirmation of her global appeal. 

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Kobie Dee

Kobie Dee is a Gomeroi man, rapper and master storyteller from Bidjigal Land in Maroubra, South Sydney. His latest single ‘Basics’ features deep bass and heavy drums with emotive lyricism that traces his roots all the way to where he is now, connecting with his audience through his own narrative. This is an artist who’s spent countless hours honing the craft of performing live – a dedication that’s paid off in a very big way in 2022. He started his year with a huge headline regional tour through Gomeroi Country, and has recently played his first headline shows in both Sydney and Melbourne, for which he was joined by UK rapper and The Guardian’s Ones To Watch artist, Jords. Kobie also showcased his new material in Germany in September as part of the Import Export Open festival program, Wor(l)d Connects presents: Conscious HipHop, Roots & Spoken Word between Sydney, London and Munich. If that weren’t enough, Kobie’s dynamic and exciting performances have earned him a spot on the Spilt Milk lineup, where he’ll play in Canberra, Ballarat and the Gold Coast across November and December.

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GEE TEE is the garage punk project musician Kel Mason. Having cemented their own signature powerful lo-fi groove on a plethora of home-recorded releases, they have also garnered a reputation for explosive, and often wild, live shows. GEE TEE began the year with shows at venues such as the Vic on the Park in Sydney, and The John Curtin in Melbourne before jetting off for an East Coast tour of the USA, featuring a particularly stellar performance at the famous garage rock extravaganza that is Goner Festival in Memphis.

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A.Girl is a Western Sydney-based, Māori artist who’s futuristic soul sound has firmly placed her as one of Australia’s premiere hip hop acts. With a huge love for performing live, A.Girl thrives on stage, building a meaningful connections with her audience every single time. Her power to hold the crowd’s attention is unmatched. Notable live performances from A.Girl’s busy 2022 schedule include the Sydney Opera House as part of VIVID Live and a captivating show at Phoenix Central Park. She’s also got a stacked festival season ahead with shows at Field Day and Spilt Milk coming up over the summer. 

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700 Feel

Local electronic force 700 Feel have spent 2022 captivating audiences with their sonically immersive live set. The duo’s two powerful singles released this year ‘4 Ya Kiss/4 Ya Bliss’, reflect an expansive sound that moves from ambient textures, to hip hop and dub infused grooves, to garage inspired club beats and then back again. This year 700 Feel have continuously shown that they’re a live act to be reckoned with, having performed incredible live sets at The Art Gallery of NSW, 108 Warehouse in Marrickville, and the prestigious FBi SMACs Fest earlier this year. 

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