As the dust settles from the huge launch of Sydney's newest one-day festival Sydney City Limits, the inevitable question of sideshows was bound to arise. It's an understandable query, as the team behind Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival managed to put together a line-up stacked with some of the most sought after artists on the planet right now for their latest outing.
The festival itself is designed as a celebration of everything that is great about the Harbour City, but in the spirit of giving: we're sharing the love.
Ranging from The Libertines' first ever shows on Australian soil, through to homegrown heroes The Avalanches, buzz band Car Seat Headrest, Seattle's indie-pop gems The Head and the Heart, and so-hot-right-now Scandinavian hero Sigrid, there's something for every music lover in this dazzling array of extracurricular activity. Taking place across several states and hitting some iconic venues - these shows will provide the perfect antidote to any Sydney City Limits related FOMO.
Wed 28 Feb - Forum, Melbourne
Thu 01 Mar - Tivoli, Brisbane
NME described theirs as 'the greatest rock -n' roll story of their generation" and, even for a magazine famously prone to hyperbole, it's hard to argue their point. Australian punters now have their first chance to be part of the Libertines story with two exclusive Sydney City Limits side shows in Melbourne and Brisbane.
Born in a squat in East London in the late 90's via a chance meeting of the minds of two scallywags, The Libertines were signed after just one gig. Our heroes, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat quickly formed a reputation for mixing business with pleasure, tipping the music world upside down with their relentless chat, irresistible look and beautifully wasted tunes. Following in the footsteps of infamous English artists like The Clash, Madness and The Jam, The Libertines debut album Up The Bracket was hailed as an instant classic.
Using that record as a jumping off point, Doherty and Barat set off on a rollercoaster ride, careening across the globe in a haze of love, drugs, heartbreak and huge successes. Tunes like Time For Heroes, Don't Look Back Into The Sun and Can't Stand Me Now seemed to soundtrack their relationship in real time, finally culminating in a break up in 2004. Good songs never die though, and as the years rolled on it became clear that The Libertines had left a hole in the music world too big to be filled by anyone else. Reforming in 2010, they released their long awaited third record, Anthems for Doomed Youth in 2015, receiving a rapturous reception and setting the stage for their first ever shows Down Under.
Wed 07 Mar - Tivoli, Brisbane
Staging one of the comebacks of the century last year with their second album Wildflower, Australian sonic adventurers The Avalanches make their way back to sunny Queensland with a one-off Sydney City Limits sideshow at The Tivoli.
For years they were hidden in the musical wilderness, feeding off the steady props that continued to trickle through on the back of their stone-cold classic debut record Since I Left You, released all the way back in 2001. Tunes like Frontier Psychiatrist and the hypnotic title track marked this Melbourne-based collective as one of the most influential outfits in the history of Australian music as their patchwork, sample-friendly rave ups wove themselves into the fabric of our collective musical identity.
From that point, year after silent year would go by until suddenly, in May 2016, word came through of a 'hotline" which could be called with new Avalanches tunes waiting on the other side. As hype rolled on it was eventually confirmed that Wildflower was coming and that after 16 long years, we'd finally have new music.
What we didn't see coming was the revelation that, now shorn of all members but two (Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi), these boys would somehow pull of a Benjamin Button-esque miracle in which their skills and relevance had completely failed to age. Wildflower was brilliant and The Avalanches now possess a stage show befitting of a band with a momentous catalogue, not just one wondrous record.
Car Seat Headrest
Sun 25 Feb - Rosemount Hotel, Perth
Wed 28 Feb - Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne
Thu 01 Mar - Triffid, Brisbane
A band propelled by the raw power of exceptional songwriting, Seattle's Car Seat Headrest will capitalise on their status as everyone's new favourite band by playing their biggest Australian shows to date in Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The brain-child of a prodigious Virginian native, Car Seat Headrest began in 2010 when 17-year-old Will Toledo started gathering his thoughts and setting up a makeshift recording studio in his family's car. Touching on a range of subjects not usually accessible to the mind of someone so young, Toledo relocated to Seattle, recruited a band and set to translating these unique visions into kaleidoscopic colour. The effect was immediate and the band began to make waves - listener after listener falling in love with Toledo's songs of love, loss, death, drunken parties and 2nd Century theologians. Always writing and recording, Toledo self- released tunes regularly but it wasn't until signing with tastemakers Matador in 2015 that his prolific catalogue was condensed into two records: first Teens of Style and then Teens of Denial.
Their pulsing, guitar led reveries are ecstatic, exciting and completely addictive, and the scale at which Toledo operates on is impressively wide. As a result, Car Seat Headrest have whipped up a frenzy of interest worldwide, taking in talk shows, huge festivals and now famous venues as they hit Australian shores.
Fri 23 Feb - The Triffid, Brisbane
Wed 28 Feb - Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Brisbane and Melbourne will get a taste of the future as 21-year-old Norwegian artist, Sigrid, hits The Corner and The Triffid respectively in her exclusive Sydney City Limits sideshows.
First noticed in her native land at the age of 17 after accompanying her brother for a performance, Sigrid followed her musical muse all the way to a fated co-writing session with some big shot producers. Unfortunately (for them) it didn't work out, as they patronised the young singer, talking over her and de-valuing her ideas. Scorned by the process, Sigrid did what good songwriters do best: she wrote a song about it. The resultant single Don't Kill My Vibe has turned into something of an anthem of self-empowerment with its defiant hook: 'you think you're so important to me don't you?" ringing out across over 23 million Spotify streams and marking Sigrid as a star in the making. As fierce and confident as they come, Sigrid's enthusiasm for her craft is infectious and undeniable. Like a super-charged Joni Mitchell set against sparkling production, she is destined to wow Australian audiences on her first trip here in 2018.
The Head And The Heart
Thu 01 Mar – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
In 2014, exhausted after four years of non-stop touring, the six members of The Head and The Heart pointed their individual compasses to new cities, new relationships and new adventures. When they regrouped in the summer of 2016 in Stinson Beach, CA, to start writing together again, 'it almost felt like we were a new band, trying things we hadn't tried," Zasche recalls. 'We stayed at a bungalow on the beach. We'd wake up, have coffee and go boogie boarding. We were ready and excited to be back together." This culminated in Signs of Light their third studio album, full of indie-pop gems like -All We Ever Knew' and -Turn It Around' – must-see live staples that feel like they could be mountain-scented lost tracks from Fleetwood Mac's Mirage; a throwback that feels cozy and stylish at the same time. Don't miss Seattle's finest this summer in Melbourne!
Thursday 01 March - Hisense Arena, Melbourne
Untouchable purveyors of the finest French electro-disco, Justice will hit Australian stages off the back of their latest bag of tricks, Woman. Released last year to momentous critical acclaim, the record saw these Parisian wizards take a slight left turn from a much-loved MO, incorporating live instrumentation and vocalists and whipping up a warm danceable delight. Woman sits snug next to Justice's famed back catalogue, a collection which exploded like a firecracker in 2007 with their seminal hit We Are Your Friends, their collaboration with English rockers Simian which charted worldwide and defined the dance-floor ready, electro-pop which permeated that era. As they emerged on trend, they continued to rise to power through tracks like D.A.N.C.E (nominated for a Grammy) and via their second record Audio, Video, Disco, a more prog-rock oriented delight.
Consummate professionals who command every corner of the stadiums they now inhabit; Justice will take Hisense Arena by storm in their only Australian live show outside of Sydney City Limits.
Friday 23 February – Forum Theatre, Melbourne
Monday 26 February – The Triffid, Brisbane
Wednesday 28 February – The Gov, Adelaide
Thursday 01 March – Rosemount Hotel, Perth
In an era in which pop careers require careful planning, Oh Wonder are an anomaly. They're a band formed by accident not design, a duo who didn't intend to play live but spent more than a year touring the world, and a major label act who never saw this being anything other than a DIY project.
Ultralife is both Oh Wonder's extraordinary second album and their debut proper. Its eponymously-titled predecessor, released in late 2015, was a collection of songs they had posted online at the rate of one a month, which millions of listeners fell in love with, turning London-based Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West into reluctant pop stars. Don't miss their magic SCL sideshows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth this summer!