Contemporary Music at Sydney Festival

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December 31, 2021
Sydney Festival
Need help navigating all the goodness stretched across January at Speakers Corner?

Need help navigating all the goodness stretched across January at Speakers Corner? Look no further than this handy guide, breaking down the contemporary music highlights in four genre-hopping categories.

The rock gods

If you’re eager for the spirit of a sweaty, sticky-floored rock venue, only with a lot more fresh Sydney air, Speakers Corner has your number. The guitar crunching antics begin with Melbourne’s punk-rock believers Amyl and the Sniffers (6 January), who delivered one of the standout albums of 2021 with Comfort To Me

Get in the mood with Amyl and the Sniffers’ ‘Guided By Angels’. The music video features Sniffers’ frontwoman and human firework Amy Taylor tearing it up around different locations like only she can. 

The dance crew  

Good news for your starved feet: Speakers Corner has the groove goods. In fact, the very first event to christen the pop-up venue comes from taste making Sydney label Future Classic, which you might know as the force behind electronic supernovas like Flume, Flight Facilities and Ta-ku.  

Future Classic x Sydney Festival Warm Up (5 January) is headlined by another of the label’s brightest stars, the bass guitar-slapping disco don Michael Di Francesco, aka Touch Sensitive, who you know from jams like ‘Pizza Guy’ and ‘Lay Down’. (He also brought his bass wizardy to Genesis Owusu’s 2021 ARIA Album of the Year, Smiling with No Teeth)  

Mr. Sensitive is joined by Korean-Australian rap crew 1300, South Australia’s indie-pop newcomer Jack Slade and a host of DJs. That, friends, is a stacked night. 

If Future Classic’s affair doesn’t clear all the cobwebs, come on back for Welsh electronic renegade Kelly Lee Owens’ Australian debut (14 January), whose 2020 album, Inner Song, traversed alternative pop, house and techno. Or fling those arms to the heavens in praise of disco divinity when Sunshine and Disco Faith Choir (12 January) put gospel choral spin on beloved house music classics. 

Can we suggest perfecting your moves to the video for Touch Sensitive’s 2019 groover, ‘Before U Met My Body’? 

The hook lovers 

If a combo of indie-pop, surf-rock and alternative R&B describes your ultimate playlist, you’ve come to the right place. Your options begin with King Stingray (January 14), the one-of-a-kind Yolngu surf rock band from Yirrkala in East Arnhem Land. If you’ve heard the likes of ‘Hey Wanhaka’, ‘Get Me Out’ and  ‘Milkumana’ on triple j rotation, you know these fellas have got the goods.  

Other highlights for the indie-included include folktronica singer-songwriter Gordi (January 8) plus if you need an extra nudge, here’s King Stingray in unstoppable get-up-and-dance mode in the music video for ‘Milkumana’.  

Want more? Check out our full line up for Speakers Corner here.


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