Last year’s Live at the Bowl series was an enormous success. After the lockdowns of 2020, the iconic outdoor amphitheatre helped bring live performance back to the city, creating a series of curated shows that mixed smaller and more diverse acts with Australian music legends such as Archie Roach, Cash Savage and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.
Returning for a second year, the series is offering the same stylistic diversity in 2022.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” says Olivia Jackson, curator at Australian Music Vault. The Vault – an interactive, multi-year exhibition that tells the ongoing story of Australian music through personalised memorabilia and related archival objects – opened at Arts Centre Melbourne (which also runs the Sidney Myer Music Bowl) four years ago. Recent additions include Mo’Ju’s coat from the Native Tongue clip, Baker Boy’s costume from the Cool As Hell clip (some of which were hand-painted by the rapper’s father) and a guitar used by Daddy Cool’s Ross Hannaford.
An expert on Aussie music and a committed gig-goer, Jackson shares some of her top picks for the second year of Live at the Bowl. Just be sure to snap up tickets quick, because they won’t last long.
The Teskey Brothers and Orchestra Victoria
Late in 2020, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Australian Music Vault presented a series of digital concerts called Vault Sessions. With no audience allowed at the time, the Teskey Brothers recorded a 60-minute live set in collaboration with Orchestra Victoria. The resulting Live at Hamer Hall album marks a bold re-imagining of the Warrandyte band’s songbook. Now the Teskeys finally get to play it to a full house alongside the 45-piece orchestra.
“We were so proud of the Vault Sessions digital concerts,” Jackson says. “It’s going to be really exciting to see this come to life with a live audience.” The support act will be soul ensemble Emma Donovan & The Putbacks, who took home three Music Victoria Awards in December. “It’s a must-see.”
Saturday January 22, 6.30pm
One Song: The Music of Archie Roach
In this free event, the legendary Archie Roach (in collaboration with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra composer-in-residence Paul Grabowsky) will join the MSO at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. “I saw Archie play the Bowl last season and it was one of the best performances I have ever been to in my life – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end,” says Jackson. “To be in the audience when Archie is onstage is a privilege, and one I will never take for granted.”
In One Song, Archie Roach will explore themes of connection and shared history, demonstrating that “we have sung the world into existence, into meaning, and that the common thread of song links back to an origin, to the birth song of all things”.
Saturday February 19, 7.30pm
Sorbaes: Double Dip
Also appearing for the second year, Sorbaes is an extended collaboration between DJ-designer Soju Gang and Footscray Community Arts. This year is set to feature another slate of up-and-coming acts including Barkaa, Jerome Farah and Kira Puru with Lay, Mulalo, Young Rorty and many more. “Last year was so fun – it was a great line-up and great summer vibes,” says Jackson. “I’m really looking forward to this year.”
Saturday March 12, 4pm–10pm
It’s taken Sydney electronic duo Flight Facilities seven years to follow their era-defining 2014 album Down to Earth, which makes the recently released Forever all the more cause for celebration. “I can’t believe it’s only their second album,” Jackson says. “Crave You was the house party anthem of 2010, so I feel like they’ve been around for so long. They’ve made such an impact.”
This year, Flight Facilities will drag along a jaw-dropping supporting cast of Cosmo’s Midnight, Jayda G, CC:DISCO!, Sycco and Merci, Mercy. “It’s going to be a day for dancing,” Jackson says.
Saturday 26 March, 4pm
All-ages gig from The Push
The last time youth music organisation The Push curated a line-up for Live at the Bowl, it sold out in minutes. Headlined by Skegss and Ruby Fields, that bragging-rights concert was so popular that even Jackson didn’t get to snag a ticket in time. She’s aiming to remedy that this year.
Organised by The Push in collaboration with Arts Centre Melbourne, with its delivery led by a team of tastemakers aged 15 to 17, the gig will again be all-ages and drug, alcohol and smoke-free. “It was one for the books,” says Jackson of the first year’s runaway success. “I feel like this year will be no different. It’s great having things for all ages, and I’m very confident the line-up’s going to be excellent.” So keep an eye out for that pending line-up announcement, and be ready to get in on tickets at the first possible chance.
Saturday April 10, time TBC
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne.