Melbourne is spoiled for choice when it comes to live music but this event is truly original. Melbourne Music Week (MMW), is taking over the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel for a set of mini parties in ten of its cabins, each of which will hold a stripped back local act and a small audience. Guests won’t get to choose who they see on either of the two trips included on their ticket – it’s entirely left to chance. The only certainty of the night is the glittering view of the city stretching out below the Star.
MzRizk – the DJ behind Hip Hop High Tea and host of Boogie Beat Suite on PBS – was approached by MMW to curate the line-up for the event. It’s the first time an event has been staged on the Star.
“[MMW] is always looking to engage new places and spaces around the city. I've been curating events in Melbourne for the past couple of years, but this venue has been the most unique,” says MzRizk.
While MzRizk was immediately on board, the venue created obstacles in terms of what was actually possible for some initial ideas, including one for a silent disco.
“[A silent disco] would require headphones, which require a signal, and the Star just goes too high,” says MzRizk.
The solution: go totally unplugged.
“I looked for artists with strong enough vocals to sing without mics, and to have acoustic instruments,” says MzRizk. “Artists who I have experienced live, who I’ve gotten a buzz off. Artists on their way up.”
The ten acts selected include experimental hip-hop artist Drmngnow, R’n’B vocalist Kye, and soul and jazz singer Kalala.
Guests will receive a complimentary drink on arrival at the Departure Lounge to take on board. The lounge will feature a full bar and DJ for guests to enjoy before, during and after their rides.
After boarding, the cabin experience promises to be intimate – one or two performers with handheld instruments and just 12 to 15 guests. There'll be no amps or mics and no backing band.
“You have to be pretty confident to perform in a space like this, without the luxuries of sounds effects, reverb,” says MzRizk.
Though the space is small, MzRizk says each artist will make it their own.
“There’s a large seat in the middle – artists could be sitting with the guests, standing, or vice versa. We don't know what [each artist’s] approach will be.”
MzRizk hopes the set-up will connect even the most seasoned Melbourne music fan to new artists.
“Maybe someone will find a new favourite performer, and see them at a gig in the future. When you buy a ticket, even if you recognise some of the line-up, there’s no telling who you’ll get to see.”
Melbourne Star's Musical Menagerie will take place on Friday November 23, from 6pm to 10pm (last flight beginning at 9.30pm). Tickets are $34 each and include two 30 minute trips and one complimentary drink. Melbourne Music Week's full line-up announcement is out on October 2.