With festival season in full swing, Melburnians are spoiled for choice this month. There are sideshows from acclaimed internationals new and old and some killer local shows to sweeten the deal.
Originally from Melbourne, soul singer Wilsn (aka Shannon Busch) now calls Nashville, Tennessee home. Busch has the pipes to belt out some heavyweight ballads, and has just enough rasp to ward off the schmaltz. Wilsn played SXSW last year and is working on the follow-up to her excellent Don’t Give Up EP. Catch her while you can, Melbourne – you won’t get to see her play a room as intimate as upstairs at the Gasso for much longer.
Wilsn plays the Gasometer Hotel February 1. Tickets here.
It’s the absolute pits when your favourite band decides it’s time for a comeback and puts out a clunker. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Slowdive. The seminal shoegaze band put out one of the best albums of last year with Dead Oceans after a 22 year hiatus. Your heart will likely evaporate into the ether when they play Sugar for the Pill, before the fuzz explosion of Star Roving lifts you off into the stratosphere. This show is unsurprisingly sold out, but there are still some tickets on resale.
Slowdive play The Forum February 8. Tickets here.
UK MC Wiley is the godfather of grime, the rough and tumble, bass-heavy genre birthed from UK garage and two-step that then took over over pirate radio stations across Britain. Current MCs of the moment Skepta and Stormzy owe Wiley a huge debt. Head along to pay your dues to the man who started it all.
Wiley plays the Croxton Bandroom February 2. Tickets here.
Pop star, record producer, model and co-star to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Destroyer are just a few of Grace Jones’s achievements. This maverick artist began her music career in the disco scene based around New York’s Studio 54. Her musical output flourished in the days of new wave, while Blondie was tearing it up. But Jones’s style was far more adventurous than that of Debbie Harry and co.; her productions with legendary dub producers Sly and Robbie created a bewildering combo of reggae, post-punk, funk and pop. She’s still tough as nails at 69.
Grace Jones plays the Palais Theatre February 26. Tickets here.
The guy who wrote Loser is now a Grammy-winning artist. While the gongs he won in 2015 for the decidedly uninspiring Morning Phase should have without question gone to Beyonce, the guy still made Midnight Vultures. That album shamelessly ripped off David Bowie, Prince and the rest of Beck’s idols to create a delightfully silly 10/10 party record. And then there’s Sea Change, “Sad Beck” will never get better than that.
Beck plays Margaret Court Arena February 28. Tickets here.
Hometown pop hero Banoffee has been living in LA for the past couple of years but has been home to record new material in the wake of certified banger Ripe. Her older material stuck pretty close to a lo-fi R’n’B sound but Ripe adds a new layer of polish. It flips from sickly sweet to murky in a second. Like when you start off painting your nails but decide to chew them off instead. This will be one of the first times she’ll be playing the new material she recorded in Melbourne.
Banoffee plays Howler February 2. Tickets here.