Sydney is counting down the days until its buildings are illuminated with colourful light projections for Vivid. As the city is lit up, so too are the stages of some of its best-loved venues, including the Opera House, Carriageworks and City Recital Hall. But a bunch of pubs and bars – even a hairdresser – will also be hosting a slew of exciting acts. Here’s what we recommend catching.
Ziggy’s Barber Shop
This Darlinghurst hair salon and barber is hosting a series of live-music nights promoting both established and emerging female artists. Relax in an old-school reclining barber chair as you listen to artists including electro-pop producer Lupa J, alt-pop artist Xira, three-time Aria nominee Jade MacRae, electro-soul singer-songwriter Sayah, Leonardo’s Bride frontperson Abby Dobson and “reformed opera singer” Jessica O’Donoghue.
And if hanging around a salon without getting your foils done seems odd, consider this: the venue will be BYO during the performances.
The Dolphin Hotel
Restaurateurs Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, The Dolphin Hotel, Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta) and Giovanni Paradiso (10 William Street, Fratelli Paradiso) are teaming up once again and letting their Italo-disco concept loose at The Dolphin Hotel on June 9.
This time they’ll be joined by Mike Simonetti (one half of techno duo Pale Blue), who’s known for his musical curation prowess. The drink, dine and disco party will blur the lines between restaurant, club and bar, bringing Mediterranean party vibes down under.
The Soda Factory
Surry Hills bar The Soda Factory will be hosting multiple events for Vivid, including celebrations of musical legends, a splash of soul and a hefty dose of disco.
On May 29, proceedings will kick off with a night dedicated to Sydney’s soul crooners, followed on May 30 by synth-pop disco diva Florian, who is bound to beckon crowds to the dance floor with her retro tunes.
June 2 will be dedicated to folk, and on June 3 OG star man David Bowie will be honoured with a screening of Labyrinth and a theatrical exploration of his music on-stage. Fellow genius Prince will also be celebrated on June 5 with a six-hour musical tribute featuring 16 bands, DJs and soloists. The venue will be awash, appropriately, with purple lights.
For the fourth year in a row, Chippendale bar Freda’s will be joining in the Vivid action. It’ll be aiming a little left of centre with its music program, hosting internationally renowned DJs, psych and lo-fi bands, and a disco inferno.
The Vivid opening party on May 24 will star Melbourne DJ Toni Yotzi, who will appear alongside interdisciplinary artist Kween Kwong and dubstep producer DJ Crabby. Wax’o Paradiso, also from Melbourne, will bring their disco beats to Freda’s on June 7. New York-based Tim Sweeney – dance music icon and host of radio show Beats in Space – will light up the dance floor on June 8; hair salon Extra Silky will take over on June 9 for a show packed with colourful lights and funk, disco and dance; and June 15 will bring a slew of artists from from radio host Andy Garvey’s new record label Pure Space. Expect techno, electro-static and “spacey broken beats”.
Kings Cross Hotel
For its Vivid celebrations, Kings Cross Hotel will be hosting three Saturday parties. Opening night on May 25 will be headlined by local DJ and former Triple J radio host Nina Las Vegas. She’ll be supported by female artists Isa, Meshell Webb and Caitlin Medcalf. The following weekend, electronic label Clipp Art has put together a line-up that includes Jerk Boy, Sophie Forest, Pinz & Pelz and London underground dance duo FYI Chris.
On June 8, Heaps Decent (a not-for-profit co-founded by Las Vegas, Diplo and Andrew Levins that supports emerging artists from diverse backgrounds) and DJ Shantan Wantan Ichiban will each take over an entire level of the pub. They’ll both be celebrating an eclectic range of genres, including hip-hop, dancehall, R&B and afrobeat.
Plus there’s more
The facade of Erskineville’s Imperial Hotel – where Heaps Gay will be hosting a party – will light up with a rainbow, and each Friday night it’ll be hosting a fluoro party. The Camelot Lounge in Marrickville will welcome to its stage Aussie legends such as Katie Noonan, Tex Perkins, Lobsterman Django and Renee Geyer. Oxford Art Factory will present a killer line-up, including Set Mo, I Know Leopard, City Calm Down, Kim Churchill and Paul Dempsey. And Potts Point Hotel will host the Delta Riggs and a batch of emerging artists.
Vivid runs from May 24 to June 15 across the city.