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This Week’s Must-See Acts At VIVID Sydney: Yung Lean, Electric Fields, Sky Ferreira & More

27 May 2024 | 3:05 pm | Ellie Robinson
In Partnership With VIVID LIVE

Australia’s biggest and most beautiful celebration of lights, music and ideas is underway with its epic 2024 season! Here are our highlights for this week.

Yung Lean / Electric Fields / Sky Ferreira

Yung Lean / Electric Fields / Sky Ferreira (Supplied)

Even if you’ve never actually been, you probably know at least a little bit about VIVID, Australia’s biggest and most beautiful celebration of lights, music and ideas. The annual festival launched all the way back in 2009, and since then it’s been a staple on the calendar of any fun-loving Sydneysider. It features a packed slate of mind-bending light installations, talks and debates that could change the way you see the world on a fundamental level, and of course, one-of-a-kind live performances from some of the world’s most exciting musicians.

As announced back in March, this year’s program will run for a mammoth 23 nights, kicking off on this Friday May 24 and wrapping up on Saturday June 15. It was curated to spotlight “the essence of humanity”, with a press releasing noting that its team are working with the ethos of showing “how creativity fuels our interconnected world”. The line-up certainly reflects this, with a suite of artists from all around the world who are shaping and defining a new generation of pop, rock and electronica.

Some of the biggest standouts on the roster include Yves Tumor, Arca, Underscores, Deerhoof, Yasiin Bey, Yung Lean and Sky Ferreira – and those are just the internationals! We’ll also see career-defining sets from local stalwarts like Electric Fields, Cult Shφtta, Thelma Plum, Jen Cloher, Budjerah, Zion Garcia, BARKAA... The full itinerary is legitimately wild – head here to see it for yourself.

In a press release, festival director Gill Minervini said of this year’s program: “Humanity is at the core of everything we do, and this year VIVID Sydney is diving deep into what makes us uniquely human. We have curated a diverse program that explores the human spirit, designed to foster connections, spark imagination and showcase the multitude of ways creativity enriches our lives. Everyone is invited to be part of this global event in the world’s most beautiful city to connect, create and celebrate.”

Adding to the sentiment was VIVID Music curator Julian Ramundi, who said in his own statement: “Vivid Music in 2024 elevates artist stories and connects audiences in a diverse range of spaces, from cultural institutions and theatres to free and accessible spaces across the Vivid Light Walk. Hear music in new parts of our city and gather to celebrate voices from all around the world, artists who remind us that songs vibrate at the centre of our shared humanity.”

Every week, we’ll be rounding off the five shows we’re most excited for, highlighting artists from home and abroad across all levels of notoriety. Here are the ones we can’t wait to see this week…

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Cult Shφtta

WHEN & WHERE: Thursday May 30 at the Sydney Opera House (Utzon Room)

Inspired by timeless icons like Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and A Tribe Called Quest – but charged with their own blasts of kinetic fury and hypnotic colour – Cult Shφtta are blazing trails as one of the hottest names in Western Sydney’s hip-hop revolution. The duo (comprising rapper E11even and hypeman lil golo) first started causing a ruckus in 2019, when they came out the gates with a string of incisive and visceral standalone singles – including the defiant duology of Mk Ultra and Info, and the Tanboymiguel co-hit Gleem – and made it impossible to ignore their growing impact. Their live show is a full-on assault of the senses (in the best way possible), with the pair’s collision of drill, trap and techno sure to have you bouncing off the walls – catch it in the flesh this Thursday (May 30) in the Utzon Room at the Sydney Opera House.



WHEN & WHERE: Thursday May 30 and Saturday June 1 at the Sydney Opera House (Concert Hall)

Today’s kaleidoscopic EDM scene owes a boundless debt to acts like Underworld, who sent shockwaves throughout the UK (and subsequently the world) at the turn of the 1990s. This specific duo – Karl Hyde and Rick Smith – are pioneers in every sense of the term, with their roots in funk and synthpop making them primed to reinvent the dance and techno landscape with beloved albums like Dubnobasswithmyheadman (1994), Second Toughest In The Infants (1996) and Beaucoup Fish (1999). All these years later, Hyde and Smith still make ravers lose their marbles by the tens of thousands, their live show offering a dazzling chasm of colourful beats and mesmerising visuals. After swinging through last in 2019, Underworld will return to the Sydney Opera House this weekend for three shows in the iconic Concert Hall.



WHEN & WHERE: Friday May 31 at the Sydney Opera House (Joan Sutherland Theatre)

This star-studded showcase, curated by underground Sydney (Eora) showstopper 3NDLES5, will take punters on a mind-melting journey through the peaks and valleys of an artistry that cannot be faked, driven by sounds and sights that only minds of these kinds can deliver. In addition to a set from Mitch Tolman’s own cult-beloved electronica project, the show will feature a unique appearance from Swedish rapper Yung Lean in the form of his experimental alter-ego jonatan leandoer96, exploring his widescreen love for pseudo-retro pop and acoustic balladry. Also on the cards are sets from fellow Swedish head-turner Ecco2K, Danish trailblazers Frederik Valentin and Scandinavian Star, and Russian beatmaker oqbqbo. This is one night you certainly won’t forget any time soon; it’s going down this Friday (May 31) in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House.


Electric Fields

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday June 1 at Carriageworks

Having just stunned crowds around the world with their magnificent performance at this year’s Eurovision, it should go without saying that Electric Fields are Australia’s next big name in dynamic and polychromatic, thought-provoking pop music. Their music is soulful and stirring and bursting at the seams with authentic, impassioned energy – equally primed for the dancefloor as it is transcendental – and the idiosyncratic artists behind it, Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross, are two of the brightest and most determined minds in the game. Electric Fields’ exclusive set VIVID will mark their first live performance since they made it home Eurovision, celebrating the global impact of the hit One Milkali (One Blood) and exploring the full breadth of their rich catalogue; it’ll go down at Carriageworks this Saturday (June 1).


Sky Ferreira

WHEN & WHERE: Sunday June 2 at the Sydney Opera House (Joan Sutherland Theatre)

Hundreds of artists have tried to match the grandiose highs of American pop stalwart Sky Ferreira, but not a single one has succeeded – and unsurprisingly so. Equally buoyant, luminous and emotively charged, her music captures the spirit of a generation and makes it inescapably moreish. It’s been over a decade since she released Night Time, My Time – with her sole studio album landing in October 2013 – but Ferreira finally has the cogs turning on a follow-up, with the rumour mill saying she might be gearing up to drop LP2 (which has the working title Masochism) before the year’s end. Previews thus far have come in the singles Downhill Lullaby and Don’t Forget, but recent gigs have also seen Ferreira treat fans to some anthemic tracks that aren’t yet released. Wanna be among the first to hear them? Well, you’re in luck: Ferreira will take to the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House this Sunday (June 2) for her exclusive VIVID show.