Who’s the Gold Coast’s best live act? How do you even judge such a thing? Well the Gold Coast Music Awards judges have an idea. After all, it was their job to whittle down a long list of insane talent to just six acts.
Amy Shark, Electrik Lemonade, Eliza and the Delusionals, Hussy Hicks, The Mason Rack Band and Tijuana Cartel have all been named as finalists for the 2018 Gold Coast Music Awards.
But a good live act means something different to everyone. Michelle Christoe is a serious live music fan. With personal tastes that lean towards hard rock, she’s the co-owner of Nightquarter and that means she also has to cater to families. She says what she most looks for is a total experience.
“The energy and passion by the musician/s needs to be at the level that shows they care by playing a song like it’s their last,” she said. “I am a converted fan usually when they are putting heart and soul into the music, no matter the genre!”
She said spontaneous moves on a stage, interacting with the audience, acknowledging the crowd, use of lighting and effects and recognising band members, sound engineers and the venue goes a long way too.
As a venue owner, Michelle says she’s looking for live bands that can attract an audience and entertain them.
“We try to ensure that the audience and music match the venue otherwise the music doesn’t hold our patrons. We do research live bands; where they have played previously, how they sound (sometimes attending performances) or look at live recordings and refer to attendance numbers/social comments,” she said.
“Provision of professional photos, press releases, availability for interviews and shout outs all help in the overall promotion. These days it isn’t just about the music, it’s the total experience for our audience.”
Michelle has been a passionate advocate for the city’s live music scene since before Nightquarter even opened and she believes that live performances are a central part of the experience of being a musician or a music fan.
“We are truly proud to sponsor the Live Act of the Year category,” she said. ” There are so many amazing live acts across the Gold Coast.”
“We understand that playing live and touring is important for musicians who want to build up an audience and following. Delivering a good live performance though isn’t just about delivering amazing music that resonates with the audience, there are other elements that need to be taken into consideration such as lighting, presentation, backdrops, sound all of which are directed by the performer creating that complete experience.”
“This category is so important to the development of the music industry,” Michelle said.
The finalists for the 2018 Gold Coast Music Awards Live Act of the Year, sponsored by Nightquarter are:
Amy’s achievements over the past two years are mind-boggling. Her breakout single ‘Adore’ has been certified 3x Platinum and follow-up track ‘Weekends’ went Gold. She was nominated for six ARIA awards, taking out both Best Pop Release and Breakthrough Artist and she’s currently in the running for Song of the Year for ‘Weekends’ for the APRA Awards as well as Pop Work of the Year and Most Played Australian work for ‘Adore’. She’s undertaken two headline tours in both North America and Europe with cities like LA, Seattle, New York, London and Berlin selling out, sold out multiple Australian tours, hit some of the world’s biggest festivals (she’s just been announced for Lollapalooza for heaven’s sake) and has lent her voice to a tourism campaign with Destination Gold Coast. Amy’s music career began on the Gold Coast and over the past ten years she has performed at almost every venue on the Coast. Her break came as a result of a City of Gold Coast arts grant that allowed her to work with producer M-Phazes. The resulting song has been streamed 33 million times on Spotify and the EP ‘Night Thinker’ peaked at #2 on the ARIA charts and #1 on the iTunes charts. She has won ARIAs, Queensland and Gold Coast Music Awards, had slots at Splendour, Austin City Limits and countless other events and performed live at the nationally televised ARIA Awards.
Since their debut performance at The Loft back in 2010, Electrik Lemonade have remained a live force to be reckoned with. They’ve had performances at pretty much every Gold Coast music venue as well as the city’s major events including Gold Coast Suns games, Live At Bond, SWELL and Buskers by the Creek. When The (new) Avenue opened in Surfers Paradise, it was Electrik Lemonade who scored a six-month residency to help grow a fanbase for local, original music. 2017 was one of the band’s biggest live years yet, with 50 shows on the board.
Eliza & The Delusionals
Eliza and the Delusionals basicall spent the entirety of 2017 on the road. From touring Australia with acts such as Killing Heidi and Dear Seatlle and supporting artists such as Grinspoon, British India, Nothing But Theives, Alex Lahey, Ali Barter, City Calm Down, Moose Blood and Polish Club they also rolled out two headline tours of their own. They’ve been triple J Unearthed feature artists, travelled to Canadian Music Week and were showcased at BIGSOUND. Their lead single from their debut EP won a competition to have a music video produced by NIDA and they scored a spot on the Falls Festival lineup. 2017 also saw the young act pick up management and booking agents.
With five studio albums, two live albums, a DVD and an insane number of successful national and international tours, Hussy Hicks have developed a fan base here in Australia as well as across the world. In 2017 alone, the Gold Coast duo and their band played Blues on Broadbeac, Peak Festival, Winton Film Festival, Bello Winter Festival, Gympie Muster, Mullum Music Fstival, Sydney Blues Festival and still had time for 18 shows in Germany and Italy, 17 shows in the USA and a mini-tour of New Zealand. Many of the German shows sold-out. Signed to US management and featured on national television nearly every day due to their role in ‘Get Grubby’ where Hussy Hicks perform all music for and feature in the show, Leesa Gentz and Julz Parker spent time in 2017 consolidating much of their past work.
The Mason Rack Band
Mason Rack is following in the footsteps of his father (Billy Rack). Starting his live music career at just six years of age, 2017 saw the blues musician and his band perform some 130 shows including 24 in Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland as part of their sixth European tour. With an energetic live show and a strong following on social media, The Mason Rack Band have a massive local following and legions of fans outside of the city. From big festival stages such as Blues on Broadbeach to grassroots events where they’re “making a mic stand from a broom”, the band have played all over Australia but have their roots firmly planted in the Gold Coast pub scene.
Tijuana Cartel, comprising Paul George and Carey O’Sullivan are one of the most sought after live bands in Australia. 2017 saw the outfit take their show up and down the east coast as well as festivals as far flung as Darwin, Adelaide and regional Victoria. With an incredibly loyal and engaged fanbase developed over their ten year career and early days spent in Gold Coast venues like Swingin’ Safari and regional community halls, their reach is organic and genuine. Tijuana Cartel are a live force to be reckoned with. Possessing a virtuosic level of skill and incorporating multi-media in their shows, utilising session musicians and taking their own sound and lighting crew on the road, they understand the elements of what makes for a great experience. All this culminates in live shows that generally sell out wherever they go.
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Winners of the 2018 Gold Coast Music Awards are announced on 3 May in Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast Music Awards are presented by Surfers Paradise Alliance and proudly supported by City of Gold Coast. Tickets are still available via oztix.