Ease into the weekend and celebrate everything Sydney has to offer – long days, warm weather, good food, cold drinks and great live music.
The free gigs at dusk have become a staple in the city’s live music scene, known for the diversity and energy of programming – the perfect space to support young musicians and discover the next big thing… or just your next favorite band.
Courtyard Sessions gives you the prime chance to discover new bands in an intimate setting, as Sydney’s most talented up-and-coming musicians are showcased. The 2016 season will feature diverse and energetic performers from around the Sydney area.
Courtyard Sessions at sunset feature a bar, BBQ, roaming performers, vintage games and more. Family and pooch friendly.
Come and join us from 6pm on Friday nights throughout February and March. PLUS our first ever Sunday afternoon event on Sunday February 21st featuring DJ sets from Jake Stone and a secret guest!
We’re excited to announce the full line-up below:
5 February – Ed Saloman of Louis London
Having played music for the best part of 15 years, singing and playing guitar comes fairly easily to Ed. Whether it’s with a band or alone, the stage is the space most comfortable.
Drawing influence from the widest of sources (think Chet Baker and Mel Tormé to Dallas Green and Young the Giant) he has a sound that doesn’t fit neatly into a single category but instead rolls through genres anchored only by an unusual and distinctive voice. If you ever get the chance to see him, it’s certainly worth the trip.
12 February – ILUKA
Iluka defies definition. It’s as though this refreshing young Sydney songstress has fused half a century of music’s greatest elements to create something as unique as it is affecting. Effortlessly moving from swamp rock through retro pop and into soaring balladry, Iluka’s musical diversity is equalled only by its striking cohesion. With a bold and vibrant look to match her song, this spirited chanteuse delivers epic sounds, enchanting melodies, and divine vocals that will lead you on a journey to another realm.
While still in her teens Iluka spent over a year traveling through Europe and Africa, building up the life experience and emotional understanding that is now the foundation of her music. With a collection of lyrics written on the scraps of foreign street maps, and the musical ideas she formed while on the couches of welcoming strangers, Iluka returned to Australia with the passion and drive to succeed.
The year that followed was certainly prodigious. 2011 saw the release of EPs ‘To The Place’ and ‘Eyes Closed’, both wholeheartedly embraced by industry and public alike. Each featuring singles that went top 5 on community radio’s most ordered songs for airplay chart, and going on to be spun on major national networks Triple J, Nova, and Rage. Meanwhile it was an exciting year on the live stage, from regular appearances on the local touring and festival circuit, to sharing stages with rising stars such as Matt Corby, The Rubens, and Georgia Fair.
2012 commenced with some fresh recordings under the guidance of Ollie McGill from The Cat Empire. Lead single Paper Doll quickly gathered momentum, being featured and added to rotation on Triple J Digital, as well as regular spot play on Triple J and their inclusion of the track on charity compilation ‘After The Emergency’. It was a welcome surprise when news came of the song’s short listing for the year’s Hottest 100 and has since been featured on national campaigns for noted brands such a Myer and Mambo, amongst others. The year closed out supporting Aussie legends Icehouse nationally, performing in major theatres to thousands each night.
Following the tour Iluka embarked on a month long expedition of inspiration across South East Asia. Spending time working with orphaned children in Cambodia, living in a Buddhist monastery on the Thai-Myanmar border, and trekking the mountains of Laos was enlightening to say the least. Iluka returned home to Sydney to open for UK sensation Kitty, Daisy & Lewis along with news that she was to be named the inaugural winner of First Break – a competition run in partnership by The Mushroom Group and Commercial Radio Australia to unearth unsigned talent.
Iluka spent the remainder of 2013 working on her craft, writing and recording new material, ready to once again hit the ground running. February 2014 saw the unveiling of 12th of July, Iluka’s first single as the First Break winner. The song quickly gathered momentum, being the #1 most added track to commercial radio playlists across the country, as well as being put on rotation with MTV both in Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile 12th of July was met enthusiastically by the public, going top 10 on the national independent charts and earning her a nomination as The AU Review’s NSW Voice of the Year alongside The Preatures, The Jezabels, Steve Smyth, and Andy Bull.. Following a highly successful national tour of the single, Iluka is now working on a follow-up that is sure to see her reach new heights.
19 February - Jordan Millar
Welcome to the Curious Case of Jordan Millar, the Australian bluesy pop singer-songwriter who is treading his own path with his DIY musician attitude and critically acclaimed, self-produced ‘bedroom’ album Cold Lights On Curious Minds.
Don’t be fooled however, he’s not just an amateur with GarageBand and a MacBook. He’s a hardworking musician with years of recording and touring experience behind him. He’s played hundreds of shows and earned critical acclaim nationwide. He’s performed on The Morning Show, at some of Australia’s biggest festivals including Byron Bay Bluesfest and the Falls Festival, and toured with the likes of The Fray, Xavier Rudd, Diesel and Christina Perri, and has dozens more award wins and accolades one could list, but it’s not about that.
What it is about this 26-year-old musician/producer/singer-songwriter/whatever you want to call him that is going to blow you away! His unique blend of pop, folk and bluesy acoustic riffs, mixed with intimate and candid lyrics, have wowed Australian audiences. With 4 EPs, a full-length debut album (Lies In Translations, 2008) and a live album under his belt, he writes and performs with maturity well beyond his years, and has formed an active and truly diverse fan-base across the globe because of it.
After releasing ‘Cold Lights’ in February 2013, and with single’s ‘Walking On Me’ and ‘Maps’ on steady radio rotation, Millar hit the road with a 29-date national tour, and received critical praise for his pumping, full band and John Butler-esque shows as well as his intimate and honest solo performances.
Whether it be opening a show at the Enmore Theatre or in a tiny cafe in Sydney, Jordan Millar gives it everything he’s got, and it’s with this attitude that he’s become one of the most intriguing musicians on the Australian musical landscape today … Curious??
“With the smoothness of Pete Murray, the sometimes off-kilter groove and quirk of Jason Mraz and John Mayer’s attention to songwriting craft, this second album from Sydney’s Jordan Millar is simply great. 4 stars” … The West Australian
“A pretty special piece of Australian folk-pop” … Timber and Steel
“Every so often a certain album appears in your life that you instantly connect with. Cold Lights On Curious Minds … is one of those albums” … Tone Deaf
21 February 12pm to 4pm - Special Sunday Afternoon Event
Jake Stone is best known as the extroverted frontman for beloved Australian band Bluejuice, and is also a pretty decent pop DJ.
Playing a mixture of hits from now and times before now, Jake tries to make everyone dance all the time. Jake is also aware that this is basically what all DJ’s do.
Jake has played a featured touring set for Groovin’ The Moo in 2014 on the Dance stage introducing acts like Disclosure, Peking Duk, What So Not and more, and currently plays regular headline shows at the Lord Gladstone Hotel, World Bar, The Bank in Newtown and Petersham Public House, as well as special events and anything that pays money.
Programmed by Larry Heath and Heath Media with support from major sponsors, City of Sydney.
KID AND POOCH FRIENDLY, no BYO.
Wet weather? Stay updated on Twitter, Facebook and the Courtyard Sessions website.
26 February - Microwave Jenny
Microwave Jenny is Australian husband/wife duo Tessa and Brendon Boney who describe their music as Pop/Folk/Love.
Tessa was just a small town girl living in a lonely world, she took the Woy Woy train going to Sydney. The early part of her career involves helping Dad run karaoke, entering Central Coast talent quests and then in her latter years of high school catching the train to take her unique voice to Sydney for rehearsals and gigs. It was backstage at one of these gigs where she met Brendon.
In west Wagga Wagga born and raised on the playground is where Brendon spent most of his days. He spent his teenage years travelling the world working away on a soccer career. It wasn’t until his last year of high school when a severe injury put that on hold and he found music. This new found love saw him, like Tessa travelling to Sydney for rehearsals and gigs.
After meeting and realising they both shared similar ideas for bringing love and smiles through music, the pair spent a year writing songs for each other’s solo projects before deciding to try things as a duo. A decision which has seen them winning awards, working on film soundtracks and playing such festivals as The Woodford Folk Festival, Peats Ridge Festival, The Dreaming Festival, Festival of the Sun, and Bluesfest in Byron Bay to name a few.
With their regular appearances on the festival scene the duo have started to develop a solid following and it was in early 2012 when they asked that following via microwavejenny.com, Facebook and Twitter “Who want’s Microwave Jenny to play at their house?!” The response was overwhelming and saw Microwave Jenny play 20 houses in 6 different states.
Halfway through their national tour of house concerts Tessa and Brendon married each other. Now they navigate their way through not only the mountains and valleys of married life but also the treacherous waters of being completely independent, self-managed, touring, musicians who pride themselves on the DIY nature of their career.
4 March - Fanny Lumsden
Equal parts sponge cake, red dirt and show pony, Fanny Lumsden sings it how it is. Hailing from a farm in western NSW, Fanny combines classic country songwriting with sass and honesty.
Lumsden’s debut album ‘Small Town Big Shot’ (Sept 18) came in at #6 on the ARIA Country Charts, #15 on the AIR (Aust. Independent Record) charts, spent the best part of 7 weeks in the iTunes top 100 and has been coined by Denise Torenbeek from Country Update Magazine as “too clever, too tasteful, too cool & altogether divine” and claiming that it “ought to be hailed as a masterpiece”.
The lead single ‘Soapbox’ took out #1 spot on the Country Music Channel holding position for 3 weeks with a total of 6 weeks in the top ten. Filmed in Fanny’s hometown of Tallimba by Film maker Sam Brumby, it represents the real regional Australia.
Produced by Matt Fell at Love HZ Studios and in the band’s Sydney terrace house, this independent and crowdfunded record Small Town Big Shot brings ‘the best of Australian country and folk, sweeping us up in the spectacular energy and beauty that comes with living on the land’ Lucy Inglis, The Au Review. The musicianship shines through featuring Dan Dugmore on pedal steel, Luke Moller on fiddle and the Thrillseekers covering all the other bases.
With her 4th Annual Country Halls Tour, (which doubled as the Small Town Big Shot Album tour) sold out, Fanny and her band the Thrillseekers have taken outback NSW to Newtown by storm, raising funds for the halls and putting on workshops as they go.
Having won hearts at festivals all over the country, been nominated for Country Music Channel New Oz Artist of the Year, Best Live Roots Act of 2015 by the Au Review, showcased at Bigsound 2015, supported the likes of Adam Harvey, Marlon Williams, The McClymonts, The Davidson Brothers, Mustered Courage, to name a few & charmed her way through city venues to Country halls, Fanny Lumsden and the Thrillseekers are the genuine article.
Its cracking alt-country with a whole lot of heart.
****Rolling Stone Magazine ‘Edwina Margaret ’Fanny’ Lumsden differentiates herself from Australian country peers with her clear-eyed, unvarnished articulation of life in the bush as it is, rather than as it was… a breath of fresh country air’.
****Sydney Morning Herald ‘Overall, Small Town Big Shot feels like proper country music, but the warm, organic production and Lumsden’s warmth and humanity might actually win over fans who would usually prefer folky pop.’
11 March - William Crighton
A son of the Riverina, William Crighton’s work is relentless in its navigation of life.
His songs are defiant. They deal in revenge, faith, grievances, drug addiction and suicide but amidst the turmoil there is a strong force of hope and a belief in love and the skin of a lover.
His music is bold and visceral, uncompromising.
William Crighton is a voice crying from the wilderness of south western NSW.
18 March - HOWQUA
HOWQUA was recently coined ‘one to watch’ in an interview with six-time Grammy award winning producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, The Rolling Stones) after returning from Canadian Music Week, where he was signed to United Talent Agency. HOWQUA’s emotionally driven live performance has seen him tour around Australia and Canada in the early stages of his career, as well as performing at some of the world’s most renowned showcases, including Canadian Music Week, BIGSOUND, Pop Montréal, CMJ Music Marathon and AWME. Not one to shy away from baring his soul through his music, HOWQUA displays all the traits of a phenomenal storyteller and musician. HOWQUA’s debut six-track EP ‘Naked’ is available online in Australia/New Zealand, with an international release slated for 2016.