Courtyard Sessions returns in 2015 for a series of free outdoor concerts from up-and-coming local musicians in the leafy courtyard of Chippendale’s Seymour Centre - 6 to 9pm every Friday from 9 January to 27 March.
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 favourite 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 before they potentially go on to become music’s next big thing. The 2015 season kicks of with a line-up of diverse and energetic performers from around the Sydney area, including Caitlin Park, Lady Sings It Better, Okenyo, Flowertruck, Dr. Goddard, The Liberators, and Emma Swift. Check out the full line-up below!
Join us under the trees for live music, a pop-up bar and gourmet BBQ, roaming performers, vintage games, and Instagram giveaways.
Courtyard Sessions is family and pooch-friendly.
Friday 9 January – Betty & Oswald (PAST EVENT)
Whiskey on the back of a motorcycle on a tiny island in Greece. Travelling tunes and gramophone blues, Betty & Oswald are a sound that is both old and new. A universal youthfulness and a yearning for the wild, felt by the young, old and everyone in between.
Building on the buzz owing to their incredibly unique sound and image, the band has released their new single on November 3rd, followed by an Australian East coast tour, ending in them playing at Woodford Folk Festival 2014/15.
Friday 16 January - Caitlin Park (PAST EVENT)
Presented in partnership with Sydney Festival
Caitlin Park writes and performs folktronica, taking folk and electro-acoustics to new heights with her abstract composition, sampling and film nostalgia.
Her new album, The Sleeper, sees Caitlin progress as a songwriter and performer – embracing bold, pop musicality and higher production levels – but at all times finding beauty in simple moments and sounds, building and layering until a sonic landscape takes form.
Saturday 17 January – Maples (PAST EVENT)
Presented in partnership with Sydney Festival
Songstress Gabby Huber has spent several years crafting her sound. Stepping out into the world as MAPLES, Huber blends acoustic and electronic worlds with soaring vocals and keyboards. MAPLES is inspired by change, life’s only constant, and the illumination drawn from undiscovered places deep within the soul.
Sunday 18 January – Leah Flanagan (PAST EVENT)
Presented in partnership with Sydney Festival
LEAH FLANAGAN melds an ageless voice with complex and alluring lyrics in a combination that has audiences entranced. It’s a sound reminiscent of singer/songwriters of the 70‘s that has captured hearts with laments and celebrations of love, sincerity and soul.
Friday 23 January - Okenyo (PAST EVENT)
Triumphant, sorrowful and achingly beautiful are declarations that describe the wondrous melodies of neo-soul/electro goddess Okenyo that have us transfixed. She has been described as the lovechild of Janelle Monae and Frank Ocean and by online site happy.com as a “modern-day Cleopatra, exuberant with confidence, grace and a fierce sense of style and attitude”.
Having graduated from NIDA and worked extensively for the prestigious Sydney Theatre Company under the mastery of Artistic Directors – Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton, Okenyo’s burgeoning career now encompasses her skills as a vocalist/songwriter/performer. Her influences span from the unique, mysterious Grace Jones, the extraordinary Frank Ocean and the inspiring St Vincent.
Friday 30 January - Emma Swift (PAST EVENT)
Presented in partnership with The AU Review
Emma Swift is an ARIA nominated songwriter and Double J radio broadcaster who splits her time between Sydney, Australia and Nashville, Tennessee. A fan of minor chords, heartworn highways, scuffed-up boots, gin and endless pedal steel, she likes to play vulnerable music. Her heroes, in no particular order are: Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Bill Callahan, Anais Nin, Lucinda Williams and whoever invented dry shampoo.
Friday 6 February - Lady Sings It Better (PAST EVENT)
Smashing expectations one soaring harmony at a time, four women take on the western world’s most famous male musicians and reinvent them as hilarious, high energy cabaret. This is Usher, Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, AC/DC, Nine Inch Nails, Tom Jones, Leonard Cohen, Justin Timberlake, Queen and a whole lot of boybands as you’ve never heard them before, masculinity mixed up with stellar female vocals and a whole lot of ridiculous dancing. With backgrounds in varying musical styles, from opera and musical theatre to jazz, folk and pop, these musicians create surprising and playful renditions of masculine anthems, inviting the audience to discover new ideas in the lyric and think about how a song can change meaning when sung in a female voice.
In 2015, Lady Sings it Better welcome two new talented local singers to the group: Fiona Pearson and Annaliese Szota.
Friday 13 February – VIGILANTES (PAST EVENT)
Combining the talents of vocalist Angela Ford and multi-instrumentalist/ vocalist David Jenkins, VIGILANTES present the debut single, ‘Circles’. The pair might be unabashedly disposed towards pop music, but these songs don’t just tickle with images of sunshine and fluoro swimsuits. Rather, they convey an emotional depth, which far surpasses superficial gloss.
Ford’s tingly high register is complemented by Jenkins’ ambivalent baritone voice. The sound could be described as electro-pop; meanwhile, the arrangements are distinguished by deft guitar work, which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Roxy Music record. While it’s not overly showy, textured drum programming betrays Jenkins’ many years of experience hitting the skins for the likes of Kirin J Callinan and Andy Bull.
Friday 20 February – Chook Race (PAST EVENT)
Melbourne strummers Chook Race try their hands at the long-playing format with their aptly titled debut; About Time. The long awaited debut LP for the chimey trio, presents works from as early as 2011 to as recent as 2014, all recorded on a single summer weekend by Tom Hardisty (NUN, Woolen Kits) and mastered by Mikey Young (Total Control, ECSR).
Casually influenced by a library of amateur bedroom favourites, Chook Race play simple, unrefined guitar pop. About Time inadvertently explores time, place and perspective over three years of change. The first single, hook laden ‘Dentists’ opens the record with a persistent restlessness. In contrast “Good To Me” sings of love through melancholy guitar voicings and boy-girl harmonies, while the near instrumental “Clever” plays out as a sprawling jam. Songs are personal, observational, uneasy and often contradictory. It’s About Time.
Friday 27 February – Gordi (PAST EVENT)
Presented in partnership with HIJACKED.
Through her music, 21 year-old singer-songwriter Gordi evokes a kind of nostalgia that lingers long after her strumming stops. From wistful aching to spirited celebration, Gordi’s lyrical journeys take us places in our memories and imaginations that belie her 21 years. The candour in Gordi’s songs is matched by a vocal texture that is at once fractured and brimming with richness. The latest single from this Sydney based artist “Nothing’s As It Seems” is effortlessly memorable as much for the hooky melody as it is for its distinctive musical texture – an upbeat and playfully earnest track tamed by a hushed, wintery contour. Having been added straight to rotation on Triple J, FBi and RRR, garnered strong praise in the international blogosphere, and with supports for acts like Dustin Tebbutt, Husky, Jane Tyrrell, Steve Smyth and Saskwatch, ears are pricked up for Gordi’s next sonic move.
Friday 6 March – Tanzer (PAST EVENT)
Crackling melodrama, cinematic love stories and big ass beats – Tanzer is a pop diva translating film noir nostalgia into bombastic modern love anthems.
Blinged-out like a female Frank N’ Furter with the haughty glare and big hair of a 60s film siren, this commanding chanteuse spins tales of OTT love affairs and fabulous heartbreak to a swelling, thumping soundscape. It’s the soundtrack to your most devastating and delicious passion.
Tanzer is the new project from Hayley Foster, the vocalist behind Twincest, Pinky Tuscadero and Chaingang.
Friday 13 March - Flowertruck
FLOWERTRUCK are an energetic four piece indie-pop project growing in Sydney’s Inner West. Since their debut single ‘Candide’ they’ve spread through venues and into punters’ ears with infectious melodies and a semi-trailer worth of energy.
Charles Rushforth leads the way as a deranged gardener/frontman/vocalist constantly swapping bass and electric guitar responsibilities with Hamish Dobinson, the group’s sound mechanic and herbalist. Will Blackburn holds the rhythmic wheel steady with his trademarked ‘highway’ percussion, and Sarah Sykes commands the synthesiser as if she were summoning an angry rain song for a long forgotten god.
On top of the group’s knack for writing instantly catchy riffs, the gem of Flowertruck lies in their live performances. Their sound has been named as ‘garage pop-rock’ – proof that the everyday chaos of the Sydney’s Inner West sweats from their pores.
Friday 20 March - The Liberators
Presented in partnership with The AU Review.
Inspired by Afrobeat and American funk, The Liberators are a rock solid outfit typifying the Nigerian Afrobeat sound of 70’s Africa. The Sydney Based 10 piece formation performs a fierce array of super heavy grooves that ensures you are served with some sizzling treats. Continuing on from their successful self titled debut album in 2011, and follow up album ‘Power Struggle’ in 2013, The Liberators dedication and commitment has resulted in a positive following within some of Australia’s highly regarded live music venues and festivals. This success has radiated globally through worldwide radio play.
Friday 27 March - Dr. Goddard
Dr GODDARD is a three piece, Surrealistic-Rock band, hailing from the Blue Mountains music fraternity. Brothers Mikael & Nicholas Sandstrom started playing music at school together and this quickly turned into an ongoing recording project at their house in Leura. Initially a folk project, Mikael (guitar & vocals) and Nick, initially on bass, wanted to inject some driving rhythms and grooves into their sound, and so the search for a 60’s inspired drummer began. With little success in this respect, Nick took it upon himself to learn the drums. Following the addition of Cleveland, Ohio native, Chris Seaman in early 2013, Dr Goddard was born. Having quickly built a reputation in Sydney for their high-energy live show, they have amassed a solid following in a short amount of time and landed supports with The Preatures, Hot spoke, Evan & The Brave, Creo, Maids, and I Know Leopard.