Figaro's best of 2018: Best Live Performance
We tapped into the wider Figaro brainfeed and got all our contributors and collaborators to lend their thoughts on the third and final of our best ofs recaps - best live performance of the year.
Jon Hopkins (at Let Them Eat Cake)
One of the first acts I saw this year and one that I’m in no rush to forget. Going into Cake I wasn’t really familiar with Jon Hopkins, one of those “I know the name, but not really his music”. But when it was time to leave the Mansion on New Years Day, I remember being absolutely blown away by one of the most technical, unexpected and diverse DJ sets I have ever seen in my life. If anyone reading has a spare ticket to his sold out Melbourne show, please get in touch. - Liam Moss
Nils Frahm (at Hamer Hall)
Nils Frahm’s performance was all in all the understanding of how far music can take one’s mind on a journey through time, memory, emotion and evolution. An altered state, where if the world could communicate with one another without using words, it’s the world Nils Frahm imagines. - Shaki and Eren
Everything you’ve heard about a Nils Frahm live performance is true - and then some. There’s no real way of articulating how utterly captivating his performance is. He has an incredibly disarming charisma while he speaks and jokes between his songs as he potters around with the mind boggling array of equipment he brings with him, then when he plays, you are completely engrossed it is a genuinely transportive, life affirming experience.
Honourable mention: Honey Dijon @ Sugar Mountain. - Nico Faust
Sun Ra Arkestra (at The Night Cat)
“Nothing brings me more joy than being witness to musicians who are undeniably masters of their craft. For me, seeing Sun Ra Arkestra was the embodiment of that this year. Fronted by Marshall Allen, the mythology and prowess of Sun Ra himself certainly lives on. Everyone on stage brought a little bit of the wonderful Sun Ra cosmos to Melbourne, and I’ll be forever grateful that these acts still make their way around the world.” - Jess Hilton
Kamaal Williams (at Strawberry Fields festival.)
As soon as both acts were announced everybody hoped for a dual performance. And boy did it not disappoint. A sea of shoes were thrust into the air as the two modern jazz masters nerded out in the Supernatural Amphitheatre.
Kamaal Williams at Strawberry Fields festival.
Held at the grove stage, the set avoided any of their slower jams and opted to take full advantage of their amazing touring drummer, Andy Fisenden. Kamaal Williams openly admitting to fan boying to Fisenden when he was much younger. Although an Aussie legend in the drumming world, he's commonly found as the touring member for Guy Sebastian. A standout moment of the set was definitely when Kamaal (Henry Wu?) humorously commented that the crowd reminded him of Woodstock as he jumped straight into an impromptu acid piano house track.
Jazz is cool again. - Quillon Simpson
Noname (at the Forum)
After good damn time Noname finally returned to our Australian shores September under the romantic lights of the Forum Theatre. Having just released her second and most recent album ‘Room 25’ only a few days before the show, there was a type of happiness, energy and authenticity from the artist that couldn’t be faked, and added so much to the show. Noname’s slick and fluid delivery were never shy in her live performance, so generous in each breath. And also, one of the funniest stage presence’s I’d come to see. - Kristina Mastrokostas
Moodymann’s stellar performance just after the sun had gone down at Pitch Music Festival’s opening night was a sight to behold. The Detroit enigma entertained the dusty crowd who could just not get enough of the funky, groovy jams he spun from Outkast to Prince, and including his own ‘Don’t You Want My Love’. A lesson in funk and dance as much as it was a party, the two hour set was truly a blissful moment. - Hamish Williams
Sampa the Great (at Meredith 2018)
Night fall at the Sup and the air was thick with anticipation. Sampa, accompanied by a full band, brought her to new heights. Powerful stage presence, killer delivery, superb horn arrangements and beautiful back up singers. One of the unexpected highlights of the set was Doo-Wop (That Thing) by Ms. Lauryn Hill. Also, honourable mention to Nils Frahm for this year! - House of Friends