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Brisbane Festival Live Music Guide

It’s September, which means it’s time for Brisbane Festival! The annual festival, which takes over most of Brisbane’s South Bank precinct, has a program choc-a-block of all types of entertainment. Here’s the guide to all the fantastic (and strange!) music Brisbane Festival has to offer this September.

Free Music at Theatre Republic: 8th – 26th September at QUT Creative Industries Precinct

The program includes MKO on September 9th, Ella Fence on September 12th, Michelle Xen + The Neon Wild on September 18th, Ayla on September 19th, Mid Ayr on September 24th, and Cheap Fakes on September 25th.

4ZZZ Flashback - 40 years of independent radio: 20th September at The Spiegeltent

To celebrate the 40th birthday of Australia’s first community FM broadcaster, 4ZZZ have pulled together a showcase of seminal acts that have been integral to Brisbane’s music scene over the last four decades, including Jeremy Neale, Screamfeeder, Ups and Downs, and Ed Kuepper.

A State of Grace - The Music of Tim and Jeff Buckley: 25th – 26th September at QPAC

A State of Grace celebrates the Buckley’s lives and music, bringing together images and stories with six stellar singers and musicians with close connections to both brothers. 

Bahamas: 24th September at The Spiegeltent

Since 2009 Finnish-Canadian Afie Jurvanen has been writing songs about sunsets, love affairs, and making out with crooked smiles. Expect arrangements of strings, brass, winds, orchestral percussion, and chamber choruses that transport the listener from moving seas, to a search for strength, to a place of resolve and comfort.

Charlie Lim: 8th September at The Spiegeltent

Charlie Lim’s music stretches across acoustic melancholia and electronic-pop; a sonic journey full of cinematic gravitas and life's narratives. Garnering great reviews and airplay across Asia-Pacific, he’s played at The Gathering, Mosaic Music Festival, Clockenflap, and Jarasum Jazz Festival.

Conrad Swell: 17th September at The Spiegeltent 

The Brisbane local has generated serious buzz with his single Start Again, and last year he showcased his phenomenal vocals and song writing when he penned and performed on Kygo’s smash hit Firestone.

Fox Capture Plan: 6th September at The Spiegeltent 

On the surface this trio are the atypical jazz trio of piano, upright bass and drums. But big piano chords and pop melodic hooks give these guys a groove that conquer classics from Björk, Oasis and Massive Attack as well as offering up brilliant original material.

Halfway: 9th September at The Spiegeltent

One of Australia’s best rock bands, performing songs from their award-winning album “Any Old Love” as well as excerpts from their collaboration with Kamilaroi Elder and social activist Bob Weatherall, “A Restless Dream”. 

Kiasmos: 25th September at The Spiegeltent

The electronic duo is made up of Icelandic BAFTA-winning composer Ólafur Arnalds, known for his unique blend of minimal piano and string compositions with electronic sounds, and Janus Rasmussen from the Faroe Islands, known as the mastermind of the electro-pop outfit Bloodgroup.

Los Coronas: 22nd – 23rd September at The Spiegeltent

They’re Spain's best surf rock band! A mix of Spanish and flamenco melodies and ‘60s Californian surf sound blended with a heavy dose of Spaghetti Western and film noir soundtracks. 

Lady Rizo – Unescorted: 12th -13th September at The Spiegeltent

Backed by a killer group of musicians, the Grammy Award-winning NYC cabaret superstar performs a songbook stretching from Judy Garland to the Pixies with a voice described as a mix between Peggy Lee, Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse. These unique arrangements of pop songs are peppered with her own stirring anthems and laced with shameless flirtation.

Luna: 15th September at The Spiegeltent

These great indie New York-based rockers were last seen on stage in February 2005. In their eight studio albums between 1992 and 2005 Luna honed a moody, introspective sound that owed a debt to influences such as the Velvet Underground.

Megan Washington: 5th – 20th September at The Spiegeltent (SOLD OUT) 

One of Brisbane’s great musical exports, the two-time ARIA Award winner and multi-platinum album selling artist has already sold out both her Brisbane Festival shows.

Myele Manzanza & The Eclectic: 16th September at The Spiegeltent

Myele’s prowess as a drummer has earned him a reputation as a musician capable of seamlessly traversing jazz, hip-hop, r ’n' b, electronica, broken-beat, soul and world music. Leading from the drum-kit, the fearsomely talented Myele presents his new project, the afro-elastic-soul ensemble, The Eclectic.

We Two Thieves: 10th September at The Spiegeltent 

Equal parts Americana, folk, gospel and soul, We Two Thieves present a heartfelt musical journey peppered with tales of mischievous lovers, broken hearts, tender rebels and an undaunted celebration of the treasures of life.

If you’re more classical minded check out…

Coup Fatal: 5th – 8th September at QPAC

Coup Fatal is a tribute not so much to baroque music as to the unrelenting elegance of the Congolese: a mad, defiant party that makes you want to live.

It’s a party inspired by the flamboyant sapeurs, the dandies of Kinshasa who blank out the horrors of war and violence with a penchant for extravagance and exuberance.

Black Angels: 23rd September at the Queensland Conservatorium

Singapore’s premier string quartet cuts an unmistakable silhouette on the global stage. At the centre of the concert is George Crumb’s 1970 ‘Black Angels’ - a maniacal alchemy of electric string instruments, glass rods, crystal glasses and tamtam gongs that resurrects uneasy memories of the Vietnam War.

Clem Jones City Hall Concerts: 8th – 22nd September at Brisbane City Hall

Artists performing include Australian legends Mike Nock & Laurence Pike, world-renowned pianist Simon Tedeschi, and Musical Theatre students from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

Made in France: 8th September at QPAC

Parisian ensemble Soundinitiative presents parts of the last great work of Gérard Grisey, father of French spectralism, music by Raphaël Cendo the French saturationist, and a selection of inspiring pieces by Leroux, Bertrand, Iannotta and Pesson.

Paul Lewis: 9th September at QPAC

Paul is internationally regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation, with his recent cycles of works by Beethoven and Schubert has consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire.

Renee Fleming: 7th September at QPAC 

Fleming is a four-time Grammy Award-winning opera star with a sparkling career that spans three decades seeing her grace the world’s greatest stages and concert halls from The Metropolitan Opera New York to La Scala Milan, and the Winter Palace in St Petersburg.

Thum Prints: 8th September at QPAC 

This concert will match beatboxing virtuoso Tom Thum with the full forces of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra for the first time with the groundbreaking Brisbane composer Gordon Hamilton.

QSO & Simone Young: 12th September at QPAC

Two Australian powerhouses join QSO in an evening of musical magic. Internationally acclaimed conductor Simone Young continues her profound Mahler odyssey in Brisbane while Lisa Gasteen returns with a song cycle perfectly suited to her incomparable dramatic soprano.

And something a little bit different…

Macbeth: 15th – 19th September at QPAC 

In this re-creation, a group of Congolese refugees has stumbled upon a trunk filled with sheet music, costumes and gramophone recordings of Verdi's Macbeth. This theatrical paraphernalia is the catalyst for a dramatic re-telling of Shakespeare's tale of greed, tyranny and remorse, with the Macbeths as warlords, the three witches as double-crossing businessmen and Dunsinane as the Great Lakes region of Central Africa.

Velvet: 16th – 26th September at Brisbane Powerhouse

Velvet is an electrifying trip to a world of glamour and abandon, all in the company of vocal, dance and acrobatic stars. Featuring the legendary diva Marcia Hines, singer/songwriter Brendan Maclean, mix-master Joey Accaria, and New Orleans burlesque queen Perle Noire, Velvet is a fantastic sensory overload.

Club Swizzle: 4th – 26th September at The Spiegeltent

A bar where crazy good times abound, and the most debaucherous souls in show business come together to create a show you’ll never forget. It’s a melee of outrageous cabaret, air-defying acrobatics, infectious musical revelry, and it’s calling your name.

Cabinet of Curiosities: 9th September at QPAC

Margaret Leng Tan, hailed as the “queen of the toy piano” by The New York Times, has established herself as a major force in the American avant-garde. Using toy pianos, toy instruments and other oddities, this work revolves around the bizarre, bewitching world of the carnival.

Rise for the Oceans – A Celebration of the Sea: 5th September at QPAC

For one night only, Tim Winton, Bernard Fanning, Katie Noonan, Jessica Watson, Professor Iain McCalman, and other special guests including Didjeridu virtuoso William Barton will edify, thrill, entertain and enlighten us with their hopes and fears for our oceans and reefs and the extraordinary creatures that inhabit them.

Music for Little Monkeys: 12th -13th September at The Spiegeltent

A quirky show featuring kazoos, electric ukuleles, bongos, flying monkeys, and harmonicas. 

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