Steve Kilbey’s top 6 picks for Sydney Festival
The alt-rock statesman gives us an insight into his tastes
Steve Kilbey    |    9 December, 2019

The prolific Steve Kilbey, frontman of alt-rock icons The Church, makes a rare live performance as he debuts his new solo album Sydney Rococo in full for one night only, accompanied by the George Ellis Orchestra and his world-class recording band.

Sydney Rococo is Kilbey’s homage to his adopted home, the Harbour City; a collection of “songs for a banker or for a tramp, songs about seediness and the sea… the summers, the dreams, the vegetation – always pushing skywards… filtered through lush orchestras and sighing voices.”

The live show is a must-see for aficionados of dreamy Aussie alt-rock from 1980 through to now. But what else is a must-see in the program? We asked Steve Kilbey to tell us the five shows in the 2020 program that interest him the most, and his answers didn’t disappoint.

1. Holly Herndon

“Well this seems to have all the ingredients of the stuff that I like: sci-fi stuff, spiritual stuff and especially the intermingling of human and artificial voices, which is something I’m very interested in, plus a learning AI program Spawn. This one’s worth checking out for sure! Hey can I get a front row comp ticket for this please?”

16 January
Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent
$39 + BF
Tickets and more

2. Tenebrae

“Continuing my obsession with voices – I’m a singer for god’s sake – is Tenebrae, described as passion and precision in voices. Man, I’m going to go along and soak that up (and probably attempt some clumsy recontextualisation into rock ‘n’ roll!).

21 January & 22 January
City Recital Hal
l$70–$80 + BF
Masterworks of the Renaissance tickets
Music of the Spheres tickets

3. At The Illusionist’s Table

“Because I love magic and Scott Silven looks like a true star!”

8–26 January
QT Sydney
$349 + BF
Tickets and more

4. POOF! Secrets of a Magician

“Because I wanna know how they do it! How do they get the rabbits up their sleeves? And what happens when the assistants get sawn in half…?”

21–26 January
Drama Theatre
Sydney Opera House
$50–$60 + BF
Tickets and more 

5. The Aspie Hour

“I’ve unwisely self-diagnosed myself with Asperger’s, so I wanna check out what the other Aspies are into. Only it’s gonna be funny this time.”

14–18 January
$39–$45 + BF
Tickets and more

6. Sydney Rococo: Steve Kilbey and the George Ellis Orchestra

“I see Steve Kilbey is doing his magnum bloody opus Sydney Rococo with all-star band and 12-piece orchestra. That should be OK too – ha.”

19 January
City Recital Hall
$60–$70 + BF
Tickets and more


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