MAMMA MIA! ABBA Voyage is a journey into the future of live music and it’s incredible

If there’s one thing you need to take a chance on, it’s ABBA’s new futuristic live music experience ‘ABBA Voyage‘. The four ABBA members we know, and love have reunited on stage after 40 years, only they’ve taken another form… the digital form.

Performing virtually, their avatars, or ‘ABBAtars’ debuted the Voyage concert experience on May 26 2022, in London, England. The Voyage won’t be setting off across the country, or the world, just yet. However, the group constructed a specially built arena to host the cutting-edge technology needed to put on such a futuristic live music experience and in the future, has the capabilities of being transported to other cities.

Whilst Björn, Benny, Agnetha, and Anni-Frid (Frida) all take to the stage as ABBAtars, the virtual group is supported by a real 10-piece band that performs live during every concert. The 20-song set-list features fan-favourites ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man after Midnight)’ and ‘Mamma Mia’, which are quick to turn any arena into a venue filled with dancing fans.

Voyage signifies a momentous occasion for live music lovers, and ABBA fans. The reunion of the band in virtual form allows generations of fans to witness the band live in a spectacle which the BBC says “needs to be seen to be believed”.

Samuel McManus-Maxwell, 26, is a passionate ABBA fan from the UK and eagerly travelled to London to join the Voyage, revealing that it was the best thing he had ever seen.

“I don’t know how they do it, but I also kind of don’t want to know, you know?” Samuel said. “I found myself trying to look for things that would give it away but then realised it would just ruin the magic.”

Samuel was enthralled by how immersive ABBA’s set was, noting the lights and mirrors that moved on the ceiling, and multiple costume changes for the ABBAtars that made the production feel reminiscent of the concert experiences we’re accustomed to.

“There were moments when I was clapping and cheering and then was like ‘there’s nothing actually there, I am cheering nothing’ which was a bit weird, but the crowd was living their best life,” Samuel said. “I heard someone saying they waved at Frida expecting her to wave back, it feels that real. It was as real as any concert I’ve been to.”

This was the goal for ABBA and the incredible creative team behind Voyage.


As explained by Björn and Benny when speaking to the BBC One Show, motion-capture technology was used to digitally project ABBA, who performed the songs themselves on a sound stage whilst being filmed wearing “leotards with dots on them” – aka, motion-capture leotards.

Director Baillie Walsh and choreographer Wayne McGregor spoke to NME about the motion-capture process and digital technology utilised.

“We filmed ABBA for five years,” Walsh told NME, noting that the ABBAtars are more than holograms. “Wayne McGregor extended their moves into younger bodies, our doubles, and we blended those performances together. Now we have our 2022 ABBA.”

When asked to explain the evolution from motion-capture leotards to ABBAtars, McGregor told NME that “we use these little dots to take the maths out your body. We take all these zeroes and ones and put them into a computer and build an avatar.” Noting the lengthy process, McGregor spoke of how the process had to be repeated with the younger body doubles, telling NME that they captured the essence of ABBA and then had to “transform some of that amazing physical from the 70s into maths and find a way of combining the two.”


Speaking to NME, producer Svana Gisla teased why ABBA’s Voyage experience is incredibly unique and more than a concert… an experience.

“The feeling of being inside the arena will be unique, it’s very immersive,” Gisla told NME. “People use that word a lot, but when you go in there, you’ll fully realise the capabilities of an immersive environment. It’s like being in the eye of the storm.”

Samuel agreed after joining the Voyage and seeing ABBA in all their motion-captured, digital glory.

“You forget that you’re in an arena, you almost become part of ABBA’s world,” Samuel said. “You are in a completely different space.”

For the duration of some songs, the ABBAtars take a break and are instead displayed as screen visuals, one factor that Samuel said was a little disappointing, especially during performances of their biggest hits.

However, Samuel couldn’t speak more highly of the ABBA Voyage experience. After all, concerts aren’t only about the performances of songs we all know and love to dance to. There’s more to the experience…

Highlighting this fact, the ABBAtars speak throughout the set, engaging with the audience. Björn, Benny, Agnetha, and Frida each deliver a solo speech, and even some jokes! It’s an element of live music many may overlook… the quieter in-between moments where the artist on stage speaks to the crowd. However, those moments add to the concert experience, leaving the audience with even more personal memories to hold onto. ABBA Voyage has it all, and the proof lies in the creators knowing that audience interaction would make the digital experience even more realistic.


David Smyth, writer for the UK’s Evening Standard reviewed ABBA Voyage, noting that he had once attended Whitney Houston’s hologram tour. His review of live music’s latest Voyage into the future compares the difference between the past use of hologram technology, revealing that ABBA’s live music experience “was galaxies ahead of anything similar” and worthy of a five star rating.

“With every new technological discovery, one might wonder if the limits have yet been reached,” Alina Vietoris writes. “Mostly, the answer is no. In the case of hologram performances, it seems like the fun has only just begun.”

Hologram technology has been utilised in the past, including short performances from the late Tupac, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. ABBA Voyage differs, using motion-capture technology. The difference comes with the blessing of all ABBA members being alive, and involved.

Walsh told NME that Voyage may not be simple to copy, saying that “ABBA were so involved in this, they’re the heart and soul of it. A posthumous show wouldn’t have the same kind of feeling. The fans know that ABBA are involved. This is ABBA.”


When asked about the future of Voyage, and how long the live music experience could run, all involved hope Voyage will be a destination for a long time, and Gisla told NME there are plans in place for the future of ABBA.

“If this is a success, then we could be here for a few years,” Gisla revealed to NME, also stating that the arena is moveable. Seems like future voyages could be possible…

Voyage proves that ABBA will be around for a long time, long after they’re capable of performing themselves. The future of live music is vast when factoring in the motion-capture and digital technology that continues to evolve. As ABBA and their ABBAtars take audiences on a mesmerising Voyage, there’s no doubt in my mind that in the coming years live music fans will witness even more reunions, comebacks, and ground-breaking performances from artists they never imagined they’d be able to see live.

Harry’s House is the place to be – why Harry Styles is the future of live music

Some say Harry Styles is a sign of the times, but Harry is the future and we’re all lucky to be witnessing it.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see Harry live multiple times – both with One Direction and as a solo-artist – but what impresses me the most are the ways in which Harry manages to stay authentic whilst pushing the boundaries of live music.

The British singer’s latest album ‘Harry’s House’ has skyrocketed to #1 in over 60 countries and the live performances of his new songs have gone viral on social media. Fans have been braving Ticketmaster queues to get a glimpse of Harry on stage, and those that were lucky enough to score tickets were treated to one of the most memorable experiences.

Harry Styles has been championing an innovative live music format which I believe, in the future, will become the norm for many other musicians. Upon the release of Harry’s two most recent albums – ‘Fine Line’ and ‘Harry’s House’ – the singer announced “One Night Only” shows in select locations (Los Angeles, New York, and London) with tickets costing approx. $25 and promising fans a performance of the new album from top to bottom. Every song on the album… performed live… for the first and realistically, the last time.

When artists tour, it’s common for setlists to be compiled of their most successful hits with a couple of album deep-cuts scattered in between. With Harry allowing fans to hear the new album in its entirety, the experience becomes more valuable than you can imagine. During the concert, Harry spoke of how much he adored this live music format and ability for him to perform his albums in “the way it was intended, from start to finish.”

‘Harry Styles: One Night Only’ in New York occurred on the release day of ‘Harry’s House’ and left the singer speechless, as fans in attendance already knew the words to the new songs, memorising them in under 24 hours. When in London a week later, fans sang the lyrics even louder, to Harry’s amazement. It was beautiful to witness the awe on Harry’s face, and joy evident amongst the crowd.

In the age of livestreams, an in-demand concert like Harry’s becomes prime opportunity for a global viewing party. Whilst many Harry Styles fans have often taken it upon themselves to livestream his shows themselves on Twitter or Instagram, Apple Music recently jumped on the bandwagon. For the first time, Harry’s ‘One Night Only’ in New York concert was livestreamed with an official broadcaster, available on the Apple Music platform live, and for additional screenings in the following days.

The demand of this livestream was notable, as fans livestreamed the Apple Music livestream for those who aren’t Apple Music subscribers. Fans used Twitter and Twitch to achieve this, ensuring that no Harry Styles fan missed out on the experience.

Harry Styles creates a safe space for fans to express themselves, whether they’re physically in attendance at a show or watching live from the comfort of their bed. Becoming famous for delivering a heartfelt speech each show, Harry always says, “feel free to be whoever you want to be” and advocates for the LGBTQI+ community, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement – waving flags supporting the causes on stage at every show. His song “Treat People with Kindness” is the motto, branded on merchandise and preached from the beginning of his solo career. The love and support that radiates from Harry shines brightly back at him from the crowd, with an undeniable understanding existing between the singer and his fanbase.

With the future in mind, Harry Styles is also an advocate for charity, climate change and gun control.

In the bid to end gun violence, Harry recently pledged a $1 million donation from ticket sales for his upcoming, sold-out ‘Love on Tour 2022’ US tour to Everytown. The organisation works to achieve gun safety and the end of gun-related violence. Despite this action being prompted by the devastating mass-shootings occurring in America recently, Harry has always been passionate about the cause, displaying an “end gun violence” sticker on his guitar while performing in 2018.

Supporting charities and organisations isn’t new for Harry, who also raised $1.2 million on his 2018 tour, donating funds to local charities along every leg of his worldwide tour.

Harry also aims to create tours that are sustainable, conscious of the impacts of climate change. Partnering with REVERB, ‘Love on Tour’ featured an “Action Village” that enabled fans to ‘join Harry in working toward a better future for our planet and communities around the world.’ Reusable bottles with free water refill stations were promoted to avoid single-use plastics – an effort in place for fans, crew, and Harry. The tour prioritised waste reduction, waste diversion and carbon elimination and REVERBS’s impact report details the positive impact this climate-focused tour had.

World tours that focus on climate change and sustainability will become more prevalent over the next five years, with artists such as Billie Eilish, Coldplay and Shawn Mendes already following in Harry’s footsteps. Live music has always been a place to raise awareness, and funds, for communities that suffer the consequence of climate disasters and devastating incidents. Benefit concerts, from Live Aid (1985) to FireFight (2020) prove that fundraising initiatives based around live-music events positively impact the world we live in. When broadcast globally awareness is spread, as is the opportunity for international viewers to donate and support communities that so desperately need help.

The spirit of these one-off events is honoured in Harry Styles’ tours and can be felt every time a fan buys a ticket to his shows. It can be felt every time Harry takes to the stage.


Harry Styles is the future. There is no doubt about it. Over the next five years, more artists will follow in his footsteps, creating tours that are safe spaces for fans, sustainable and focused on the future. Charity organisations promoting important causes will be highlighted more in the live music scene, encouraging donations and awareness that promotes further action. The live-music scene will also benefit from “One Night Only” style concerns that celebrate music for what it is, a magical art form that unites people all over the world. Having the opportunity to listen to your favourite album performed live, from beginning to end, will re-define what it means for an artist to release an album.

Harry Styles will be at the forefront of future live music changes and the world will be a better place for it.

BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage – Seoul Livestream

There’s no denying that BTS have captured the hearts of millions of ARMY around the world.

I’m happy to report that BTS gained another fan after I tuned in to their BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage – Seoul livestream. The K-pop group features seven superstars – Jungkook, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, RM, Jin and V – who all were incredibly eager to return to the stage and create a euphoric atmosphere for ARMY.

In March, BTS performed at Olympic Stadium in Seoul, South Korea over the course of three dates. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in Seoul, the capacity was restricted to 15, 000 masked, and silent, fans per night. No screaming or singing was allowed. It sounds like a dull event; however, the stadium shows were in high demand and naturally, sold out. Multiple livestream times (to cater to international time-zones) and multiple viewings were available to fans online, as well as one-night-only screenings in over 3000 cinemas around the world.

Fortunately, I was able to watch the livestream rebroadcast the following week.
(Biggest thank you to my amazing friend, and Lovers of Live follower, Jackie!)

The online stream experience was flawless – no connection issues, no loss of quality. English subtitles were available for fans, and the pre-show entertainment consisted of BTS music videos, sponsorships and even segments dedicated to raising awareness for climate change. The chat feature within the livestream enabled fans to engage with each other before, during and after the livestream, making us all feel united despite the distance. Another feature, which I’ve never witnessed in a livestream, was the “clapping” feature – a button which could be clicked and signified that as a fan, you were clapping along with the show. This button had over 11 million clicks by the end of the 3-hour event, only adding to the excitement of the experience.

Another factor that made the BTS livestream so different to others I’d witnessed during the pandemic, was the FULL stage production. With the event being held in a stadium, there was no holding back. The 20+ song set featured multiple costume changes, fireworks, pyro, confetti, state of the art screens, mesmerising lighting effects, a full band, and a troupe of dancers accompanying BTS. BTS themselves were on their finest form sounding as smooth as ever and dancing as sharp as ever.

The cinematography of the livestream was actually insane. It managed to capture the scale of the stage and stadium (including crowd shots), yet the stream felt intimate as viewers were treated to close-ups and selfie-angles of their favourite BTS members. Watching the livestream on my laptop gave me goose bumps, so I can’t even imagine how impressive it would have been to witness live within the stadium, or on a large cinema screen. The production level was next-level and very reminiscent of a movie.

In this sense, the BTS livestream reminded me of concert tour DVDS – only instead of them being filmed, edited, and distributed months after the event, livestreams are immediate.

Over the past five years, livestreams have become far more inclusive and authentic, creating experiences for fans that feel reminiscent of the culture experienced and concerts and festivals.

They’re also a great business move. The BTS online livestream ticket cost approx. $65 AUD, the cinema ticket approx. $40 AUD. That’s not including the 45, 000 tickets sold to fans who attended the concert physically in Olympic Stadium, Seoul. Via cinema ticket sales alone, BTS’ one-night-only broadcast raked in over $32 million at the Global Box Office!

With BTS proving that livestreams being screened in cinema entices fans to experience live music this way, the future of streaming is looking brighter than ever.

Over the next five years, I would not be surprised to see more BTS events being held in the same manner. I also believe other artists will follow suite.

In cinemas, fans are somewhat restricted by the seating arrangements – like a seated concert. For this reason, I also believe it would be incredible if during the next five years, such livestream events are held in live music venues – allowing space for a dancefloor and a screen to be broadcasting the livestream in question. This would only enhance the experience for fans, as crowds would mirror that of a concert, the sound system would be just as impressive and the livestream would be even more memorable and electric.

Venues, such as Oxford Art Factory in Sydney, Australia, regularly hold “On-Repeat” or themed club nights that see DJs playing specific genres or artists to a club-crowd that is eager to dance and see videos of their favourite artists being played on the stage screen. This is what inspired my prediction for future livestreams. If club nights like these are successful (and I’ve been to many, they’re so much fun) then I believe that the future of livestreams will become even more like concerts. Fans will have access to their favourite artists and bands, even when they’re performing live on a stage on the other side of the world – and the best part? They’ll be able to experience the livestream set surrounded by other fans, unified, excited, and ready to dance through every song streamed.

Livestreams have been the main tool utilised to satisfy the quench for live music throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many artists resorted to performing live from their home or an empty studio, feeling the absence of a crowd due to safety. BTS spoke of this experience on stage, repeatedly saying that they missed ARMY and were thankful to be performing to them in-person again, overcoming restrictions, because their absence made performances feel awkward and lonely. BTS said they felt like they’d returned home, and the meaning of this was not lost on viewers, as the experience felt historic.

It’s not only fans that are grateful for COVID-safe concerts, evidently artists are as well.

BTS proved to me they care about their fans, not just in terms of their music and performance value, but also their safety. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the world, and despite live music very much being back in action, there remains risk in contracting the virus at large scale events. All fans attending the outdoor, stadium concert in Seoul were required to wear masks, were repeatedly told not to scream, or sing, and instead, were given “clappers” to make as much noise as possible.

Although the livestream was dubbed with an audience screaming (much like the laugh tracks you hear in sitcoms), the sound of the clappers strangely felt just as thrilling as audience screams. It reminded you that BTS fans were in attendance and were excited. After experiencing the loss of live music, the absence of BTS on stage, the gratitude expressed and felt at concerts now is euphoric.

This format for a concert is noteworthy, as it proved that despite COVID-19 still being a concern, there are ways for live music events to go ahead in a COVID-safe manner. It’s almost reassuring in a way, knowing that if the next five years are turbulent due to the pandemic, live music can still exist in some form.

All you need are masks, clappers, and a crowd as passionate as BTS fans…oh and don’t forget the livestreams!

COUCHELLA RETURNS – HOW TO JOIN THE ACTION FROM COACHELLA 2022 WEEKEND 2

Are you ready to experience Coachella all over again?

Weekend 2 has kicked off and to prove that Coachella 2022 is bigger and better than ever, YouTube has extra access to all the best performances and is treating fans to an extra weekend of livestreams!

And you know what? I guarantee you’ll have the best seat in the house…
That’s why I call it Couchella – enjoying all the action of Coachella, from the comfort of your couch!

While majority of the acts on the line up will be featured in “Coachella Curated” and “Bonus Sets” – highlights reels from Weekend 2 of the festival – there are plenty of full performances that will be livestreamed, including the main headliners, of course!

Over the course of the weekend you can catch entire Weekend 2 sets from Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, Swedish House Mafia, Doja Cat, Anitta and plenty more acts performing on the biggest stages in the desert.

Coachella is streaming performances and highlights live across 3 YouTube channels, giving you the choice of multiple stages to float between. Below I’ll embed the 3 YouTube channels you need to be all over. The set times for each performance can be found in the YouTube channel descriptions.

Channel 1 features the full sets from headliners, so if you’re desperate to see Harry, Billie, Doja Cat and The Weeknd + Swedish House Mafia, keep Channel 1 open!


Remember, be sure to convert set times into your local time zone, otherwise you could find yourself missing your favourite act! The livestream channel descriptions have updated set times (PT time) when experiencing delays.
Last weekend there was an approx. half hour delay.

Halsey – ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’ Livestream

To celebrate the release of Halsey’s fourth studio album ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’, fans were treated to an incredible one night only, global performance experience. Halsey welcomed fans into their theatrical world of love and power, providing a mesmerising visual journey through some of the 13 songs featured on the new album.

The livestream event ran for approximately 45 minutes and was hosted seamlessly by Moment House. Ticket purchasing was simple, with users able to select between three different performance times based on their time zone. The website featured stunning graphics of Halsey, moody music and a countdown that created an air of excitement as the event was close to beginning.

Another wonderful feature was the chat, which allowed Halsey fans to engage before, during, and after the performance. Personally, I chose to watch the livestream in full-screen mode for the ultimate concert experience, however, the chat was constantly flooded with exciting reactions to Halsey’s performance.

The “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” livestream featured an 11-song setlist that incorporated multiple stage sets, costumes, and special effects.  The production was incredible, effectively adding depth and an electric atmosphere to the powerhouse performances. LED screens, neon strobing and a breath-taking set that looked straight out of a fairy tale were highlights.

You see that? Breath-taking.
The livestream flowed between both whimsical and haunting moments, between dark and light. Through it all it was beautiful and powerful.

The transitions between such different atmospheres were effective in keeping audiences on their toes, unsure as to what world they’d be transported into next. The styling of hair, costume and makeup also added depth to the atmosphere, with Halsey changing between fits that were reminiscent of medieval ages, but also welcoming of lacy bodysuits and lingerie.

Halsey filmed the event while pregnant, though you never would have guessed until the camera panned down to reveal the fact.

Their energy levels were high, particularly evident during the performances of “You asked for this”, “Nightmare” and “honey”, which saw the singer embracing the title of the song and covering themselves in the sweet condiment. Yep, you read that correctly. Halsey was covered in honey and looked gorgeous as ever.

“You should be sad” was stripped back in comparison to the western themed music video, with the singer laying down, dimly lit. Such contrast between the array of performances made the setlist feel even more engaging, much like a regular concert feels.

The singer sounded as strong and smooth ever, with their vocals leaving goose bumps as they performed “Darling” and a haunting reimaging of “Gasoline”. “I am not a woman, I’m a God” was also a standout, with Halsey demanding attention, and power, with ease.

The event felt intimate, with Halsey starring down the barrel of the camera multiple times, making the songs feel personal and the performance feel more inclusive than anticipated.

The trouble with livestreams is the disconnect that can arise, the awareness that you’re often alone and streaming a show from your home. However, Halsey and the incredible team that worked on this production mastered the art of creating high energy, tour quality performances that also felt engaging and intimate, like you were standing on stage with the singer during every moment.


What I believe was most special to see throughout the entirety of the livestream was the confidence and the authenticity radiating from Halsey. Each performance felt like a theatrical rendition of the album tracks fans have grown to love so dearly. It felt like Halsey gave her all to every inch of detail visible throughout the livestream and her physicality and voice during performances was as strong, yet raw, as ever.

In this crazy COVID world, the livestream felt like a snippet into the kind of Halsey tour we will hopefully all attend on the other side of the pandemic. You can guarantee you’ll see me front and centre, eager to see “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” brought to life once again.

SETLIST

  1. The Tradition
  2. Lilith
  3. Easier Than Lying
  4. You Should Be Sad
  5. Girl is a Gun
  6. Nightmare
  7. You Asked For This
  8. Darling
  9. Honey
  10. I am not a Woman, I’m a God
  11. Gasoline (Reimagined)

If you haven’t already heard “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power” I highly recommend you give it a listen.
Halsey becomes more authentic with each release, and it truly is one of the standout albums of 2021.

Stream it here.

Spacey Jane bring Sunlight to The Enmore Theatre

The sun is finally rising after the live music blackout we experienced in 2020 due to COVID-19 and Spacey Jane have been at the forefront of the live music scene’s revival.

Off the back of releasing their debut album ‘Sunlight’ (which was released during the pandemic and still managed to score #2 on the ARIA charts), Spacey Jane embarked on a national tour of Australia, with 2021 dates in high demand across every state.

The Perth band managed to sell out a six-show run at The Enmore Theatre in Newtown – Sydney, Australia – with more fans being welcomed through the doors of the iconic venue as COVID restrictions continue to ease.

Fortunately, I scored tickets to the final night of their historic Enmore run, and it was a euphoric experience from beginning to end!

Spacey Jane are one of the most captivating bands I’ve seen perform live. The liveliness of Caleb Harper, Ashton Le Cornu, Peppa Lane and Kieran Lama is downright infectious. After opening the show with ‘Skin’ the band soared through their setlist and didn’t leave any corner of the stage untouched – jumping and high kicking their way through the 80-minute set.

Good Grief’ and ‘Weightless’ were standouts, garnering huge reactions from the audience before the energy levels increased tenfold as the Perth band teased an unreleased song, due to be released next month, before playing ‘Straightfaced’, ‘Head Cold’, and ‘Booster Seat’ back-to-back towards the conclusion of the set.


After chants of “ONE MORE SONG!” erupted amongst the fans, Spacey Jane returned to the stage to deliver, matching the electricity in the crowd with their own excitement to be on stage – or not on stage, since Caleb Harper and Ashton Le Cornu eagerly jumped into the front row to perform parts of the set!

Their encore consisted of ‘Thrills’ and ‘Good For You’, which concluded the show on a high and utilised every ounce of production value the stage had been equipped for.

The impressive production and lighting was complemented by the recent renovations the venue has received. During the COVID lockdowns of 2020 (and consequently, the live music blackout) the Enmore restored side-wing balconies as extra seating options for the audience. The refurbishment also included a makeover of the theatre’s roof – now featuring art deco designs and LED lighting that reportedly, can be synced with the stage production.

Photography: Natalie Hannan


Whilst this didn’t act as part of the band’s production on Wednesday evening, the atmosphere in the Enmore was electric

If you’ve missed the energy of the crowd, a Spacey Jane gig is the place you need to be. The fans that filled the Enmore were lively, albeit a little rowdy – with vape smoke filling the air and a loudly, proudly sung chorus of ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’ by Abba acting as the perfect pre-gig warm up. Their eagerness to sing every word as Spacey Jane performed their debut album was enough to induce goose bumps.

Spacey Jane are leaving an array of warmth and light in their path as they finally experience the full level of appreciation that their fans have for them. It had been a long time coming, seeing Space Jane perform live at The Enmore Theatre. A long time coming for myself, and fans, but also for the band themselves. COVID-19 outbreaks and associated restrictions saw concert dates being postponed regularly, before more bad luck struck the group as lead vocalist Caleb Harper lost his voice, forcing more tour dates to be rescheduled upon doctor’s orders.

It had been a long time coming…and it was well worth the wait.

Photography: Natalie Hannan


After COVID made the absence of live music the norm, walking into The Enmore Theatre felt like coming home. The iconic venue has seen the likes of The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan… and even Harry Styles (with Stevie Nicks in attendance!) take to the stage in front of a full house. The six-show run Spacey Jane booked at The Enmore is impressive, reminiscent of Gang of Youths’ roaring success with their own six-show run at the venue in 2018.

Caleb referred to this, revealing that when the band first arrived in Sydney from Perth, they roamed the streets of Newtown and saw the tour posters promoting Gang of Youths’ upcoming gigs at The Enmore. He said it was in that moment the band discovered the beauty of the venue and their desire to perform there in the future. And that they did!

There’s no doubt in my mind that Spacey Jane will return to The Enmore, or easily sell out even larger venues in Sydney during their next lap around the sun. After all, Spacey Jane encompass everything their debut album projects – sunlight. After a year without live music, without dancing…Spacey Jane brought the sun and chased away any dark clouds lingering post-COVID. They reminded everyone in that room, including myself, of all the dreams we are yet to achieve, all the fun still to be had.

I can’t wait to see them live again soon!

To see more from Lovers of Live, check out the most recent articles and live music content on Instagram!

Yours and Owls 2021

Music festivals are back baby!



Yours and Owls 2021 will go down in history, marking the return of music festivals on a scale that has not been seen in New South Wales, Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The two-day event which took place over April 17th and 18th, celebrated its temporary home in Thomas Dalton Park, Wollongong, hosting approx. 14, 000 music lovers in a COVID-safe manner.

What does a COVID-safe festival look like? A little like this.


Yours and Owls 2021 was classified as a seated event, ensuring the social distancing guidelines as imposed by the NSW Government could be adhered to. To further protect attendees, the festival was divided into four zones, a capacity of approx. 3500 people in each, with state-of-the-art staging constructed in the centre.

To ensure all attendees had prime views of the performances, two stages were utilised – the “Yours” stage and the “Owls” stage. Performances were staggered across both, alternating by the hour. It made me nostalgic for Big Day Out, which adhered to a similar setup, proving to be effective. What was unique about the Yours and Owls setup was the function of the stages. Each stage featured rotating mechanisms, ensuring every angle of the festival, and crowd, could be played to. This was necessary, given the layout of the zones.

Despite being classified as a seated event, attendees could roam their zones to enjoy the food vendors, bars, and local “Rad” stage.

Most importantly? Dancing was given the tick of approval from the NSW Government in the weeks leading up to the festival. This made the weekend incredibly fun…and chaotic. Unfortunately, (and somewhat understandably) being restricted to socially distanced rows of seats is not the ideal dancing layout for festivalgoers. Countless people packed into the aisles and front sections, creating mosh pits during performances and essentially, throwing all social distancing rules out the window.

These actions resulted in multiple sets being interrupted and effectively, cut short by as much as approx. 15 minutes, whilst organisers took to the stage telling everyone to return to the seats.

Saturday was particularly frustrating in this regard, with every set of the evening being interrupted for this reason. The crowd would patiently wait for others to find a seat, only to witness hundreds of people run right back to the front and flood the aisles as soon as the performances resumed.

People were not PEACH-y keen on this experience. If you know, you know.

With organisers announcing that the future of the festival could be in jeopardy if subject to more chaos, it was a relief to find that Sunday was far better controlled, and performances were not victim to such frustrating interruptions.

Performances from Cosmo’s Midnight, DMA’s, Lime Cordiale and Hayden James were standouts, with almost everyone in sight on their feet, or standing on their chairs, dancing, and singing their hearts out. Despite Winston Surfshirt and The Smith Street Band experiencing lengthy interruptions, their performances were also crowd favourites.

Tones and I naturally worked up a frenzy of dance monkeys as she performed her global smash hit of the same name and after teasing a surprise, treated the crowd to a beautiful firework display to close her set. What So Not and PNAU were the perfect closing acts for their respective nights, concluding the festival on a high.

Despite the COVID-safe layout of Yours and Owls and the chaos that followed such restrictions, the festival experience was still exciting and euphoric.

It was simultaneously a sigh of relief, and a breath of fresh air. Personally, it marked my return to live music. Experiencing the absence of concerts and festivals for 14 months, due to COVID-19, felt soul crushing. It also made me experience intense waves of gratitude throughout the entire duration of Yours and Owls. I have a feeling, judging based on the reception of the crowd, I was not the only one. It was a magical weekend, and a much-needed reminder of the power of live music.

Dua Lipa – Newtown Social Club – Sydney, Australia – 2016

Live music is magical and often I struggle to find the words to describe the magnitude of the moments I experience in concert venues. My experience seeing Dua Lipa live for the first-time fits into this category, and still feels surreal to this day.

On July 13th, 2016, I witnessed a star being born. There’s no other way to describe the night.
Dua Lipa was a powerhouse from the second she stepped foot on stage, dancing and singing her heart out, until her voice was raspy as she fare welled us goodbye. The room Dua performed in was tiny, holding a capacity of approximately 100. The venue was Newtown Social Club, and unfortunately, closed a couple of years ago. I miss it and feel an immense amount of reverence towards it. It’s because of Newtown Social Club that I was able to see Dua Lipa, a now 3x Grammy award winning artist, break into the Australian music landscape. And guess how much my ticket cost. Only $40. Insanity. I still have the ticket and consider framing it every time I lay eyes on it.

With only approx. 100 people in the room, the whole gig felt intimate. There was an incredible awareness that we were the lucky few. We were seeing Dua perform live for the first time in Sydney, Australia. Little did we know, although we hoped, that it would not be the last.

At the time, “Be The One” and “Hotter Than Hell” were being added to radio rotations, slowly climbing their way up the Australian music charts. During the concert, Dua played these hits to a crowd so enthusiastic, the motion of our dancing and jumping made the floor beneath us shake. The energy was electric and our appreciation for Dua’s artistry evident, as she treated us to performances of unreleased tracks. Songs like “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” and “Thinking ‘Bout You” that in the years to follow would take the world by storm and be featured on her self-titled album. Rarely am I fortunate enough to see an international artist perform before they’ve even released their debut album, but let me tell you, it’s one of the most incredible experiences. It intensifies the attachment you have to the artist and their music. It feels like an honour.

It may sound silly, but the experience made me proud. Proud to seemingly have great judgement and a finger on the pulse of the music industry. Proud to identify a superstar before the world knew her name. Proud to see Dua Lipa in such an intimate setting, in the humblest beginnings, before growing into a global sensation and touring arenas around the world. Proud of Dua’s talent, success, and passion.

In 2018, I was fortunate enough to meet Dua and see her live another two times – one in a setting even more intimate than the first, in a room of about 20 – and secondly, at Luna Park’s Big Top, to one of the biggest crowds she’s played to date in Australia.

But hey, they’re stories for another time…and I can’t wait to share them here on Lovers of Live.


Niall Horan – Live at The Royal Albert Hall

Getting your live music fix in 2020 can be a challenge. However, there are incredibly innovative ways that artists and bands are reaching their fans to perform and fill the live music void in everyone’s hearts.

Last weekend, on November 8th 2020, I experienced my first ticketed livestream event. I virtually attended Niall Horan’s ‘Live at The Royal Albert Hall’ concert and was in awe of the technology that went into creating the live music experience.
So how did it work?

The pre-recorded event ran much like a regular gig. Fans were treated to an exciting announcement, setting their alarms for the moments tickets went on sale. After purchasing tickets (which was a much less stressful experience then usual, we love unlimited capacity!) virtual tickets were emailed to fans, with instructions on how to access the exclusive concert stream. What made the event so inclusive and accessible was the option of four livestream times, catering to fans all around the world, ensuring a stream could easily work into their time zones. The stream reached over 150 countries! On the day of the event, we were emailed a private link to direct us to the stream. This is where the excitement truly began for me.

It was 8pm, reminiscent of the nights when I’d be packed in a crowd, waiting for a performance to start on stage. Waiting for the stream to begin created the same sense of anticipation and excitement. What would Niall include in the setlist!? How long would he perform for!? Would there be any surprises!? The unknowns were so refreshing.
And then the screen went black, as close to the lights going out in the venue as one can get virtually…and the concert began.

Niall performed for an hour, playing through a setlist of songs from his debut album ‘Flicker’ and his latest album ‘Heartbreak Weather’. The beauty of this was, due to Niall releasing ‘Heartbreak Weather’ just as the world began going into lockdown. Niall was unable to tour the album. I had tickets to his 2020 Australian tour and when it was cancelled, resigned myself to thinking I wouldn’t be hearing the new music anytime soon. This livestream proved me wrong.

Hearing my favourite songs from ‘Heartbreak Weather’ live refuelled my soul. There’s no other way I can say it. It felt normal, it felt right, and it made me so grateful. Something that felt so out of reach was suddenly unfolding in front of my eyes. I danced, I cried, I sang. There was even a moment during ‘Slow Hands’ when Niall didn’t sing one line of the chorus, and out of habit, I sang the lyrics as every fan would at a concert when the artist holds the microphone out to the crowd to hear them sing the lyrics back to them. It was cheeky, given the livestream nature, but so, so normal. As I wrote yesterday, live music is healing and let me tell you, I felt healed.

Niall also treated fans to a surprise guest, Ashe, who joined the former One Direction member on stage to perform their collaboration, ‘Moral of the Story’. The surprise was reminder of the new COVID world we live in, as the pair described the extreme lengths they went to when getting the LA performer to London, including a two week quarantine.

The footage of Niall and his band performing was complimented by stunning shots of The Royal Albert Hall, which helped set the mood for the evening and often, made it feel like you were actually in the venue. Personally, I also found myself feeling privileged to see such a beautiful, historic venue on display without an audience. As you can see in the videos above, the production was beautiful, lighting up the room in time with the songs being performed and creating a memorable viewing experience.

Seeing Niall Horan perform virtually was everything my live music loving soul needed. Other artists including Kylie Minogue and Billie Eillish have streamed concerts of the same format with just as much success, proving there’s not only a market for the events, but also a need. However, it isn’t just fans that need these concerts. it’s the crews.

One of the most touching aspects of Niall Horan ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ was that all proceeds from ticket sales were being donated to his personal touring crew and the #weneedcrew relief fund. Niall passionately spoke of the cause, reminding fans that crew members were struggling in these COVID times, left to find supermarket jobs or other jobs of a casual nature due to the live music industry coming to a standstill. Niall wanted to ensure crews weren’t being left behind. Knowing I was supporting such an incredible cause made the live music experience even more fulfilling.

If you have the chance to witness live music in any capacity in 2020, take it. Whether it be a COVID safe event (if you’re in one of the lucky countries!) or a virtual livestream event, live music is healing. Live music is escapism and it’s needed more than ever.

If you love One Direction, check out my blog post featuring Harry Styles.

The Power of Live Music

It’s been approximately 9 months since I experienced live music and the energy of the crowd. As someone who always has a ticket to a future gig, it’s felt soul crushing to have all the events you’re looking forward to being cancelled or postponed. I know I’m not alone in this experience, which is comforting. That is the beauty of live music…it’s unifying. This is one of the many reasons why I love live music. Here’s some more…

I love live music because it erases loneliness.
Whether that’s through the presence of the crowd around you, or through captivating melodies and lyrics, live music makes you feel like you belong.

I love live music, because it brings out the best in people.
Live music gives people permission to feel, to express their emotions.
Take a look around at the next concert or festival you attend. I guarantee you’ll see people smiling, crying, singing and dancing. Live music allows you to be your most authentic self and not feel shame for the emotions you’re feeling or the experience you’re living.

I love live music because it is pure escapism.
For the duration of the setlist unfolding in front of your eyes, nothing else in the world matters. It’s as if the moment your ticket is scanned at the entry, all of your worries are left behind. Your worries are denied entry. The weight of the world is lifted from your shoulders and you feel light, filled with joy. Live music can make you feel so far away from the mundane, stressful, exhausting and painful aspects of day to day life. It’s that euphoric, relieving feeling that I miss the most right now.

I love live music, because it is healing.
I genuinely believe live music is healing. Some of the most famous live music performances come from events that aimed to heal the world. From Live Aid in 1985 to One Love Manchester in 2017 and FireFight Australia in 2020; benefit concerts prove that live music can create atmospheres of love, support, empathy and unity. It’s magical to witness and incredibly inspiring.

As 2020 nears its end, I find myself more and more grateful for every live music event I’ve experienced in my lifetime. In the moment, concerts and festivals pass by swiftly. The adrenaline kicks in and it all feels like a blur. However, those moments stay with you forever. Whether it’s in the form of photos, videos, outfits, tickets or the blurry memories in your mind, it’s more important than ever to revisit them, hold onto them and remember why you love live music.