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Chasing Ghosts, Sad Animals and Dry Laughs at Vivid Live

It was a week of rollercoasting emotions in Sydney's Opera House.
June 3, 2015, 2:05am

Image: Tracy S

Sydney's impressive annual VIVD Live is an event full of energy, vitality, and thousands of very much alive human beings. It's also a celebration of big lights, big music, and big ideas. This year there was also a little bit of shade and subversion, with Sufjan Stevens and Morrissey unleashing the spectre of death around the concert hall in lyric and image.

Both Daniel Johns and Bill Callahan also look great in white suits.

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Here are more thoughts on the week.

SQUAREPUSHER

As THUMP so succinctly pointed out, this show was a total brain-melt. If you've seen or read George Orwell's 1984 you'll know what it might feel like to have someone tinkering around in your head. This time it's a pleasant experience.

SUFJAN STEVENS

Image: Josh Gardiner

As he mentioned during his set, Sufjan Stevens loves a tune or two about death and ghosts of the past. Thing is, he's able to sing these heartbreakers all night without actually breaking your heart—at least not irrevocably. Maybe he's a magician. As he talks about occupation, and how friends and family live on within you, you can't help but think maybe there's hope for mankind after all. As he picked his banjo for most of the set you could hear a pin drop (or a plastic wine glass), but it was just as easy to lose yourself in the added muscle of his more electronic outros and arrangements.

MORRISSEY

Image: Prudence Upton

Moz. Mozza. Mr Steven P. We'd like to thank you for that opening set of videos featuring Siouxsie & the Banshees, New York Dolls, and Jefferson Airplane; your band's white nose-clips (seems the air is rare when you're that close to godliness); having a man named 'Boz' on stage; your silk shirts; throwing your silk shirt; what was under your silk shirt; Bruce Lee. That bloody Meat Is Murder moment with the slaughtered chickens, sheep, pigs, and cows—well that spoke for itself.

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BILL CALLAHAN

Image: Prudence Upton

Modestly set back in the stage with his band close around him, Callahan stands like the piece of musical furniture he is. Swaying with those stretched out tracks of exploring solos and hypnotic, repetitive refrains. Here was a couple of hours to let the mind wander, in between those moments where he killed the room with his deft jokes. All class.

FUTURE CLASSIC

Image: Prudence Upton

Seeing the stage in action with Flume, Flight Facilities, and more was something special. Gee, how sweet did the set-up look? Future Classic's harbor side stage seemed to float on the water, with the lit Opera House leaning over it like a congratulatory pat. Here's to the next 10 years, guys.

How were other people's experience of the week? Ask them. Or head to VIVID Live on Facebook.