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Vera Ellen Takes Australia: Her 5 Favourite Local Artists

Vera Ellen and her band are embarking on their debut Australian tour, which includes an appearance at SXSW Sydney

Vera Ellen

Nicola Sandford

One of New Zealand’s best singer-songwriters is finally heading to Australia. Following a successful fundraiser event put on by Wellington’s tight-knit music community, Vera Ellen and her band begin their debut Australian tour this week.

The short trip is mostly focused on Melbourne, with Ellen playing three consecutive shows at some of the city’s best music spots (see full details below). She’ll be joined by some of New Zealand and Australia’s best acts, including excellent Lyttelton musician Ben Woods, who recently made the move to Melbourne.

But before that, Ellen will showcase her music at SXSW Sydney, performing at Aotearoa House alongside ASHY, Foley, Melodownz, Soaked Oats, and many more. The three-day event will see a total of 30 Kiwi artists perform a series of networking events and panel presentations showcasing contemporary culture and creativity from the country.

To celebrate Ellen getting to show Australia what she’s all about – Ideal Home Noise is one of the standout albums of 2023 so far – Rolling Stone asked her to name her five favourite local artists ahead of the tour. (It’s only a coincidence that she’s performing with two of them in Melbourne.)


Kosmetika are one of those bands that pulls you out of your body into their own fantastical universe. You find yourself transported in a swirl of scathing synths and familiar yet twisted guitar lines. They dip their toe in many genres I personally love but make it their own – bit experimental, bit post-punk, bit art-pop, all immediate, all attitude, all guts, all Kosmetika.


J is everything I love about ambient and electronic music. World building, contemplative, gentle yet confronting, colourful yet grey, space-creating, the sound of the early morning and the late evening at once. I could listen to my seat and weep a thousand times over and still unearth more.

Elle Shimada

An artist who sits in a league of her own (and who will also be playing SXSW Sydney). You can’t put her in a box – only really step back and admire her immense creativity as she crosses with ease between dance music with high production to intense vulnerability. 


I first came across Jonnine in her collaboration with Rowland S. Howard. I was so immediately taken by her voice. She truly could sing the ingredients on a cereal box and I would listen intently. There’s something about her voice that’s so brimming with life yet pours out of her with such ease. Like you’re in the palm of her hand and she could drop you at any moment, but she won’t.

Georgia Knight 

When looking for opening acts for my show in Melbourne, Georgia Knight really stood out to me. As a PJ Harvey fan I couldn’t help hearing some cross over, but certainly Georgia is doing her own thing. Her music feels unencumbered, like it could swoon you but also bite your head off. 

Vera Ellen Takes Australia

Thursday October, 19th (SXSW Sydney)
Aotearoa House, Rouge Sydney (Darling Harbour, Sydney, NSW

Saturday, October 21st (SXSW Sydney)
Hollywood Hotel (Surry Hills), Sydney, NSW

Thursday, October 26th*
Fitzroy Pinnacle, Melbourne, VIC
Tickets: Eventbrite

Friday, October 27th**
The Retreat Hotel (Brunswick), Melbourne, VIC
Tickets: Eventbrite

Saturday, October 28th
Oh! Jean Records, Melbourne, VIC

*With Ben Woods & Seagull
**With Kosmetika, Deuce & Georgia Knight