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Photo Gallery: Vivid Live 2015 Opening Weekend

The Sydney Opera House plays host to Sufjan Stevens, Royal Headache, Matthew Herbert and more as the fortnight-long festival kicks off.

The foreshore is packed. Further off, beyond the endless sea of families (all of which seem to be aimlessly shuffling at half pace, blinded by the randomly placed lighting installations that litter the pathways) there’s the Oprah House. It’s pasty tiled exterior washed over with a series of shifting bright blotches that depict some sort of Amazonian jungle scene. Given the iconic setting, it’s all fittingly over-the-top. Every available space filled with some of sort of choreographed eliminated loop, magpie beacons to lure the city’s widespread occupants to make their annual pilgrimage to the harbour.

But even with the transformation of these ordinarily bland spaces, the outside world has nothing on the treats that await inside.

Sufjan Stevens is a fitting start point for this year’s Vivid Live program. His pop re-invention is the logical evolutionary sideways-step to the Opera House’s usual performers, with the core fragility of his sound finding new life within the acoustics of the grand Concert Hall. The rest of Friday evening’s entertainment, however, features a style closer tied to the exterior’s erratic light show, with enigmatic electronic wizard Squarepusher playing maestro to an all-encompassing audio/visual show in the Joan Sutherland theatre, while the Red Bull Music Academy hosted a free party in the unseated Studio space, headed up by performances from Onra and Dreems.

Red Bull also backed up on the Saturday night, co-hosting another Studio takeover with local institution Mad Racket, headlined by UK’s Mathew Herbert. Meanwhile, in the Joan Sutherland Theatre local record store Repressed showcased the full spectrum of local fringe and DIY music — including sets from Snake, Blank Realm and hometown heroes Royal Headache. While exaggerated media reports have presented a destructive climax to the Repressed Records party, this article from The Guardian gives a far more accurate recollection of what occurred. Repressed founder and the night’s co-curator, Chris Sammut, provided a wonderful articulation of the communal sense of pride evident during the headline performance, stating that “you’ll be waiting a while to see band so many people connect to like Royal Headache.”

To close out the weekend, rumbling Melbourne rockers The Drones celebrated the tenth anniversary of their award-winning Wait Long By The River… LP, re-producing the album in full alongside a selection of older songs and a handful of tracks from their forthcoming album.

Vivid Live continues this week with performances from Morrissey, The Preatures, Daniel Johns and many more.

Photos by Daniel Boud and Prudence Upton.


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Sufjan Stevens. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Squarepusher. Credit: Daniel Boud


Stor Eiglass Virtual Reality. Credit: Prudence Upton


Stor Eiglass Virtual Reality. Credit: Prudence Upton


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Lighting of the Sails. Credit: Daniel Boud


Snake and Friends, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Snake and Friends, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Snake and Friends, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Exhaustion with Kris Wanders, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Exhaustion with Kris Wanders, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Exhaustion with Kris Wanders, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Blank Realm, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Blank Realm, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Blank Realm, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Royal Headache, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Matthew Herbert. Credit: Prudence Upton


Monica Brooks, Repressed Records Night. Credit: Prudence Upton


Dreems, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Dreems, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Onra, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Onra, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Onra, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Onra, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Onra, Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


Red Bull Academy Night. Credit: Daniel Boud


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


The Drones. Credit: Prudence Upton


Univeral Everything Exhibition. Credit: Daniel Boud


Univeral Everything Exhibition. Credit: Daniel Boud


Univeral Everything Exhibition. Credit: Daniel Boud


Univeral Everything Exhibition. Credit: Daniel Boud


Univeral Everything Exhibition. Credit: Daniel Boud

In This Article: Vivid Live