Review: LIVE at Sydney Festival 2011

The concept for LIVE seems so simple: musicians, black and white, solo performance. But after viewing a few of the 20 performances on show, you’ll realise that there is more behind what you see.

LIVE is a project by Jasmin Tarasin to attempt to study ‘the art of performing’. I have to agree that large-scale performances that musicians do these days have lost their ‘intimacy’, and Tarasin does well to bring us right up close to these artists. Showing the performances in black and white removes the distraction of key elements of a performance such as their dress, and instruments.

The performance that represented Tarasin’s vision the best was that of Julian Hamilton, one half of The Presets. Hamilton’s performance had no instrumentation, so all you could focus on was his singing voice. His vocal part from ‘People’ is vastly different to that on the album recording, and it shows the song from another perspective.

By watching long enough, the subtle differences between performers are apparent, and interesting to watch. At one stage, three guitarists were pictured side-by-side. Each had a different way of playing their guitar. You could notice the positioning of the guitar, and their style of playing.

LIVE is a rather inexpensive way of seeing 20 songs from 20 different artists. I would highly recommend you to see it before it closes this weekend.

LIVE is open until January 23, at the lower part of Sydney Town Hall. Tickets are $15/$12.

PS: I’m volunteering at LIVE handing out headphones on the 23rd between 5pm and 7:30pm. Come visit!

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