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A festival that you do in the city that does it best—art, culture, food and music under moonlight: RISING has unveiled its expansive 2023 program of 185 events featuring more than 400 artists including 35 commissions and 12 world premieres, set to ignite the heart of Melbourne from 7—18 June.

 Sprawling over three of Melbourne’s iconic music venues, The Forum Theatre, Melbourne Recital Centre and Max Watt’s, RISING presents a genre-bending and truly international program of the most innovative acts from across the globe, spanning the USA, UK, India, Japan, South and West Africa, Canada, New Zealand and here in Australia, as well as leading edge hometown talent. 

 The Forum will play host to some of the most sought after global and Australian artists, taking over the mainstage as well as upstairs which will be a curated selection of rare, intimate one-offs.  

Witch feat J Mascis

 Mainstage artists include:

  • Thundercat, aka Stephen Bruner, who’s  spent studio time with everyone from Herbie Hancock and Erykah Badu to HAIM, Ty Dolla $ign, Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, will be bringing his six-stringed bass and wide-eyed vibe to The Forum.
  • US orchestral pop master Weyes Blood has been riding a wave of acclaim following the release of her expansive fifth album, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow last year. This will be her first local performance since 2016 – with genre-defying post punk favourite Lost Animal as support.
  • Revered Mutti Mutti songman and elder, Uncle Kutcha Edwards will bring together an all-star crew for Waripa, a one-off celebration of Blak music, ceremony, tradition, and storytelling building on his Carpool Karaoke inspired show Koorioke, a soulful, funny and family sing-a-long of First Peoples anthems. The extraordinary line-up of First Peoples singers, songwriters and musicians from all over the country and Kulin Nation includes Bart Willoughby and Joe Geia (No Fixed Address), Mo’Ju, Shellie Morris, Emily Wurramura, Eleanor Dixon and Alice Skye, with many more to be announced.
  • UK legends The Damned, the goth icons and trailblazers of punk will hit the Forum stage for RISING leading an incredible double bill with US doom metal supergroup Witch (featuring J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, Kyle Thomas aka King Tuff, David Sweetapple of Teepee Records, and Aussie Graham Clise of Annihilation Time and ROT TV) supported by Melbourne experimental industrial duo Vacuum. In a word: heavy.
  • Japan’s madcap composer and guitar innovator, Cornelius brings a sound that’s shimmering, playful and tweaked—Shibuya style to RISING in his first Australian performance since 2014.
  • Hot on the heels of their anticipated new album, RVG lead an epic triple header with Danish punk rockers Iceage, and reformed Melbourne rock outfit Batrider in their first show in more than a decade.
  • Hailed by NME as “RNB’s new avant-garde star”, American singer-songwriter, rapper, soul and jazz performer Liv.e (pronounced Liv) comes to RISING riding a wave of hype for her globally-lauded second album Girl in the Half Pearl. Joining her at The Forum will be Nigerian-born London-based rapper songrwiter and rapper Obongjayar. With afrobeats, soul and hip-hop influences, this extraordinary double bill promises a night of bold, genre-defiant musicality.

Upstairs at Forum II artists include:

  • US singer-songwriter Ethel Cain’s promises soaring baroque pop and a slow dance through the molasses of Lynchian Americana. Drawing frequent comparison to Lana Del Rey—this is sure to be the last small show on these shores before everyone else finds out.
  • Rapper and producer Birdz and artist and cultural leader Fred Leone have joined forces for project Gira, produced by Ngarrindjeri man and multi-platinum, Aria winning producer Trials this collaboration of some of the most in-demand and talented Indigenous artists in country will have its world premiere at Forum II for RISING.
  • After fronting the cult electronic band Chromatics, Los-Angeles based artist Ruth Radelet is set to mark a new era in her career with the release of her debut solo album – this will be her first ever solo show in Australia
  • Long beloved in Japan, Ichiko Aoba will perform an intimate set – her fragile-yet-powerful songs, drift like cirrus clouds and captivate like fables.
  • UK-based artist Yazmin Lacey is a singer-songwriter whose sound blends soul, jazz and R’nB came to music late, almost as if by fate. Now her debut album Voice Notes is picking up widespread praise and five-star reviews in The Guardian, and she’s heading upstairs at The Forum for RISING.

Melbourne Recital Centre will feature 2 nights of Paul Kelly – who will immortalise his thematic compilation mixtape style album Drinking – live for the very first time with a full band. MRC will also play host to the latest iteration of Hear My Eyes  – Big Yawn & Teether team-up for a new sensory experience of crime film classic GOOD TIMES  

Max Watt’s is where the late-night party is during RISING—a heaving festival music club that runs into the early hours, home to forward-thinking dance electronic, afro-beat and experimental international and local tastemakers.

 Artists include:

  • KwaZulu-Natal born artist Desire Marea’s music is eclectic and avant- garde, but never cold or restless. They’re coming to RISING playing post-gospel spiritual jazz with six-piece band, and a new record and as well as a new single called ‘Be Free’ to share.
  • Real Lies are vocalist Kev Kharas and musical mastermind Patrick King. Sublime, spoken-word set to nineties house- inflected bangers and strung-out electronica.
  • London-based modern synth master, electronic producer and musician Loraine James, features on a double bill with Indian modular synthesist, vocalist and an engineer Arushi Jain.
  • Curated by BLK ICE aka local artists Paul Gorrie, of DJ PGZ fame, and Ihab S Balla, BLACK MASS is a multi-disciplinary, shape-shifting experimental art project made up of African and Indigenous artistic duo Ihab S Balla and Paul Gorrie.
  • Naarm-based organisation, Liquid Architecture have been working on the experimental and interdisciplinary edge of sound research and music, they’re liquefying Max Watt’s for a big night of communal exploration
  • South African music powerhouse Esa’s Afro Synth Band enlists two disco stars and a cohort of party starters, he’s invited Zanzibar-born singer composer and campaigner Mim Suleiman as well as South African disco star Kamazu to the stage.
  • Seeing out RISING with a bang, NTS—the renowned global music platform and radio station will take over Max Watt’s in an all-night closing party – the line-up will be a surprise for the audience on the night

 RISING: 7 – 18 June 2023

Presale tickets are available for RISING subscribers from 12pm Tuesday 14 March. General tickets on sale 12pm Friday 17 March.

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