While Melbourne had a long list of things to do including the F1 and football on Friday night, King Stingray at the bowl was where it was at! The All Ages performance was full of exciting sounds, including the two openers, George Alice and Gretta Ray.
George Alice’s initial opening set was the first of hers in a long while, but her performance was the perfect settler for the night. Her electric pop sounds made an early impact and set a high bar for the rest of the night.
Gretta Ray’s main opening set was phenomenal. Her presence, voice, and excitement were palpable as the crowd grew throughout her set. Gretta’s set amped the crowd up emphatically by singing a slew of originals including “Bigger Than Me”, “Drive”, and “Love Me Right”. The highlights of her set came in the form of two covers. “Vienna” by Billy Joel came with flowing vocals, while the punch of “The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows” by Gang of Youths, meant her set had quite a range. A tender moment came in the form of her bringing a Trans flag onto the stage and speaking to the importance of the date; being ‘Trans Visibility Day’ to close out her set.
There is something special about the boys of King Stingray. The way in which they combine both English and Yolŋu Matha language, alongside sounds of guitar, bass, the Didgeridoo, and other traditional Aboriginal instruments. Creating a unique and electrifying sound, King Stingray presents a new style and unique presence to the Australian music scene that was on display through their set at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Friday night.
The atmosphere in the bowl was electric. The crowd was incredibly enthusiastic and full of a wide range of punters from ages 3 to over 50 who were filled with joy and excitement throughout the 1-hour set. While King Stingray’s set was supposed to be 45 minutes, it was exciting to see it was extended to an hour meaning everyone was able to experience a little more of their music.
While the band only had a 10-song set, it was monumental. Opening with a mix of instrumental sounds as the band entered the stage, they swiftly moved into “Sweet Arnhem Land”, a track from their 2022 self-titled album. Immediately the crowd was tapping their feet, clapping, and dancing along. Highlights of the night included “Get Me Out”, “Camp Dog”, and their hit single “Milkumana”, the three songs closed out the set in the best way possible, with anyone remaining seated, up and dancing.
Between songs, the band explained and detailed the story behind the lyrics, and inspiration for the songs while also bantering among themselves. Much coming from their upbringing in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.
The enthusiasm and genuine joy radiating from the band stretched far and wide across Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Whilst putting on a phenomenal performance, it also felt as though the band is having genuine fun together and jamming out onstage in front of a crowd of thousands. Bowing at the end of their set, you could feel the love around the bowl for King Stingray, with everyone happy to have been there for such a fun set.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
While this was a one-off performance, King Stingray has recently announced a national tour through June and July. See the dates and buy tickets HERE.
You can see more of Dan’s photos from the night HERE