Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s Steven Montogomery’s five favourite Victorian artists!

The Age Music Victoria Awards celebrates one of the country’s best music scenes for another year next month and the after party is going to be an unmissable live music event for those in Melbourne. Featuring live performances by the Melbourne Ska OrchestraCamp Come and Tash Sultana down at 170 Russell, not to mention the return of The EG AllStars (with guests including Gareth LiddiardPaul DempseyREMI and more), the gig is representative of the sheer amount of talented musicians to have emerged out of the city in recent memory.

Ahead of the event, MSO vocalist Steven Montgomery shares his five favourite Victorian artists; delving into the richness of the scene back he was introduced to when he arrived from the UK in the mid-1990’s, Montgomery highlights some artists who’ve still got him hooked…


I arrived in Melbourne in 1996, so the Victorian artists I’ve chosen are those of whom I attended shows in little pubs around Melbourne over the years. I often talk of my black hole pre-1996 but am fortunate to be around folks with stories to tell… Of course, it has an offbeat bent as that’s what I love, but I feel blessed to live in a musical city such as Melbourne with such fantastic and diverse musical tastes.

Picking your top five in anything is hard so I have to give honourable mentions to Chris Wilson, Thee Wylde Oscars, Johnny Longshot, The Here Heres and Shanty Town.


One of Australia’s most underrated bands. They were tipping their hats to the Jamaican musical pioneers in the early eighties and went on to write great songs and tour relentlessly for years up and down the country as an independent band in the eighties. I have since seen them many times in their various returns.


I first saw the Bull Sisters at the Continental last century and was immediately taken by their voices…the harmonies are to die for. I immediately bought and played, on high rotation, every album they produced.


They were the quintessential pub band for me. I got to know my pubs by following Loin Groin around and wherever they played would be packed and jumping; they wrote songs about Melbourne and being new to the city it was a great way to get to know the place….their songs were edgy, truthful and very clever. “Pub Tab” is a corker; a notion (The Pub Tab) that was alien to me coming from the UK, but they hit the nail on the head.


I was introduced to Benny and the Fly by Niters by my good friend Texas Ross and they blew me away the first time I saw them. Rocking, authentic R&B. The musicianship is world class and they could match it with the best of them. I love music that takes you to another place.


These boys play for their passion in rocksteady. Sparse, rhythmic and achingly beautiful, they always take me to another place. I feel lucky that they are still gigging and I get to see them as often as I can.

The Age Music Victoria Awards After Party is held at 170 Russell on November 16th – the event is now sold out! Public voting is still open on The Age HERE until November 4th; for more information, head to!


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