Live review: King Stingray brought the joyful energy of a band that truly loves what they do to Live at the Bowl

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Live review: King Stingray brought the joyful energy of a band that truly loves what they do to Live at the Bowl

Credit: Ian Laidlaw
Credit: Ian Laidlaw
Credit: Ian Laidlaw
1 / 5
Words by Bethany Long

The rainy skies of Melbourne welcomed King Stingray to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Friday night.

Supported by Gretta Ray and George Alice, the show was a testament to the incredible talent and diversity the Australian music industry has become known for.

Gretta Ray lit up the stage with her signature soulful lyrics and upbeat performance style, both captivating and emotionally sucker-punching the adoring fans in the mosh pit.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.


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A post shared by Gretta Ray (@grettaray)

‘Cherish’, was a highlight with Gretta managing to be heartfelt and open while dancing across the stage. Sweet and slow songs are where Gretta is at her best, commanding attention with her voice. She covered both Bill Joel and Gang of Youths with such intensity you’d be forgiven for forgetting these aren’t her own words. 

Rounding out her set with a dedication to the LGBTQIA+ community in honour of Trans Visibility Day, she sang and danced to ‘the song that gave me the job I have now,’ ‘Drive’, complete with the transgender flag.

Shifting gears, from sweet and emotive pop to upbeat Australiana rock, the energy changed with the arrival of King Stingray on stage. 

King Stingray has been riding the wave of success for the past 18 months and their show was a celebration of the incredible energy they bring to their album.

Walking on stage to an Avalanches-inspired soundtrack, announcing ‘We’re about to launch the Stingray,’ the energy in the Bowl immediately changed – anticipation replaced with excitement.

Launching into ‘Sweet Arnhem Land’, the band set the tone for the rest of the show, with the band members interacting and playfully enjoying their time on stage. 

The six-piece play around onstage, switching instruments and dancing with each other. Watching them you see they have fun without the pressure of the unwritten (or perhaps written) rules of performing. Moving around on stage freely they jammed with each other, transforming the stage at the Bowl into what felt like the warmest, friendliest jam sesh.

Mixing their classic and surf rock inspirations with First Nations influences, the King Stingray sound is one of the most iconic in all of Australia right now. Watching that sound come to life on stage is just as iconic. Without the pretensions and polished performance style of many of our more established bands, King Stingray brings the joyful energy of a band that truly loves what they do. And that energy is matched by the crowd, grooving along to the beat-driven sounds filled with positivity and radiating good vibes. 


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A post shared by King Stingray (@kingstingrayband)

Watching the band perform in language and celebrating the Yolŋu heritage of several band members is a cultural celebration. Their performance involves traditional First Nations dance styles and creates a truly unique gig experience – which is probably why they’ve erupted onto our music scene with such force and finesse. 

Watching their performance, Kind Stingray reminded the audience of the importance of loving what you do and celebrating the connections in your life. Each song is an homage to their NT upbringing and their community and breathes life into a place many of us views as far away. 

Closing with an extended version of ‘Milkumana’, a song about their inspirations, the band soaked up every last minute of their performance before coming together, arms around each other to take three bows to a roaring crowd.

This is a band that you need to see perform – listening is just the first step in enjoying everything King Stingray has to offer.

Keep up with the latest new music and tour news from the band here