Eight unmissable gigs to see at NGV Friday Nights

Eight unmissable gigs to see at NGV Friday Nights

Akosia - image by Amy Dellar
Words by Eva Marchingo

The series runs until Friday October 1.

The NGV’s after-dark series, NGV Friday Nights, returns this winter with a stellar lineup of artists and some of the most well-known pieces of French Impressionism around.

The highly-anticipated exhibition, French Impressionism from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, includes over 100 works – 79 of which have never been seen in Australia, featuring art from the likes of Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Cézanne, just to name a few.

Late-night access to this exclusive exhibition transports one to a sanctuary of French style. Expect fine wines and Pommery Champagne, oysters, duck and cherry parfait, pommes frites, croque monsieur, as well as fromage and charcuterie platters.

NGV Friday Nights, while inspired by the origins of French Impressionism, retains the best of what Victoria has to offer: Yarra Valley wines, local produce, and of course, some of Melbourne’s finest musicians.

Here are our top eight artists to see at NGV Friday Nights this winter and beyond.

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

Squid Nebula

This Melbourne five-piece have made a name for themselves as one of Melbourne’s most vibrant bands in the soul, jazz and disco scenes. Squid Nebula has cemented themselves as a mainstay in the scene, building their work around collaboration and connectivity. The band features distinctive rhythm sections and is fronted by hypnotic First Nations artist, Bumpy, on vocals and keys. Put your dancing shoes on to watch this convivial band perform, you’ll certainly need them.

Catch Squid Nebula on Friday July 23. Grab tix here.

Eilish Gilligan

This heart-melting songwriter, singer, and producer has established herself as one of the most respected artists on the Melbourne music scene. Eilish Gilligan’s ability to weave vulnerability and introspection into powerful pop music has earned praise from the likes of triple j’s Zan Rowe, Richard Kingsmill and Nick Findlay. As a performer, Gilligan is controlled, dynamic and versatile. She uses her signature vocals carefully, crafting gut-wrenching and delicate moments with just a whisper.

Catch Eilish Gilligan on Friday August 6. Grab tix here.

Solomon Sisay

Solomon Sisay is a world-class jazz musician. He originally shot to fame in Ethiopia, playing for legendary Ethiopian outfit, Axumite Band. He has since moved to Australia, continuing to play alongside the greats and blessing us with his musical gifts. The internationally-acclaimed saxophonist has toured Europe, the Middle East, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and has performed at some of Australia’s most renowned festivals, including WOMADelaide, Port Fairy Folk Festival and Mona Foma.

See Solomon Sisay perform on Friday September 10. Grab tix here.


The unique sound of this band will make you feel like you’ve been dropped into a mid-’80s cosmic dream-sequence. GL gives deep bass, gritty drums, hypnotic grooves, and glowy vocals. Comprising the band is G (aka Graeme Pogson) and L (aka Ella Thompson), two respected artists in their own right with a penchant for electro-funk, disco, new wave and R&B music. Of GL’s last single, triple j’s Roots ‘n All presenter, Nkechi Anele gave an apt description of GL’s work, “Delicious, always delicious”.

Catch GL perform on Friday July 2. Grab tix here.


Prepare yourself to be transported to the rhythm and groove of the ’60s and ’70s. Bananagun tangles together Afrobeats, funk and jazz to make their all-about-the-groove pop sound. Listening to Bananagun is like stumbling into a party as someone drops an old record on the turntable and the crowd swings into a state of fantastical liminality, suspended in time, simply vibing. The eight-piece band utilises guitar, flute, trumpet, percussion, vocals, bass, drums, alto and tenor saxophones, as well as a cheeky harpsichord.

See Bananagun on Friday July 16 and Friday September 3. Grab tix here and here.

Eternal Crush

As ethereal and poppy as the name suggests, Eternal Crush is enriching the electronic indie-pop genre. The compelling vocals and impressive range of songwriter Joey Jean paired with guitar and production by Jackson Holliday (Northeast Party House) bring to life seductive and exciting sounds that leave you feeling full of promise. Eternal Crush recorded their debut EP with the help of genius Melbourne producer, Gab Strum (Japanese Wallpaper), and sold out their first live show at The Workers Club at the end of 2019.

Catch Eternal Crush on Friday August 13. Grab tix here.

Ali Barter

The triple j Unearthed winner from 2013, Ali Barter has only grown to refine her sound and earn her place as one of Australia’s most notable singer-songwriters. Her music is telling and compelling, layered with a mysterious charm that makes her so magnificently idiosyncratic; so herself. Not just a household name locally, Barter has also toured Europe and performed in Los Angeles and Mexico City.

Catch Ali Barter on Friday August 27 and Friday September 24. Grab tix here and here.


A rising star in the contemporary soul-pop scene, Akosia is a multi-talented and multi-faceted artist – prepare yourself to be moved by her exquisite voice, melancholic and shimmering at the same time. Growing up attending and singing at church, her music is wholly immersive, effortlessly sophisticated, relaxing yet powerful. With influences spanning Maya Angelou, Pina Bausch and Sade, Akosia is crafting her own unique narratives, transfixing listener after listener.

See Akosia perform on Friday August 20 and Friday September 17. Grab tix here and here.

NGV Friday Nights runs from Friday June 25 until Friday October 1 at NGV International. For more info, head to the NGV website.