Musical Chairs: Leon Bridges brings smooth soul to Chinatown

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Musical Chairs brings you exclusive, intimate performances filmed in unique locations. Check out all the performances below.

Leon Bridges was one of the standout new talents we came across in 2015. We weren't the only ones who felt that way; his debut album Coming Home debuted in the top ten here in Australia and, on his first Aussie dates this January, he sold out his Sydney and Melbourne shows. 

That makes us even more excited to be able to share this stunning version of 'River' that Bridges and his backing singer Brittni Jessie recorded while in Sydney. We took them down to the bright and colourful Leung Wai Kee Buddhist Craft & Joss Stick in Sydney's Chinatown, where they proceeded to blow our minds. 



Josh Pyke's music is catchy, clever and generally fairly innocuous. So when he agreed to play us a song for Musical Chairs, naturally we took him to the graffiti covered backstreets of Sydney's inner west.

The setting might be a little gritty (if you ignore the fancy cars), but the music is as beautiful as Josh Pyke's output always has been. He plays a rendition of 'Hollering Hearts', from former Double J Feature Album But For All These Shrinking Hearts, that will make your heart fill with joy.

And he does it all while walking on the road like a careless pedestrian! Outrageous!


The awe-inspiring Katie Noonan launched her latest music project Katie Noonan’s Vanguard this year and recently released the album Transmutant.

The album’s cover uses a painting by Australian artist John Olsen titled Five Bells. It’s on display at the Art Gallery of NSW, so we were thrilled when Katie invited us down to the Gallery to shoot this very special performance in front of the original Olsen painting.

With PJ Koopman on guitar and Declan Kelly on percussion, Katie blissed us out with a breathtaking version of ‘Peace Is My Drug’. Be prepared for some tingles down your spine.


Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, made her first trip to Australia recently, playing some solo shows in support of her new album Ivy Tripp. It’s a record that reflects Katie’s southern roots, with a strong Americana influence and plenty of twang.

We got to spend an afternoon with Katie, so took her up on a secret Sydney rooftop to enjoy the view. While we were there we asked her to play a song and she gave us this wonderful performance of ‘Summer Of Love’.


We met Tim Rogers & The Bamboos at the Eathouse Diner in Redfern, where they brightened up a rainy Sydney afternoon with a dazzling performance of their recent single ‘Easy’. Rogers brought the swagger and the Bamboos brought the soul, with lead vocals shared by the gorgeous Kylie Auldist, backed by the powerhouse duo of Lance Ferguson on guitar and Luke Saunders on keys.

Make sure you stick around for the end of the clip to see Tim Rogers bring his funky-chicken dance moves.


The Milk Carton Kids are an exceptional live act. They're indie-folk maestros, able to croon sweet harmonies while finger-picking their way through gorgeous guitar lines. They also have a wicked sense of humour and a laidback Californian charm. 

During their recent Australian tour we took the duo to the Nude Room at the Australian Youth Hotel in Sydney, where they played us 'Secrets of the Stars' from their latest album Monterey. Nudes and tunes, what more could we ask for?


Emma Donovan & The PutBacks made a big splash on the soul-revival scene in 2014 with their classy debut album Dawn. We were so impressed that we featured the record on Double J and waited for a chance to get the group in front of our cameras for a Musical Chairs performance.

We were thrilled to finally pin them down as they passed through Sydney for some NAIDOC Week performances. They met us at the Golden Age Theatre, a historic theatrette in Sydney's old 'Hollywood Quarter'. In the theatre's Lounge Bar, we captured a breathtaking performance of ‘Over, Under, Away’, bringing a whole lotta soul to the dimly lit location.

This is an ensemble of top-shelf musicians, fronted by one of the biggest, boldest and best voices in Australian music right now. Be prepared to be blown away by the sound they create.


NZ troubadour Marlon Williams teamed up with members of Sydney's All Our Exes Live In Texas to bring their achingly beautiful voices to his melancholy track ‘Dark Child’, from his debut self-titled LP. They performed in the King’s Cinema foyer, a circular Art Deco room reconstructed within Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum, and an apt space for the haunting arrangement. Get ready for some chills.


Darren Hanlon took us back to his old workplace, a used furniture store in Sydney's inner-west, for a special stripped-back rendition of his song 'When You Go', from his first record in five years, Where Did You Come From?. It's all very charming.


Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders stripped 'Come On Back This Way' right back, and gave definitive proof that Donny Benet's piano accordion skills are as immense as we'd expected.


All nine members of the Alabama Shakes' touring band crammed into Mojo Record Bar in Sydney while they were here. They played the gorgeous 'This Feeling' and their performance was nothing short of staggering. 

Texan troubadour Shakey Graves met us down at Fountain Park at The Rocks in Sydney where he played us a great version of 'The Waters'. 


Steve Smyth found time during his hectic touring schedule to visit a Newtown book store with us, bringing his guitar along to perform an astounding rendition of the tender ballad 'Written Or Spoken'.


Sharon Jones and a couple of her Dap Kings gave us a brilliant rendition of 'Making Up and Breaking Up', live from Sydney Town Hall. 


Stay tuned to the Double J website to see and hear plenty more amazing performances.