Baker Boy, Stella Donnelly and Tropical F*ck Storm among the big winners of the 2018 NLMAs; Magic Dirt Inducted as Live Legends

At eight simultaneous events around Australia last night, attended by over a thousand punters nationally, the National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) gave out more than 60 awards, recognising the best musicians, venues, events and industry in Australia’s live music scene, as Magic Dirt were inducted into the National Live Music Awards’ Hall of Fame as the 2018 Live Legends.

As they were inducted, the band took a moment to reflect on the fact that “these are the first awards we’ve ever won”, and relished the opportunity to reflect on their career, and pay tribute to the late Dean Turner ahead of their first performance in Brisbane in a decade, which was live streamed internationally thanks to Netgigs.

The night’s biggest winner was Baker Boy, who took home three awards including the night’s biggest award, Best Live Act in Australia presented by APRA AMCOS, the best Live Hip-Hop Act in Australia, and the Best Live Act in the NT.

Stella Donnelly also took home three awards, including Best Live Voice in Australia and became the first solo artist to sweep the musicianship categories in their home State; taking both Best Live Act and Best Live Voice in WA. The only act to have ever achieved this was Electric Fields, who won both categories in SA in 2017, and this year took home their first ever National trophy, as they were named best Live Electronic Act in the country.

Also taking home three awards, Tropical Fuck Storm were named Best New Act and Best Hard Rock Act, while their lead vocalist and guitarist Gareth Liddiard was named Best Guitarist.

Gang of Youths added another two NLMAs to add to their tally; remaining unbeaten in the NSW Live Act of the Year category. The are the only artists to win the same category three years in a row.

They were also recognised for their mammoth year overseas (where they were at the time the awards were handed out), and presented with International Live Achievement (Group/Band Category) alongside Courtney Barnett, who took home the International Live Achievement in the Solo Artist category. Gang of Youths have further strengthened their position as the most awarded act in National Live Music Awards history, with 7 trophies now to their name.

They weren’t the only winners to defend their titles. BIGSOUND took out their third consecutive win as Best Live Event in Queensland, remaining unbeaten in the category. Dark Mofo, meanwhile, retook the title as Best Live Music Event in Australia, which it first won in 2016 (losing to BIGSOUND last year). Both BIGSOUND and Dark Mofo have now won four NLMAs over the last three years.

Other winning events included the Meredith Music Festival, which kicks off tomorrow, Splendour in the Grass, Spilt Milk, Darwin Festival, and A Day of Clarity in SA, which also won the award last year.

The Triffid, meanwhile, which saw Brisbane served as the home of the Gala for the first time, also enjoyed its third consecutive win as the best Live Venue in QLD.

The All Ages Achievement category went national this year, with Girls Rock! Canberra taking out the trophy in the ACT, while the overall organisation Girls Rock! Australia was recognised with the prestigious NLMA (National Live Music Award) for contributions to the industry.

In Victoria, Kate Duncan was acknowledged for her amazing work with The Push, and in Tasmania, Brad Harbeck for his work with the Tasmanian Rock Challenge. Hyperfest took out the award in Perth, who were in the news in recent weeks for having to sadly cancel their 2018 event. Voted on by the judges well before this news, the All Ages event was recognised for their importance in the WA scene and an incredible 2017 event.

The Cat Empire swept the People’s Choice categories, presented by The Music Network, winning both Best Live Act and Best Live Voice for Harry James Angus, having received thousands of votes from around the country. Angus joked that rather than a “Shark Attack”, the night seemed to be more of a “Cat Fight”, making reference to Amy Shark‘s recent domination at the ARIAs and multiple nominations at the NLMAs. Shark did take home Best Live Voice in QLD for the second consecutive year.

In one of the more emotional wins of the night, the late Luke Liang was named the best live instrumentalist in the country, paying respect to his incredible work within a multitude of projects over the years. His brother Liang Liang accepted the award following an emotional presentation from Jaguar Jonze.

Across the night, alongside the 60+ awards, there were also almost 30 live performances, including the legendary Magic Dirt, who closed out the night at Brisbane’s Triffid, in what was their first performance in the city for the better part of a decade. Other performances included Stevie Jean, RMJ, Timothy James Bowen, Pink Matter, David Spry, Neon Tetra, Bugs, Alice Ivy, Quivers, Cry Club, The Burley Griffin and many, many more.

Full details about the full run of events, and a full list of nominees, can be found at

National Awards

Best R&B and Soul Live Act
Mojo Juju

Best Blues and Roots Live Act
All Our Exes Live in Texas

Best Pop Live Act
Confidence Man

Best Country Live Act
Marlon Williams

Best Hard Rock Live Act
Tropical Fuck Storm

Best Electronic/DJ Live Act
Electric Fields

Best Hip-Hop Live Act
Baker Boy

International Live Achievement: Band
Gang of Youths

International Live Achievement: Solo
Courtney Barnett

Live Photographer of the Year
Jess Gleeson

Best Live Music Event of the Year
Presented by Netgigs
Dark Mofo

Best Live Instrumentalist of the Year
Luke Liang

“The Sheddy”
Best Live Drummer of the Year

Jen Sholakis

Best Live Bassist of the Year
Presented by Sandberg Guitars
Isobel D’Cruz Barnes (HEXDEBT)

Gareth Liddiard

Girls Rock! Australia

Best New Act
Presented by Panhead Brewing Co.

Tropical Fuck Storm

Live Voice of the Year
Stella Donnelly

Live Act of the Year
Presented by APRA AMCOS

Baker Boy

Live Legends
Magic Dirt

People’s Choice
Best Live Act presented by The Music Network: The Cat Empire
Best Live Voice: Harry James Angus

NSW Awards
Presented by 2SER

Live Act of the Year: Gang of Youths
Live Voice of the Year: Julia Jacklin
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: Enmore Theatre
Live Event of the Year presented by Wollongong City Council: Splendour in the Grass
All Ages Achievement presented by Music NSW: Yours & Owls: Under 18s Festival

QLD Awards
Presented by 4ZZZ

Live Act of the Year presented by Brisbane City Council: WAAX
Live Voice of the Year presented by Queensland Music Festival: Amy Shark
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: The Triffid
Live Event of the Year: BIGSOUND
All Ages Achievement: Woodfordia

VIC Awards

Presented by The SYN

Live Act of the Year: Alex Lahey
Live Voice of the Year: Angie McMahon
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: The Tote
Live Event of the Year: Meredith Music Festival
All Ages Achievement: Kate Duncan, The Push

ACT Awards

Live Act of the Year: Moaning Lisa
Live Voice of the Year: Ella Hunt
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: The Phoenix Bar
Live Event of the Year: Spilt Milk
All Ages Achievement: Girls Rock! Canberra

SA Awards

Presented by Radio Adelaide

Live Act of the Year presented by City of Adelaide: West Thebarton
Live Voice of the Year: Tkay Maidza
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: Crown & Anchor
Live Event of the Year: A Day of Clarity
All Ages Achievement: Music SA

TAS Awards

Presented by Edge Radio

Live Act of the Year: A Swayze and the Ghosts
Live Voice of the Year: Tyler Richardson (Luca Brasi)
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: The Odeon Theatre
Live Event of the Year: A Festival Called PANAMA
All Ages Achievement: Tasmanian Rock Challenge (Brad Harbeck)

WA Awards
Presented by RTR FM

Live Act of the Year: Stella Donnelly
Live Voice of the Year: Stella Donnelly
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: Mojo’s
Live Event of the Year: Nannup Music Festival
All Ages Achievement: Hyperfest

NT Awards
Presented by Foldback Magazine

Live Act of the Year: Baker Boy
Live Voice of the Year: Caiti Baker
Live Venue of the Year presented by Oztix: Darwin Railway Club
Live Event of the Year: Darwin Festival
All Ages Achievement: Music NT – Sista Sounds

The National Live Music Awards are presented by the official ticketing partner of the NLMAs, Oztix and the official Beer of the NLMAs, Panhead Custom Ales with additional national sponsorship from APRA AMCOS, Jameson and Sandberg Guitars. State and Territory Sponsorship has been provided by Brisbane City Council, Music NSW, City of Wollongong, City of Adelaide and the Queensland Music Festival.

The National Media Partners for the NLMAs are The Music Network. The state and territory Media Partners are 4ZZZ (QLD), RTR FM (WA), Edge Radio (TAS), 2SER (NSW), Foldback Magazine (NT), SYN Media (VIC) and Radio Adelaide (SA). Additional Support has been provided by Audio-Technica, Nook Events and Netgigs.


Now in its third year, the National Live Music Awards is a celebration of Australia’s diverse and burgeoning live music scene, awarding over 60 trophies to venues, events, musicians and industry professionals in both state focused and national categories. With 100 judges, 11 board members, this year the awards will be broadcast live on Netgigs, with the gala event in Brisbane and additional showcase events in Perth, Adelaide, Wollongong, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin and Melbourne. The awards will be held on 6th December 2018.

Photo of Magic Dirt by Jess Gleeson