With the end of the year fast approaching, it’s time to look back and reflect on what was an incredible year of Australian music with our own small acknowledgment of the artists and releases that made our 2016.

Throughout the week, we’ll be announcing the winners of our Tone Deaf awards over the following categories:

Today, we’re happy to present our award for Live Act of the Year.

LIVE ACT OF THE YEAR: Tie – Dorsal Fins & The Gooch Palms

“Back in August, shock rock pioneer and all-round rock and roll veteran and nice chap Alice Cooper told WA Today, with a great deal of lament, that it was impossible for a rock band to shock its audience in this day and age.

‘With ISIS, with people shooting cops, with cops shooting blacks – now CNN is so much more shocking than Rob Zombie or Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper,’ Cooper told the paper.

He certainly had a point. It’s not just that the world has become grimmer (after all, terrorism and police brutality are hardly new occurrences), but we are simply more aware of it and more drenched in ‘shocking’ media than ever.

The problem is that none of it is shocking anymore. We all feel empathetic and we are truly concerned about the state of the world, but truth be told, we’ve seen it all before and we’ll see it again when they replay it at 6 o’clock or when we check Facebook later.

So if the horrors of the world fail to command our attention for a few second and stop us from simply scrolling down, what chance does some rock band have?

And that’s what we decided the primary criteria must be for Live Act of the Year – attention. We had to honour the band, or in this case bands, that made us sit up and pay attention. The ones that immediately captured our gaze and didn’t release it until they left the stage.

The Gooch Palms and Dorsal Fins certainly fulfil that criteria, but both for completely different reasons, and we felt they were the two Australian bands who’d most distinguished themselves on the live stage in 2016.

So we hand the Tone Deaf 2016 Live Act of the Year Award to The Gooch Palms for their utterly manic, vulgar live show, which sits somewhere between an underground show at a punk squat and being beaten to death with a sex toy. And we hope they play nice and share with our joint winners Dorsal Fins, who’ve spent the last 12 months orchestrating carnivals for the mind with their grand and irrepressibly fun live performances.

We can’t wait to catch both of them again.” – Greg Moskovitch


  • Dorsal Fins
  • The Gooch Palms
  • Camp Cope
  • King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
  • These New South Whales
  • The Belligerents
  • Dune Rats