LUKE Liang’s death sent shockwaves through the Australian music community.
The 28-year-old prodigiously talented musician who played with Papa Vs Pretty, Guy Sebastian, Jack River, Alex The Astronaut among other, lost his fight with depression in August.
As his loved ones struggle with the loss of the funny and generous man widely admired for his freakish abilities on guitar and keyboard, his music family are banding together to pay tribute to him at The Bright Light — An Evening for Luke.
While sharing the songs he played and recorded with them, and their stories about a man who could master anything — even a law degree while touring — the gig will also inevitably provoke discussion about how to look after their own.
The concert will raise money for Support Act, a charity which assists artists and music workers in tough times and whose services are in increasing demand as those behind the scenes suffer health and financial hardship.
Alexandra Lynn, professionally known as Alex The Astronaut, said her friend’s death was a “devastating tragedy” which had “sent shockwaves through the industry.”
“It shouldn’t be a lesson … but if you were looking at it that way, it is a wake-up call about what is real and what is important,” Lynn said.
“There is us, the artists, and then there are 200 people working to get that one person or band onstage.
“From the musician point of view, we need to be compassionate to all the people around us and health issues need to prioritised rather than the work and the show must go on.”
Her fellow artist Jack River, who Liang also played with in recent years, has taken extra measures to make sure her band members and crew are taken care of during her current tour.
Besides “family dinners” shared with her team before gigs, she has also brought band members partners on tour to help give support during the long hours of travelling and living in hotel rooms on the road.
Lynn, who has been a fixture on Triple J and has millions of streams of her heartbreakingly honest songs including Not Worth Hiding and Waste Of Time, said Liang was always a warm and welcoming companion backstage at the festivals she has played in the past year.
She said his musicianship was freaky — he could play parts conjured on technology in the studio which other players could not replicate.
“I remember at the Hills Are Alive festival, we all went to get a burger and watch the sunset together … he seemed so happy in that moment,” she said.
A Bright Light, featuring Alex the Astronaut, Guy Sebastian, Jarryd James, Montaigne, Papa vs. Pretty, Thelma Plum, Jack River and Friends, is held at the Metro Theatre in Sydney on Thursday with tickets available via Ticketek.