Melbourne attracts some of Australia’s and the world’s biggest live acts. It also provides plenty of venues for up-and-coming generations of musicians to find their voice – and their audience. In short, the Melbourne live music scene is legendary and there’s no lack of variety – so where do you start?
Here’s a beginners guide to the best places to head for live music in Melbourne:
There’s always something going on in the band room at the back of the Laundry Bar is this Northcote institution. You can expect to see a local unknown one night, an international star the next. This mid-capacity venue (around 300 people) is known for its chilled atmosphere and eclectic mix of musical acts. International acts have included The Pixies, Kaiser Chiefs, and Martha Wainwright while Aussie acts like Regurgitator and The Reubens have also graced the venue.
One of Melbourne’s best DJ-driven clubs, this double level, multiple DJ venue has a very laid back vibe and caters to those with funk, hip-hop, and indie appetites. Laundry’s open most nights of the week and is a must for those looking for to dance the night away.
Don’t be fooled by the size of this place – this intimate bar is of international renown. The Cherry Bar very confidently proclaims itself to be, ‘Pretty much the best rock n’ roll bar in the world’, and its impressive lineup of acts (and patrons) proves they may be onto something. Everything you need to know about the music and vibe of this iconic bar is summed up by the address: AC/DC Lane
Previously ‘The Hi-Fi’, Max Watt’s mission is to, “book the widest possible genre of music and have the widest possible demographic of music fans coming through venues.” Max Watt’s is a multi-tiered venue with great viewing and one that takes pride in its lighting and sound systems. Be sure to check it out.
Straddling Melbourne’s North/South divide, the Corner Hotel features live music up to seven nights a week. On any of those nights, you might be greeted with an album launch from some local heroes or a stellar international act, the likes of which have included Queens of the Stone Age, Mick Jagger, The White Stripes, and Ben Harper.
Long time live entertainment venue, the Wheelers Hill Hotel recently announced this new addition to their establishment. With some big acts already booked for it’s August opening (The Black Sorrows, Jam the Funk) this one’s already a must-see newcomer.
For more than a century the Esplanade Hotel (The Espy) has been on of Australia’s premiere live music venues. Unfortunately, this historic, seaside venue has been closed for renovations since 2015 with no firm date set for its reopening. When it does, though, it will be a big deal, so keep an eye out for the return of The Espy.