Like any scene, Melbourne’s band scene is full of drama and politics. Various bands come and go. Venues open and close. Despite the roller coaster that it is, it is said to be the leading city of music in the nation (reference: http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_details.php?id=3909#.Uz9WqVcqe5E ).
The music scene in Melbourne is a thriving one
Just a short time in the past, a lot of the city’s music halls were being taken over by smokey pubs, poker and gambling haunts. In addition, the cost of bringing out big acts from overseas was on the rise. This was making it tough for the scene overall.
However, something kept it going. In fact, not only did it keep it going, it was making it thrive. It continue to thrive today too. This has been all due to the local grass roots music scene. It is of a very high quality. Many of the local acts actually go on to become bigger more famous acts. What’s more, they can be seen for cheap or free at various places throughout the city 7 days a week. It’s such a thriving scene that many big overseas acts see it as prestigious for them to hold chance shows at some of these very venues when they’re in town. Some of these places are discussed next.
The Rob Roy Hotel
In the old days, The Rob Roy was a scary place. It’s where the thugs and itinerants use to get smashed all too often and fight. This has all been cleaned up now. It’s setup a band area and is now showing some of the great acts in the city. It often has either cheap entry fees or none at all depending on the night and the bands playing. It is located in the heart of Fitzroy at 51 Brunswick Street.
The Green Room
Yesteryear, The Green Room was a place where people went to place a bet on the races. However, in recent times it was renovated. Now it attracts a much different patronage. There are often young much trendier people lining the street to get in to see one of their favourite local acts. It is located in the CBD of Melbourne at 33 Elizabeth St.
Ding Dong Lounge
This venue hasn’t been around for as long as some of its contemporaries. It has also been renamd after changing over from its former International Lounge. It now hosts bands. They are often of the hard rock variety. It’s a pretty cool joint. After one of their gigs, the international group Blondie went to Ding Dong for a few. It’s located also in the CBD at 18 Market Lane.
Prince of Whales Hotel
This venue takes us across South of the Yarra River to St. Kilda. It has been a popular music venue for the patrons of the South and Melbourne for over twenty years now. In the last decade it has been revamped as well. Though it still proudly hosts some dirty punk nights where the floors get more than grubby. It does not stick to any one genre of music. People go there for punk, rock, hip hop, dance nights and more. Located in St, Kilda it’s address is 29 Fitzroy St.
The Espy, located right near the Prince just mentioned, it is an institution in Melbourne. It runs 7 days a week. Many of the locals and back packers converge on the Espy for it’s beer, fun and music. There’s great food to be had all day there as well. It’s actually been going strong from all the way back to the 1920’s onwards. There are two bars at the front. They are usually free entry and feature some great acts on a regular basis. The back band rooms often feature international and famous acts. It can be enjoyed at 11 The Esplanade.
When you’re in Melbourne next do yourself a favour and explore the incredible band scene. The venues mentioned in this article barely scratch the surface. Hopefully they’ll help get you started though. If you are interested in going deeper into the scene you may want to start with Beat Magazine or Inpress. These publications print all of the acts going on around town each month. And what is more, they’re free.