Summer is here and it’s time to round up Melbourne’s best live music venues. With our bursting at the seams talent pool, thriving culture and buzzing nightlife, Melbourne really does have it ALL when it comes to live music.
I’ve teamed up with the wonderful crew at Explore Port Phillip to help you have the ultimate Friday night out; an awesome Sunday session; get organised for the next must-see gig; or simply enjoy some beats and cheers with friends in the perfect acoustic atmosphere.
Melbourne’s Best Live Music Venues
After closing its doors for 2 years (for stage one of their epic* renovation), The Espy is back baby!!! With three stages over five levels, twelve bars, four immersive spaces (including one of the chic’est cocktail bars in Melbourne), amazing views of the St Kilda foreshore, and a Cantonese restaurant… The Espy HAS IT ALL!
If you’re a forever fan of The Espy, or are keen to visit for the first time, I can assure you that the hotel has a perfectly curated laid back Melbournian vibe, with an unlimited range of music options to suit any music fan, young or old (over 18 obviously).
Earlier this month I headed along to watch Her Sound, Her Story, an independent project which showcased a powerful perspective on the music industry in Australia. The project screening formed part of The Espy’s new contemporary program of live and experiential art. This teamed with an already extensive live music program, means we are in for one hell of an epic* summer at The Espy!
* trust me, epic should be used twice to describe the new Esplande Hotel… Get there!
Memo Music Hall is located in the heart of St Kilda, in Albert Street (just around the corner from Acland Street). They offer a diverse program of entertainment, embracing all aspects of theatre, filming and live music. Upcoming shows include The Audreys and Americana band, Embers.
If you head to The Memo for a gig, be sure to grab a bite to eat in Acland Street before or after the show. The village is home to an eclectic range of dining options, my top picks are Abbey Road, Rococo and Veludo.
Pontoon is one of my favourite places to catch up with friends in Melbourne. Not only is the live music playing all weekend, but it’s also the perfect place to have lunch or dinner, or chill on the deck with a bevvie in hand, overlooking the wonderful views of St Kilda beach.
Pumping out house, electronic and dance tunes until late, you can stay up to date with their weekly DJ line up on their Facebook page or head over to their website to book yourself a dining reservation.
If you love a fun Sunday sesh like me, then the Village Belle is for you. With rotating resident DJs, live bands and cocktails galore, you won’t want to be anywhere else.
The hotel has a crisp interior atmosphere, the decor is the perfect combo of industrial and modern, and I love the vast, natural light (all thanks to Technē Architecture and their recent $10 million renovation).
To book a table, or check out what’s on this summer at Village Belle Hotel, head over to their website here.
The Palias has been rocking Melbourne’s music scene for over 90 years. The iconic theatre is located in St Kilda, right next door to Luna Park, and has played host to some of Australia’s (and the world’s) most famous acts – The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Johnny O’Keefe, Kenny Rogers, John Farnham, Chris Isaac, and Jimmy Barnes.
My top pick of the shows coming to Palais this summer include Hanson (what can I say, I’m a MmmBop fan from way back), Rita Ora, For King and Country, and Interpol. See the What’s On page on their website for all upcoming performances.
Anyone who lives in Melbourne will know that the Prince Bandroom is one of our city’s best known and most loved live music venues.
Pull up an alfresco chair and enjoy the free live music downstairs, or grab yourself a ticket to one of their big name gigs upstairs. Coming this January are Smokepurpp and local rock band London Cries (formerly Juke Kartel), and in February, newly formed The Beasts, who premiered on Double J last month.
Check out the Prince Bandroom Gig Guide for the full line up of artists.
Get to Republica on the weekend and snap up a hanging chair, kick back and sip a cocktail while you enjoy the live tunes all afternoon. When summer lands, Republica kicks into serious fun mode with a range of events all week long, including beach volleyball – how awesome is that!
Be sure to check out their New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Recovery sessions – they include free entry, live music, and the perfect party season vibes… bloody marys anyone!?!
Big Mouth is an institution in St Kilda. Spanning two levels across one of the suburbs coolest art deco buildings, the venue serves up tasty food (hello pork belly benny), a great selection of cocktails, as well as a comedy club every Sunday afternoon – with a chilled (and hilarious) rolling line up of occasional acts.
The staff are legends and they (of course) also have a wonderful line up of live music which includes funk, soul, reggae and folk tunes. Big Mouth bring a unique mix of music to all their gigs, making it a venue not to be missed on our Melbourne live music list.
It’s no surprise where you’ll find this venue… Yep, you guessed it – St Kilda! If you love to hang out with friends with a cocktail jug (or two) and an assortment of pizza, than this is the place for you!
The St Kilda Branch a true local pub, known for the great vibes, tasty food and live acoustic beats (especially on a Saturday arvo from 4pm). Unlike some of their neighbours, these guys also keep the drink prices low, so it’s a must-visit spot if you are on the final weekend before payday (hey, we’ve all been there!)
Check out their What’s On page for all the latest entertainment updates.
LIVE MUSIC FESTIVALS
Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee
Yaluk-ut Weelam Ngargee is a free indigenous arts and cultural festival held annually in St Kilda’s O’Donnell Gardens.
Returning in 2019 on Saturday 2 February, this family-friendly event features dancers and artists, live music, food and market stalls plus activities and workshops for the whole family.
St Kilda Festival
Head along to Melbourne’s biggest free celebration of summer, St Kilda Festival. Held on the second Sunday in February each year, the festival pretty much takes over all of the suburb (the streets are closed to traffic) and there’s a huge line up of entertainment on display over multiple raised stages.
There’s fun to be had for the whole family, with a variety of performances, workshops, kids’ entertainment, sporting events, carnival rides, local buskers and a whole lot more. Sign up to the St Kilda Festival newsletter to stay in the know with their latest news, as well as the full program announcement in January.
This post is proudly brought to you by the City of Port Phillip.
What else to see and do in Melbourne?