7 Must-see Places for a Musical Melbourne Experience

Check out some of the best live music venues in the Music Capital of Australia with Ascott’s Human Resource and Training Officer, Ascott’s Learning and Development Associate

Issue: Nov 2014

Melbourne, the music capital of Australia, is a concert destination for many world renowned artistes, and home to many indie record shops, live street performances and clubs with unique acts
Melbourne, the music capital of Australia, is a concert destination for many world renowned artistes, and home to many indie record shops, live street performances and clubs with unique acts

Music lovers, listen up. Bookmark Melbourne as your next holiday destination because this is the city where the live music scene is abuzz with activities. In 2013, Melbourne was crowned the Live Music Capital of Australia in the largest ever live music census. With at least 460 live music venues and a live music industry contributing more than AU$1billion in revenue to Victoria’s economy every year, how can it not?

So on your next visit to my city, work in some time to go on a musical Melbourne tour. Here are seven must-visit venues.

Make Bourke Street Mall one of your first stops and listen in on the buskers as they show of their musical talents
Make Bourke Street Mall one of your first stops and listen in on the buskers as they show of their musical talents

1. Listen to the City - Bourke Street Mall

Ease yourself into the sounds of Melbourne by going to Bourke Street Mall where street performers or buskers rule the sidewalk. Right next to Somerset on Elizabeth Melbourne and just a 10-minute stroll from Citadines on Bourke Melbourne, the pedestrian mall links Swanston and Elizabeth Streets.

Look out for Japanese blues guitarist, George Kamikawa, who also goes by the moniker, Japanese Blues Cowboy. He mesmerizes with his slide guitar and harmonica. This street performer has a nation-wide cult following. Another busker to listen out for is piano man, Terry Yepits. Easily identified by his feather-tipped hat, the maestro also takes request from an impressive list of tunes. You might even catch teen pianist and guitarist busker, Daniel Shaw, who has been travelling the world performing for more than half his life.

2. Take Home Music Treasures - Record Collectors Corner on Bourke Street

Check out Record Collectors Corner’s amazing collection of new, used, imported and independent music. This place specialises in LPs (long play vinyl records) which purists say is the best way to enjoy any recording. I am a big fan of vinyl records and have been known to spend hours trawling the store for rare finds.

3. Come on and Join the Cabaret - The Butterfly Club off Little Collins

Enjoy intimate, cabaret style entertainment at The Butterfly Club off Little Collins Street
Enjoy intimate, cabaret style entertainment at The Butterfly Club off Little Collins Street
Photo credit: Stano Murin

When night falls, head out to check out the pubs and bars with live music. The Butterfly Club off Little Collins Street, less than 10 minutes from either Ascott’s properties, is a great little cabaret bar with very unique shows and performances to offer. This November, you can catch the four-member group, Internal Jukebox, who will take you through time with music from the Spice Girls to Metallica, Madonna, and Crowded House. Girls Act Good is putting up a Christmas musical; and Melbourne cabaret artist, Natasha York, is back in the same month.

4. Pick from Concert Clubs Galore - Forum Theatre

I caught Australian band, Ballpark Music, at the Forum Theatre and it was a good night of great music
I caught Australian band, Ballpark Music, at the Forum Theatre and it was a good night of great music

For larger, more mainstream acts, there are several concert clubs to visit. One of my favourite venues is the Forum Theatre, a 10-minute walk away from Citadines on Bourke. Designed as a movie palace in the early 20th century, the theatre’s historical Greco-Roman setting with chandeliers, statuettes and a ceiling created to look like a star-studded night sky is now the venue for local blues, country, indie, rock acts as well as international artistes like Oasis and Katy Perry.

5. Rock It Out – Rod Laver Arena

Me and my friend, Marika, at a Beyonce concert at Rod Laver Arena where Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones
Me (right) and my friend, Marika, at a Beyonce concert at Rod Laver Arena where Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones, and Mariah Carey will be performing this November as part of the Stereosonic Music Festival

In fact, Katy Perry, The Rolling Stones, and Mariah Carey will be performing at the Rod Laver Arena this November as part of the Stereosonic Music Festival, an electronic dance music festival. The Rod Laver Arena is the place to enjoy live music because the 15,000-seat stadium really lets you enjoy that big-crowd experience. I have caught several big-name concerts there, the most recent of which was Beyonce.

6. Go for a Music Walking Tour - St Kilda

Me and Eliza taking it easy at seaside playground, St Kilda, which is also a sought-after live music destination
Me (right) and Eliza taking it easy at seaside playground, St Kilda, which is also a sought-after live music destination with bars and pubs offering bands playing different genres of music

About a 20-minute drive away is the seaside playground of St Kilda, the must-visit destination for live music. You can also take Tram 96 from Citadines on Bourke.

Skip the famous Luna Park, considered the world’s oldest amusement park with the iconic Laughing Face entrance; give the walk on the famed St Kilda Beach with its view of Port Phillip a miss; and head instead for the St Kilda Music Walking Tours. For A$40, the tour will take you to the Prince of Wales Hotel for a drink, and through to The Esplanade Hotel’s Gershwin Room. Once the grand dining room of the original hotel, it has since been restored to its former splendor and turned into a live performance space with an ElectroVoice DeltaMax sound system that is perfectly tuned to the room. Then, it is off to the site where the old bar, Bananas, used to be; and finally to the Palais Theatre.

Counting Crows performing at the Palais Theatre where you can catch Tori Amos, Rick Astley, and AQUA in November
Counting Crows performing at the Palais Theatre where you can catch Tori Amos, Rick Astley, and AQUA in November

7. Party to Music - Palais Theatre

With this little guide, you can capture the regular attractions of Melbourne and still explore its myriad musical offerings. Keep an ear out for Melbourne, and I will be keeping an eye out for you.

Stay with us:

Citadines on Bourke Melbourne
Citadines on Bourke Melbourne
131–135 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia
Tel: (61) 3 9039 8888
Fax: (61) 3 9039 8899
E-mail: enquiry.australia@citadines.com
Somerset on Elizabeth Melbourne
Somerset on Elizabeth Melbourne
No 250 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Australia
Tel: (61) 3 8665 8888
Fax: (61) 3 8665 8899
E-mail: enquiry.melbourne@the-ascott.com
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