Australia: Music in Melbourne

Everyone is in need of music. Every inch of us is affected by certain melodies; whether one reacts to acoustics or hard-core rock – melodies that flow through our fingers, make our limbs quiver, our heads sway, our lips tremble. I find music especially powerful when I’m traveling. I associate most songs with different memories, many of which have come from my travels. Some songs intensify moments – watching the sunset over water, visiting a cathedral, camping out in the desert; songs can help us appreciate the small wonders of the world and help us preserve the most significant memories of our lives. On my gap year, I spent two months in Australia and found their culture of music to be happily all pervasive.



Music has played a significant role in the development of the Australian nation, spanning back to the Aboriginals’ unique instruments and their distinctive sounds. Australia is rich in cultural and geographical diversity, and thus, today, it embraces all genres of music. Melbourne is Australia’s creative hub and music capital. It is host to more than 62,000 live concerts annually. What makes going to music performances in Melbourne special is the vast array of vibrant venues. The city caters to all tastes, so if you find yourself in Melbourne and whether you have a heartfelt interest in music or not, you should experience the unparalleled exhilaration of these spots:


In the northern part of the city, wander on Brunswick and Johnston streets in Fitzroy to find anything from rock and indie to jazz. The Tote is the “home of rock” in Melbourne and is always fun because bands who are unknown are treated as if they are the Rolling Stones. Swing by The Old Bar where local Australian and international acts perform; its charm lies in its small size, which makes it easy to fill the house and gives intimacy that brings out the best in each artist. For sweaty clubs, Cherry Bar is infamous and holds many after-parties for touring bands; it’s located on ACDC lane, a tribute to the Australian band AC/DC. For grungy talent, check out Yah Yah’s who lives and dies for rock’n’roll. The Workers Club is the heart for all indie music and is thrilling, as most performers are quite young and very new to the whole “performance thing” producing fresh and honest performances. In New Brunswick, visit the Northcote Social Club, a music venue where you’ll also get inexperienced artists in their early, arguably their best, years, but the most fun part about the venue is that you never know who’s going to show up, and often big bands, like The Pixies, decide to do an unannounced gig and secret shows. Head to St Kilda, a hip beachside playground that specializes in outdoor music and festivals. DJ’s play at the Esplanade Hotel, the longest running music venue in Australia, and the Revolver, which is entirely full of loyal locals.


The common factor that makes the music scene in Melbourne so special is the undying encouragement of new artists and the passion for celebrating and being enveloped by all forms and styles of music.