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.
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
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
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 20 th 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
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
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.
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.
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