Perth has been the breeding ground for musical legends like Tame Impala, San Cisco, Birds of Tokyo, the John Butler Trio and many more who all started out playing gigs at small live music venues. So pop on your dancing shoes and head out in search of some great live music in Perth this weekend, you never know who you might discover!
Here are some of the best spots to catch live music in Perth, from awesome local musicians to renowned international acts.
The Ellington Jazz Club
The Ellington Jazz Club is as smooth and slick as the hair once was of the king of jazz himself, Duke Ellington. This cosy little venue hosts the cream of the jazz crop but also has blues, soul, folk, rock and R&B bands.
The Bird opened a few years back thanks to a group of good friends who noticed the gap in live music venues in Perth. This intimate and grungy venue hosts underground music and arts every night of the week. Perch on a church pew and listen to some beats or hang out in the cute little courtyard and chew the fat. For some local Eminem style action, check out the Hip Hop Kara’YO!’ke on the second Thursday of the month.
Jack Rabbit Slim’s
Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole at Jack Rabbit Slim’s and enter a 1950s Pulp Fiction inspired diner where you can feast on fries and alcoholic milkshakes before going through refrigerator doors to the live music room. Jack Rabbit Slim’s hosts a wide variety of live music including rock, indie, hip hop, R&B and electronic music.
The Rosemount Hotel has won several awards as a live music venue in Perth and hosts local, national and international bands most nights of the week. Not to name drop or anything, but some of the talent that has played at the Rosemount includes Mudhoney, Gossip and Dinosaur Jr. There’s also a large outdoor courtyard and beer garden where DJ’s and acoustic musicians often play.
The Astor Theatre opened in 1919 and was originally called the Lyceum. It has a long history of usages including dancing, orchestra, karate, silent movies, adult and Italian films and as a bingo hall, but now hosts a variety of shows including live music. This majestic art deco venue hosts talented local, national and international artists.
Hidden away upstairs at the Leederville Hotel is a vibrant pumping little live music venue called Babushka that was named after the babushka doll murals on the walls. Check out some super talented local, national and international musicians playing a variety of music from soul to punk, hip hop to metal and reggae to pop in a sweet little place with great atmosphere.
The Indi Bar
If the Indi Bar was a person then they’d be a fun-loving hard-drinking bogan who likes to party to loud live music. Or maybe I’m describing myself. This gritty venue hosts live music most nights of the week like rock, blues, roots and reggae. There’s even a swimming pool in the beer garden to add to the ‘I’m getting drunk on holiday in a hotel listening to an awesome band’ vibe. Bring along an instrument on a Tuesday to join in the jam session!
If you like your live music served with tacos and tequila, then El Grotto is the place for you. This Mexican style bar and taqueria brings some of Perth’s best local music to the venue each week. There’s a lot of talented DJ action but also some great local bands.
Rodney’s Bait ‘n’ Tackle
Rodney’s is everyone’s favourite fishing-themed bar and they host acoustic entertainment most nights of the week. The bar at this quirky nautical venue is a 30 foot long fishing boat and there’s historic fishing curios adorning the walls. It’s the perfect haven for drunken sailors to sing sea shanties.
The Odd Fellow Bar
The underground cave-like Odd Fellow Bar is in the basement of the Norfolk Hotel and hosts some great bands. Get stuck into the wall of alcohol and enjoy watching talented musicians up close and personal.
Mojos is the all you can eat equivalent of live music venues with bands playing every night of the week. Mojos hosts a wide variety of music genres from obvious to obscure and friendly to furious. The open mic night on Mondays is a good way to kick off the week by soaking up some tunes from undiscovered talent in the dark and dingy bar.
Clancy’s Fish Pub
The true blue Clancy’s Fish Pub is a champion of Fremantle’s rich music history and hosts a variety of music from first time acts and school bands to indie hipsters and world renowned touring acts. For some more sailor action, go along to the Lost Quays Men’s Sea Shanty Choir on the second Monday of each month to hear some shanties and songs of the sea! What shall we do with the drunken sailor…
The Newport Hotel hosts live music events such as the Record Club on Thursdays nights showcasing leading musicians playing tribute to a diverse range of bands and classic albums. Check it out for more nostalgia than you can shake a drum stick at.
Fly By Night Musicians Club
The Fly By Night Musicians Club is an iconic venue which has helped to start the careers of some great WA bands as well as hosting talented local, national and international acts. This not for profit community arts organisation is full of heart and survived a relocation to the stately Victoria Hall. There’s even a small room called the Fly Trap under the main stage which hosts intimate live performances like the blues orientated Gaslight Club every Wednesday night.
Fremantle Arts Centre
The beautiful Fremantle Arts Centre is a heritage building that was previously a mental asylum in the 1800s and is allegedly haunted. Surrounding the building are three great outdoor live music venues—the large south lawn area, the front garden and the inner courtyard. One of the best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in summer is at the free annual summer concert series in the front garden. I’m pretty sure that loud music scares the ghosts away.
Walking into Badlands Bar is like walking into a devil’s lair crossed with Fred Flintstone’s cave. Formerly Deville’s Pad, Badlands Bar still has a main gig room but has been renovated so there’s an additional maximum voltage Hen House Live small gig room where you can see up and coming bands while ordering your drinks through a hole in the wall. Rock on.
Amplifier And Capitol
Amplifier and Capitol are great venues to watch loud bands and get messy. Actually… the messier you get the better. Amplifier has an indoor room where the bands play and an outdoor courtyard for boozing and schmoozing. It’s raw and grimy and has hosted some amazing gigs. Amplifier opens up into Capitol, which is technically a whole different venue that also hosts some great bands.
The Sewing Room
The Sewing Room will take you back to those old-school basement parties, complete with its shabby setting and underground location. Right in the heart of the CBD, The Sewing Room is a mecca for local talent, including DJs and new garage-bred musicians who dream of performing for a live audience. The location was previously the sewing room of the top-end Pierucci fashion label until 2012, so it is quite literally, a pretty trendy place to let loose. And don’t worry, your screams won’t shatter any windows in the city because the venue is practically sound proof.
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Mojos | Image credit: Elle Borgward