Prepare your tune rags ‘cause we’re hitting Sydney’s live music scene. From the finest of triple j at Oxford Art Factory to the best house bands this side of senior prom at Soda Factory, we’ve got it all. We can’t guarantee you’ll kick up a fling with the drummer, but we can promise a ringing in your ears and Cheshire Cat grin.
Here are the best places you can still watch live music in Sydney.
Oxford Art Factory
It almost goes without saying but Oxford Art Factory is a solid win. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s 1960s New York Factory, these guys have hosted some of best including #1 Dads, Wavves, Holy Holy, DZ Deathrays, Basenji and Violent Soho. Comprised of The Cube, The Gallery and Live Art Space, OAF is set to welcome even more goodness in the coming months. You’ll be heel clickin’ the whole way home.
Swap the depths of Tumblr (but not Making A Murderer Hairstyles ‘cause that’s one hot potato), for a night out at Leadbelly. Sporting 1920s feels but none of the prohibition, The Vanguard is custom-built for live music and waiting for you, your ears and a tipple.
Frankie’s Pizza by the Slice
There are few things in life guaranteed to bring joy: the crunch of a leaf underfoot, DVD logos perfectly hitting a TV corner, and a slice of Sydney’s finest tunes at Frankie’s Pizza. Frankie’s house band hit the stage every Monday night, Sabbath sessions (BYO neck brace) rock out every Sunday and in between you’ll find all the garage-style punk, rock ‘n roll and indie acts you could ever want. Unassuming, and with tongue firmly lodged in cheek, Frankie’s will make you question going anywhere else again.
A Surry Hills favourite, Soda Factory not only bring some of the best live acts to Sydney, but Fat Bubba’s Chicken Wednesdays and Dollar Dog Tuesdays mean you’ll never go hungry (but may need to go for a jog occasionally). From Street to Stage kicks off every Sunday with street musicians and buskers ready for discovery, and cover band Furnace and The Fundamentals hog the spotlight every other Friday. Check out sister eatery Rosie Campbell’s up the road for a Jamaican feed.
The Factory Theatre
We’re mourning the dwindling Cross social life, ain’t no doubt about it. Thank goodness we have Marrickville institutions like The Factory Theatre to save us. A dedicated entertainment venue, TFT have hosted winners like Dustin Tebutt, The Drones, New Found Glory and Of Mice and Men.
The Bald Faced Stag
If you’re not scratching your head wondering what a bald faced stag is then you’re doing things wrong. Grab a mate, dawdle on down to Leichhardt and take a visit with one of Sydney’s oldest pubs—this guy’s been kicking since the 1830s. These days there are a few less bonnets and top hats but they’ve more than made up for it with the likes of Hey Geronimo plus Motörhead tributes and Blues sets. They’ve also had a recent kitchen takeover by Chicken & Sons so for the love of Stag burgers, put some pants on and get down there.
Prepare your tune rag ‘cause things are always pre-drop at Enmore—the carpets still have a bit (read: a LOT) of stick to them, but that’s just the sign of good venue ‘kay? With a wide range of acts who have graced, and will graced the stage, we suggest you pop into one of many Thai or vegan restaurants on your way in, you won’t regret it.
The Metro Theatre
“The key to success is The Metro Theatre” - DJ Khaled. Okay fine, we made that one up. But we feel Snapchat’s biggest success story would give The Metro a big thumbs up if he could. The Metro always has a pretty sweet line up, so prepare to pack into the classic tiered mosh, make buds in the graffitied bathroom enjoy gig mecca.
Newly refurbished and with a capacity of 600, The Basement is the place to be for jazz, blues and genuine, unconceited jams. Located in Circular Quay and featuring the likes of Saskwatch and Patrick James alongside a regular Monday jam sesh, The Basement, with two bars and no sass, is ideal for punters looking for music from calloused hands, not co-ordinated hairstyles.
Who knew the old girl still had a few tricks in her? Yep, the infamous Lansdowne Hotel has had its doors ripped wide open again with the live music spilling out into the streets of Chippendale. FYI this Sydney icon is bringing back all its epic rock and reggae picks with the added bonus of a side of pizza (oh and don’t forget the drinks).
The Bull & Bush
Boasting an impressive list of gigs every other night, the Bull & Bush is an old school rock kind of venue minus the trek to Newtown. That’s right, the Hills district has their own little music haven fit with a beer garden and an old school convict style that is so Aussie it’s basically John Farnham incarnate.
If the beachy vibes and epic burgers haven’t already won you over, then Moonshine’s live music line up is officially a heartbreaker. Giving the Sons of the East and Winston Surfshirt some of their first gigs, this place is soooooo the stereotype of the beaches lifestyle. We’re talking sunburns, felt hats and sunnies indoors—but in a good way, we promise.
From blues music to soulful sounds and diva ballads—The Sheaf delivers on every weird and wacky music desire you might have. With their newly renovated premises and their Golden Rooftop, you can soak up the sun, good vibes and Corona buckets all damn day.
And this is where you can go dancing in Sydney.
Image credit: Soda Factory