People often complain that Sydney lacks good live music venues. Claim that Melbourne has a superior live music scene and it grungier, more alternative. I think it all depends where you look! Sydney has some great places and great gig venues with varied music to offer.
Recently I went back to the Metro to see Vampire Weekend – a New York indie upbeat jungle pop outfit. Youthful, fresh – almost like the jazz band I would choose to have at my beach wedding in Byron Bay (if I had one!), rather than a quartet from the concrete jungle taht they are! Although they have jungle beats and synth piano, syncopation and fun rhythms, they are every bit musical satisfaction and skill. Lilting falsetto and melodic guitar riffs…like for another era, rockabilly, uplifting and upbeat – happy sounds. Andy Warhol in a band…plus the light show was like a sea of flat bright contrasting primary colours, occasionally mixed up.
The Metro (www.metrotheatre.com.au) was the perfect venue for such a popular band: intimate but large enough to get scale and a decent audience fit inside. The Metro feels like an old warehouse which in its faded glory is waiting to give a garage band some of the limelight. Suitable for an underground alternative audience, it attracts a young crowd, with a dark and dingy alleyway alongside, and faded vintage entry. It is an escape from reality into a world of pixies dancing and hands flailing.
Other gig venues of choice:
* The Standard (www.wearethestandard.com.au): one of my new favourite gig venues with varied names playing from indie psychedelic pop outfit Deep Sea Arcade, to soul / rnb Mike Champion and even the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and generally for reasonable prices (most gigs <$35)
* The Vanguard in Newtown ((www.thevanguard.com.au)) / The Basement at Circular Quay (www.thebasement.com.au): favourites for jazz, burlesque, and singer-songwriters. A bit pricier, but also a bit classier
* Oxford Art Factory (www.oxfordartfactory.com): another local favourite with the dingy, underground stage, it is the best place for those truly intimate escapist gigs. Alt-J and Alpine were recent favourites
* The Enmore (www.enmoretheatre.com.au): another standard top gig venue for more well known bands
* The Beresford (www.merivale.com.au/theberesfordhotel/): up and coming names often play upstairs. Recently saw Ginger + Drum and was truly impressed by the quality of this gig venue, dim but open, it is great for a Friday night drink downstairs in the beer garden and musical rendition upstairs
* The Factory Theatre (www.factorytheatre.com.au): in Marrickville, for some underground comedy and musical comedy
Some favourite renditions…
Contra – soft sounds, deep harmonic synth that you feel in your bones…
Pure and sheer fun of Holiday – I wanna love you // I love the sea…
Ended with Cape cod kwassa kwassa – goodbye song…
So get grooving and check out some new live music gig venues!