Attention music lovers!
Perth is fast becoming a magnet for genuine new talent and world class musicians. This November alone, the list of concerts and gigs is so long, it's hard to know which way to turn. So here's a guide to music events and venues to get you started. Follow your nose through this article, and you'll be clued up about where to go and what's on.
As spring arrives, so does WAMFest - the prestigious WA Music Festival, which celebrates the most talented local musicians with awards and free gigs all over town.
WAM is responsible for nurturing contemporary WA music, and the awards have become the holy grail of the local music industry, helping to boost winners onto a national stage. The awards also recognise individual songs, record labels, producers, reviewers and venues.
On 2 and 3 November, WAMFest Live happens in Perth City and Northbridge. Friday night is dedicated to Perth venues, with free entry to experience no less than 65 acts. On Saturday, it's Northbridge's turn, hosting an astonishing 95 acts across 12 venues.
One to check out is Yagan Square Auditorium, in the new complex opened in March 2018, situated between the CBD and Northbridge. Look out for other upcoming events in the Square too, such as the Twilight at Yagan Square Christmas markets on 16 November.
Perth Cultural Centre Amphitheatre will also host WAMFest Live performers, and is a great venue for music under the stars. PICABar and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts is right on the spot with al fresco tables and tasty snacks. Arrive earlier to browse the Art Gallery of WA before the music gets underway.
Most of the WAMFest venues are regular live music spots. A few to keep an eye on are The Bird, The Sewing Room and The Laneway Lounge. The Rosemount Hotel in North Perth is another great live music venue all year round with an excellent courtyard bar area. On 28 October, the Rosemount will host a WAMFest Live event with 15 acts performing.
Mojo's Bar is a popular Fremantle live music venue and a WAMFest partner, dedicated to promoting local, new and indie music, and often hosting WA's top musicians in their early days. While Mojo's is outside the WAMFest Live areas, in November, fans of new talent should look out for Didirri on the 8th, Body Type on the 16th, Stella Donnelly on the 23rd, Tijuana Cartel on the 28th and Holy Holy on the 29th.
As well as its role as a WAMFest host, The Laneway Lounge is an all-year-round top pick for Wednesday night jazz. This laid back lounge has just the right vibe for quality jazz sounds. The eclectic collection of easy chairs and couches will have you sinking back into an easygoing night with delicious food and wine. In November, The Laneway welcomes the wonderful John Bannister on the 21st, and mellow singer Brenda Lee on the 7th and 28th.
Other jazz lounges include The Ellington, which is more like a concert venue requiring silence while musicians are playing, and the Jazz Cellar, a quirky basement venue accessed through a mysterious phone box. There's a cover charge for the Ellington and it's wise to book ahead for popular acts, while the Jazz Cellar must be booked at least 3 weeks in advance.
Another upcoming treat for jazz junkies is the annual Perth International Jazz Festival, running from 9-11 November.
Among a massive lineup of talent, don't miss Kate Ceberano on the 9th, with Carl Mackey and special guests in the State Theatre Centre Courtyard.
On each day of the festival, Libby Hammer will run the jazz equivalent of a Pub Choir rehearsal, called Club Choir, in the State Theatre Centre Courtyard, followed by a performance on the 11th on the Perth Cultural Centre Wetlands Stage - all events free. Libby is a hugely popular WA jazz and blues singer and generous teacher, whose number 1 objective is to entertain.
Brilliant young WA musicians not to be missed are the Artemis Orchestra, an all-female big band featuring alumni of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) and Young Women in Jazz tutors, and the WA Academy of Performing Arts Jazz Vocal Ensemble.
WAYJO will also be performing at the fabulous Quarry Amphitheatre on 22 November, presenting Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Sunset. On a beautiful spring evening, this will be an unforgettable experience.
Big Names & Classical
Also in the Quarry Amphitheatre, the exquisite sound of the WA Opera will be heard wafting through the night air on 15 November. Opera in the Quarry promises a collection of 'heart-racing, heart-breaking, heart-warming opera hits'. You had to be quick for this event, tickets are now sold out.
Perth Concert Hall is the place to go for world class classical music from the extraordinary West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) and internationally renowned guest musicians. This is a very comfortable venue with wonderful acoustics and excellent bars for interval or pre-concert drinks.
A full program of concerts in November includes chamber music by three incredible young string musicians, the Benedetti Elschenbroich Grynyuk Trio, and Tognetti's Beethoven, the master's Violin Concerto and Fifth Symphony performed by Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
Unmissable concerts presented by WASO are Grieg's Piano Concerto and Dvorak's New World, and Russian Masterworks - music of war and freedom from Prokofiev and Shostakovich, with violinist Ning Feng, and Karina Canellakis conducting WASO for the first time.
Popular violinist Andre Rieu will be performing in November too. On the 24th at RAC Arena (formerly known as Perth Arena), Christmas with Andre will put you in the mood for the festive season as the string superstar performs well known melodies with his own Johann Strauss Orchestra.
Other big names appearing at the RAC Arena in November are Sam Smith on the 20th on his Thrill of It All world tour, and Shania Twain on the 30th, on her NOW tour, performing her first Australian shows for almost 20 years.
After achieving the world's top ranking by Billboard and staging several highly successful concerts, including Pink's spectacular performances earlier this year, RAC Arena is definitely one major music venue to watch.
Other Venues to Watch
For regular visitors to Perth with an insatiable appetite for live music, there are other key venues to keep an eye.
Optus Stadium and Kings Park, two vast venues ideal for an evening of music under the stars.
While Optus Stadium is the new home of sports in Perth, it made its debut as a concert venue earlier this year with sell-out Ed Sheehan shows. Watch out for more in the future, and in the meantime, why not drop in and join a 90 minute tour to get behind the scenes and enjoy cityscape from the Sky View lounge. Tours run four times a day - check availability first.
Kings Park has hosted many international and emerging artists over the years in the beautiful Botanic Garden. Summer is the time to keep an ear out for concerts. Jon Butler and Missy Higgins in February has already sold out its first night, so get in quick for the second release, and the Bryan Ferry World Tour is another one to book ahead.
Crown Theatre in the Crown Perth complex is about musical theatre, so if rock extravaganzas, Disney, Bollywood or just great all-round entertainment is your style, check their calendar and book well ahead. Tim Minchin is back in March and tickets are on sale now!
The great benefit of Crown is that you can stay in one of three magnificent hotels, within a few strides of the Theatre. Choose from Crown Metropol, Crown Promenade and Crown Towers to find the package that suits your budget.
Classical music lovers should check out Government House Ballroom for its Music on the Terrace series, and the cathedrals - all unique venues with their own character. Concerts are performed regularly at St George's Cathedral in Cathedral Square, St Mary's Cathedral near Perth Royal Hospital, and St Patrick's Cathedral in the centre of Fremantle. Check individual websites for more information.
Annual concert series, such as WASO, are releasing their 2019 dates in the run-up to Christmas, so if you're really keen you can book season tickets, or just book ahead for the ones you can't miss.
His Majesty's Theatre is the home of the West Australian Opera, and holds occasional intimate musical events and late night jazz in its fabulous basement venue, Downstairs @ The Maj - definitely worth keeping on your radar.