The Perth music scene has released some musical gems into the world over the years.
From John Butler Trio, Pendulum, alt-rocking supremos Jebediah to the space rock delights of Tame Impala – Perth’s thriving live music scene has given those artists, plus plenty more, a platform in which to excel in front of Perth music lovers. Us Perthies simply can’t get enough of it!
There are live music hotspots in Perth a-plenty, catering for all genres, tastes and persuasions. Let’s take a look at nine venues you simply can’t miss out on your (not so difficult) hunt for the best live music in Perth.
Jazz Cellar, Mount Hawthorn
Nothing quite says sophistication and exclusivity like The Jazz Cellar. The entrance is hidden via a classic London red telephone box (you know, like the one next to Big Ben), down a flight of stairs to a very cozy sized room that could fit 90 people in if you were lucky. There is no food and drink available here but locals seem to love the nearby Pizza joint for a bite to eat. The jazz ensemble consists of 6 musicians called The Corner House Jazz Club, who play a huge range of jazz from the 1920’s all the way up to the 60’s.
By the end of the night, the whole room is usually tapping or dancing away to the melodies, and will be desperate to let their friends and family in on this hidden Perth music gem. Just make sure you book in advance as there’s very limited room.
Freo.Social opened its doors to a huge fanfare in March after a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the historic Artillery Drill Hall site – the former Fly By Night venue. Early signs are looking good! It’s opening act - An Intimate Evening with John Butler – went down a treat as Mr Butler unleashed fan favourites Better Than, Zebra and Ocean. The live music roster is looking strong over winter in Fremantle with live swing music, middle eastern dance festivals and Massive London Sounds all in the pipeline. If you’ve been meaning to check out this place – don’t delay!
Astor Theatre, Mount Lawley
Located on the bustling corner of Beaufort Street and Walcott St in Mount Lawley, The Astor Theatre has been part of the décor since 1919 and has been used for many forms of entertainment over the years. In the 1920’s the “Lyceum Theatre” played host to silent movies and was a popular place to go to catch a flick until the popularity of the TV took its toll on attendances. This meant that the Astor had to resort to showing adult films as well as hosting amateur dramatic shows and bingo nights to pay the bills. Luckily, the venue was refurbished and reopened in 1989 and hasn’t looked back since. The Astor Theatre now hosts a ton of high quality shows including live music from talented local, national and international artists.
Rodney’s Bait ‘N’ Tackle, Mosman Park
A’hoy there me hearties! Rodney’s Bait ‘N’ Tackle is o-fish-ially the most nautical themed live music venue you could ever dream of here in Perth. Everything about this venue screams salty sea air and pirate ships – although that might just be the salt from the fish and chips they serve. In terms of live music, there’s host of acoustic artists performing most nights of the week. Aussie singer songwriter 8 Ball Aitken delighted the crowd a few months ago with his slide guitar stylings – pumping out his best country and blues tunes.
If you’re after good times around a 30-foot long fishing boat then you’ve hit the jackpot. All that’s missing is a fisherman in the corner recounting his story about ‘the one that got away’ to passing patrons.
The Sewing Room, Perth CBD
In The Sewing Room, nobody will hear you scream. The simple reason is that there are no windows as it’s located in the basement where top-end Pierucci fashion label used to live before closing in 2012. This is not only great for soundproofing but the underground setting really amplifies the old school basement vibes, transporting you back in time to the good old days of the Perth music scene.
Renowned Perth artist Adam Hall teamed up with New Orleans Trumpeter Ashlin Parker last month and delighted the crowd with their skills on the brass with the backing of some of The Velvet Playboys. There’s also plenty of club nights on offer with high profile dance music DJ’s - such as DnB stalwarts Zombie Cats. It’s almost like you’ve turned back the clock and are experiencing the dance music explosion of the late 80’s and early 90’s in London or Chicago!
The Ellington Jazz Club, East Perth
With two performances most days, the Ellington Jazz Club’s live music schedule is packed with jazz from all eras – bebop, swing, acid jazz – and also performers from blues, soul, folk, rock and R&B bands. This venue is renowned for its amazing acoustics, delicious pizzas, drinks and a smooth and slick atmosphere. You feel part of the performance in the cozy surrounds without ever feeling claustrophobic.
The Ellington has plenty of performances from up and coming Perth music artists like the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, well known and loved performers such as Libby Hammer and Jessie Gordon and everyone else in between. Before co-owner Graham Wood’s untimely death, you’d see him glued to the piano for many of the live sets – truly one of the greatest Perth pianists around. His spirit lives on in this fantastic venue that he helped create.
The Rosemount Hotel, North Perth
The Rosemount Hotel attracts a plethora of big-name artists to its’ door from the local, national and international music scenes. It’s one of the most popular Perth music venues around! Last month saw former UK 70’s punk band The Stranglers frontman Hugh Cornwell perform a set of his own songs as well as Strangers hits such as “No More Heroes” and “Golden Brown”. In recent months the Rosemount has hosted big hitters such as Dinosaur Jr., Mudhoney and Gossip.
As well as the main acts on stage, you’ll find DJ’s and acoustic musicians entertaining in the venue’s large outdoor courtyard. There’s a surprising variety of beers available to sip on while basking in the winter sunshine and enjoying the live Perth music vibes.
Amplifier And Capitol, Perth CBD
If you like your music live and heavily distorted, then Amplifier And Capitol is the place for you to rock out in Perth this winter. Located down a fairly insalubrious alleyway on Murray St in Perth’s CBD, Amplifier has an indoor stage where the bands play next to an outdoor courtyard, ideal for a rest and a couple of drinks. Rocking out is hard work!
Amplifier and Capitol are technically two separate venues. In Capitol, you can expect to hear acts such as Drum and Bass DJ Alix Perez tear up the floor with his a-men breaks, slick rollers and bangers, and over in Amplifier you’ll be headbanging and launched into a circle pit to the sounds of Daybreak. Raw, unpretentious energy fills the room with like-minded fans who are there to have a good time with no B.S – just the way a Perth music venue should be.
Metro City, Northbridge
Dance music aficionados will be well across what Metro City has to offer for both the dance music and rock scenes in Perth. It’s fair to say that Metro City had to clean up its image after creating newspaper headlines of the wrong sorts at the end of the last decade. But the past has been long put to rest and this Perth music venue is now thriving with big acts gracing the stage. The multi-platinum selling band Rudimental tore down the place at the end of May and math-rock juggernaut’s FOALS are heading over to Perth in July to showcase their latest two albums that launched this year.