Are you a young musician trying to pick up a gig or support slot in Sydney, but scared of ending up playing folk songs in a random, horrible Blue Mountains café on a Tuesday evening? Well, this listicle is for you. Here’s a brief collection of some of Sydney’s weekly club shows, some of which feature either open mic or bills that are accessible to up-and-coming artists and bands.
In a band looking for a place to gig in Sydney? Or are you a punter looking for a decent show? This handy listicle will point you in the right direction!
This two-venue show comprised of a three band bill plus a DJ is booked and run by Keita Tarlinton and Al Grigg (Palms/Red Riders). Nothing’s Shocking has hosted young up-and-comers like Jody and Cheviot, classic local bands like Bearhug and Palms, and solo projects for artists like Alex Cameron of Seekae. Their mission statement is to fuck with new and exciting music in Sydney, without being too concerned about the commercial appeal. Standard Bowl is about a 150 person room, while Sing Song is a bit smaller and more fringe.
Plug & Play
Located at 87 Glebe Pt Road, this little venue fits about 30 to 40 people at a stretch. If you’re an original songwriter and getting up with an acoustic and singing solo doesn’t faze you, this might be the perfect opportunity for you to roadtest new material in front of a group of drunks and likeminded songwriters. Hosted by the versatile and talented singer/songwriter Hannah Robinson. Plug & Play happens on Tuesday nights following registration at 7pm. Bring your guitar, PA supplied.
Sofar Sounds Sydney
On the acoustic and folk tip, this global live initiative takes lounge room vibe to another level, organising excellent ‘Cribs’-esque performances from artists in random homes across the world. The organisation runs regular shows in all across America, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brazil and Latin America, Berlin and Australia, and regularly uploads performances to their Youtube channel. A quick look through the website explains their monthly perogative to supply quality, by-invite entertainment to their fanbase. You can register to be a guest, or apply to perform.
Beach Road Hotel
The Beach Road Hotel is a great gig, if you can get yourself and your gear all the way over to Bondi. The room is huge, and they pay fantastically well. This backpacker pub consistently books great headliners from Wednesday through to the weekend, and the first and second slots on the bill are often up for grabs. Expect to pitch on quality indie four band bills like Griswolds, Gang Of Youths, Colour Coding and The Cadres, or killer dance lineups like Rüfüs, All The Colours and Cassian. Other acts that have cut their teeth here include The Aston Shuffle, Alison Wonderland, Hermitude, Yolanda Be Cool and many, many more. If you want to pitch on a show, email them. Make sure you can pull people for this one.
The World Bar
You might think that the lockout ruined King’s Cross, and you wouldn’t be wrong… about every other bit except World Bar. This indie/electronic oriented club has continued to provide three walk-up gigs throughout the week and excellent opportunities to play to groups of drunken backpackers and music fans. The first is their regular by-application Latin & Jazz open mic night on Monday. The second is Mum, their classic indie night. There’s space for bands and a DJ. And lastly Cakes, an excellent club night & dance party.
Brighton Up Bar
Booked by Chris Sheppard at Music & Booze Company, this 100 to 120 person venue is drawing some of Sydney’s best shows at the moment. Can’t fill the Oxford Arts Factory? Well, don’t worry. Brighton Up Bar works like training wheels for its bigger sibling across the road. What’s more, Brighton has pedigree. Montaigne’s recent launch sold out immediately, and there are great bands on here seven nights a week. Contact them via their Facebook page, or directly.
Oxford Art Factory
Obviously this is a bit more of a big deal, but you’ll just need a bit of momentum and some contacts to make it happen. The 300 cap main room features significant headliners and supports three nights a week, acts like Andy Bull, Peace or Gang Of Youths. If you want to start supporting those kinds of artists, maybe you should consider promoting a gig at the Oxford Art Factory Galley Bar. It fits 120 people, and is right next door to the main room. Promote it right, and you can pack this place out and establish a good reputation at an excellent venue.
Town Hall Hotel
This classic Sydney venue puts on live bands playing anything from jazz to modern alternative songwriters like Brian Campeau, and stays open VERY late indeed. The perfect venue to road test your group, covers band or original solo performances.
One of the quirkiest and certainly the smallest of Sydney’s live venues, this 40 person capacity room is located on Enmore Road, right next to the Vic On The Park. With a stage that can barely fit two musicians and their gear, it’s always an interesting gamble that often pays off in an intimate, exciting show. Usually there’s a songwriting element, as it’s a bit small to be a club, but still.
Open from Thursday night to Saturday night from 8pm, Waywards mixes club DJ’s, indie DJ’s and a two band bill. Though there’s nothing listed on their website at present, you can contact them here.
The Marlborough Hotel
Sporting a great local three band bill, every Thursday – Saturday nights, this venue has a loose and competitive vibe. If you can entertain the drunken Saturday punters here, you’ve got something for sure. The front bar is an excellent test for a well-rehearsed act who want to make waves in Sydney’s new entertainment heartland. The closest thing to a contact for music booking on their website is here.
Frankies Pizza Bar
Though it’s more a late-night drink for most people, Frankie’s offers an almost constant bill of quality rock and roll shows throughout the week. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday host live bands on their dedicated stage, and you’ll be playing to about 150 to 200 people who just wandered in for a drink. Good times. Contact.