Live music is back: A running list of the Melbourne venues hosting gigs again

Live music is back: A running list of the Melbourne venues hosting gigs again

Words by Tom Parker

To help you get back out there and enjoy Melbourne’s glorious live music scene again.

The serotonin-ometer is currently operating at high levels as we return to the wild, pervading the social landscape like water buffaloes to a swamp after a long summer.

We’re all loving it but we’re also aware it can be turned up another notch. The volume dial is sitting at a 6.5 but we’re watching Die Hard and you just know you want that bad boy hitting 9 and 10 for maximum aural impact.

First, it was hospitality venues such as pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants who were given the green light to reopen. Retail was given an enthusiastic thumbs up around the same time. But as punters adorned their best collared shirt and jeans gearing up for the classic “Fuck, long time no see, how’s your COVID been?” monotony, bandrooms remained empty.

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Even though at the time of writing, Victoria was at more than a month of zero new COVID-19 transmissions, it took the state government their sweet time to say yes to indoor live music. The wish has now been granted however and as we begin to experience the seated gig, the dream of a fully-fledged, uninhibited live show has no doubt entered our conscience.

To celebrate the brave live music venues presenting gigs before a reduced audience and most likely not returning a profit, we’ve put together a running list of the venues who are back in the game.

We have our fingers crossed that proper, un-socially distanced shows are just over the horizon.

Memo Music Hall

St Kilda’s beloved Memo Music Hall hasn’t stopped during COVID. Yep, while many other bandrooms were accruing fervent dust bunnies as they stood idle, Memo were throwing livestreamed gigs week after week. Now, they’re back in the live gig game with a super bill of shows across the coming months. Expect to see everyone from local greats Painters & Dockers, Kate Ceberano, Mark Seymour & The Undertow and many more.

Score yourself a spot at a Memo gig here

The Bendigo Hotel

We recently announced The Bendigo Hotel’s new monthly gig series, F#*k this, I’m going to The Bendi, which saw the venue welcome back live music with gigs from the likes of Wolfpack, The Stripp, Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows, Mammon’s Throne and a bunch of others. The buck doesn’t stop there however as The Bendi have revealed plenty of other shows going forward.

Their gigs are selling out fast. Find out more here.

The Retreat

The Retreat haven’t skipped a beat since they started hosting gigs again in early December. Connoisseurs of the best local talent, everyone from the likes of Floodlights, Bones & Jones, Porpoise Spit, Lewis Coleman and more, have stepped into their beloved bandroom.

Sort yourself tickets via their website.

Stay Gold

Fantastic Sydney Road live music venue Stay Gold is back in the swing of live music with a bunch of sweet shows coming up. Their Make Emo Great Again party has been a fave as it celebrates the glorious punk and emo music of the early noughties, while they’ve also got shows from Mirrors with Tapestry, Sunflower, Diamond Construct, to name a few.

Get amongst it here.

Ragtime Tavern

Preston’s Ragtime Tavern is one of Melbourne’s homeliest watering holes. Built around a baby grand, Ragtime provides a platform for both emerging and established pianists and other acoustic artists to perform. After some time off, the venue has fired things back up in the gig space, offering plenty of shows across the coming months.

For more on Ragtime Tavern, head to their website and Facebook page.  

The Night Cat

The Night Cat were quick to adapt when COVID-19 took hold. Early on, they started curating their own Friday night livestream parties and developed exclusive patron packages that are available via their website. Now as restrictions have eased, the venue has just announced a number of live gigs, featuring everyone from thando to Tamil Rogeon and Millar Jukes.

Get involved here.


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170 Russell

170 Russell launched back into things when they welcomed Didirri to play two solo sets in mid December. Now, it’s full steam ahead with the likes of Odette, Lastlings and Slowly Slowly coming to the venue over the coming months.

Find out more here.

The Leadbeater Hotel

Richmond’s emerging live music haunt The Leadbeater Hotel only opened late 2019 but they’re certainly put their best foot forward with a bunch of gigs announced over the coming months. Whether you’re seeing the likes of Phil Jamieson, House of Wood, Aeroplane Mode or Dekleyn, make sure you get down to The Leadbeater for a show.

Grab tix here.

The Corner

The Corner recommenced live shows with Corner Comedy featuring Geraldine Hickey, Dave Thornton and Nazeem Hussain in late November before Kingswood officially cut the ribbon on the return of live music as part of their run of shows in the weeks following. Going forward, the venue has booked loads of shows, including The Bamboos, Genesis Owusu, Pierce Brothers, Great Gable, The Beths, and more.

Grab tix to a gig at The Corner via their website.


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Max Watt’s

Max Watt’s got back into the swing of things with some intimate shows. They kicked things off in early December with ’80s rock tribute gig Eighties of Sunset before they threw a ’90s party to raise money for Support Act just a week later. Coming up, they’ve got sleepmakeswaves, Skin On Skin, No Money Enterprise, The Iron Maidens, and many more, dropping into the venue.

That’s just the start. Check out all their shows here.

The Post Office Hotel

Sydney Road’s The Post Office Hotel is not only a stellar pub for a pint and a meal, it also doubles as a fantastic live music venue. Regularly updating their gig guide via their website, make sure you duck down to The Post Office for a gig coming up.

Check out their gigs via the venue website

The Tote

Melbourne rock kingdom The Tote is back up and firing in the live music space. They kicked things off on the last weekend of November when Thee Cha Cha Chas and Plastic Section performed from Barter Town – the venue’s pop-up gig space in the beer garden – and will be continuing shows across weekends to come.

Keep up to date with the gigs happening at The Tote via their website and Facebook page.


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Open Studio

Northcote’s Open Studio is blooming with live music again as it brings some of Melbourne’s brightest music talents to its space. It all kicked off on Fridays and Saturdays from the venue’s courtyard to begin with but in early December, they welcomed Adam Rudegeair to perform inside on the piano. There’s more where that came from with heaps of gigs booked over the coming months.

Check out all of their gigs here.

The Old Bar

The Oldie is back into the swing of things with gigs going down at the venue. Things kicked off in mid December when they hosted Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters alongside Crash Material – in the venue’s first gig back since February – before then welcoming the likes of El Tee, Al Matcott, and a super bill a week later featuring Porpoise Spit and Hearts and Rockets. Going forward, there’s Creepy Flavour, Naked Mannequin, Willie Coyote and more.

Find out more at The Old Bar’s website or via their Facebook page.

The Curtin

The John Curtin Hotel is back in business on the live music front to the glee of all Melburnians. A bunch of Melbourne Music Week gigs kicked things off, including Banoffee and Blake Scott, with more MMW gigs going down as 2021 commenced, courtesy of CLAMM and CS + Kreme in February. More and more gigs will be announced as the weeks fly by, so stay tuned.

Get around The Curtin here


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Small Time

Small Time is a chameleon of the Melbourne music space wearing the different capes of a music video platform, artist development program, production space and live music venue/pizza bar. Having livestreamed shows throughout the lockdown, Small Time is back with live gigs, initially welcoming names such as Lewis Coleman, Cantrips amd AM Reruns and more since things eased. Upcoming, there’s RAT!hammock, Surprise Chef, Cayn Borthwick and more.

Keep up to date with Small Time via their FB page and website.

Paris Cat

Iconic Melbourne jazz cauldron Paris Cat is back in the live music game and they’re not mucking around – they’re already back to regular scheduling with up to four gigs going down each day from Thursdays to Sundays. Names such as thando, The Corridors, The Bowie Project and more, are to come.

Find out more here.

The Prince Bandroom

St Kilda’s beloved live music venue The Prince launched back into things with a bunch of tribute nights. They kicked off with INXSIVE in early December – a homage to the iconic rock band – before Gold Chisel played all the classics from the legendary namesake band a week later. Coming up, they’ve got Kerser, a tribute gig to the iconic grunge albums of the ’90s, and more.

Head to The Prince website to score yourself a ticket.

The Workers Club

Fitzroy live music haunt The Workers Club is back to doing what they do best, announcing heaps of gigs going forward. And the tickets are selling like hot cakes. From Belle Haven to Hope D, JK-47 and Mr Charles & The Funk Orchestra, there’s something for everyone here.

Grab yourself a tick via The Workers Club website.


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Cherry Bar

The Cherry Bar owners stunned many of us when they recently announced the opening of their new venue The Hotel Westwood where the old Reverence Hotel used to stand. Amidst that, their premier venue recommenced live gigs when Immigrant Union played a few sets from Cherry Bar in late November. Coming up, they’ll host the likes of HOSS, Phil Para, Redro Redriguez & His Inner Demons, Johnny Hunter and more.

Keep up to date with Cherry Bar live shows via their website and Facebook page

Wesley Anne

The iconic Wesley Anne is not only a revered abode for a tasty meal, they’ve got live music too and they’ve well and truly fired up the amps as we embark on 2021. Wurli, Paige Black and Ade Ishs are some of the names you will have caught over the last few months, while the likes of Perolas, Liam Wright and Piano Atmosferix are to come.

Check out all the gigs going down at The Wes via their website.

The Thornbury Theatre

The Thornbury Theatre announced a handful of gigs prior to the new year, courtesy of Hayley Mary and Ali Barter, who each played two evening shows to launch their respective new singles. Looking ahead, a tribute to Tom Waits awaits, as does a show from Teeny Tiny Stevies, Women of the North and more.

Head to The Thornbury Theatre website to grab tickets. 

To keep up to date with all the gigs going down in Melbourne, head to our dedicated online gig guide which will be gradually updated as the local live music scene kicks back into gear.