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Rock On at Brisbane’s Best Live Music Venues

September 14, 2013 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

While Sydney and Melbourne are two of Australia’s most well-known tourist hubs, when it comes to live music Brisbane could be regarded as “top of the pops” these days.

Indeed, a recent study by urban researchers at the Griffith University claims that the inner-city Fortitude Valley Entertainment Precinct is a model for live music hubs across the country and has a music scene that is the “envy of the nation”.

Brisbane has been the stomping ground of a wide variety of talented musical acts over the years, and whether you visit the Fortitude Valley area or head to other inner-city areas, there’s certainly no shortage of great live music to enjoy. Book your Brisbane hotel and then read on for five of the best music venues to visit while you’re in the city on your next holiday.

Brisbane Powerhouse

Brisbane Powerhouse

This New Farm mainstay is set in a picturesque location on the bank of the Brisbane River and very close to beautiful New Farm Park. The former power station is Brisbane City Council’s top arts performance venue and has become a distinct landmark in the area over the years. The Powerhouse hosts big-name musicians such as Paul Kelly and Gotye as well as up-and-coming artists from around the country. The venue regularly features free live entertainment and is also a popular hub for all sorts of creative acts, such as theatre, comedy, film, visual arts and festivals. Visitors to Brisbane can not only enjoy all the entertainment on offer at the Powerhouse but also take time for a stroll around the stunning surrounds or dine at one of the many top-quality restaurants in the vicinity.

Brisbane Jazz Club

Brisbane Powerhouse

While Brisbane is home to a variety of small jazz venues, the Brisbane Jazz Club, located in the shadow of the well-known Story Bridge, is hard to beat. In a fantastic inner-city location in Kangaroo Point and housed on the Brisbane River, the club provides stunning views of the city beyond and a feast of nearby restaurants for visitors to dine at. Jazz lovers will enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere while soaking up headline acts from Australia and overseas. Brisbane Jazz Club is one of the longest-running jazz clubs in the world and is unusual in that it boasts its own band and building — the resident 19-piece Brisbane Big Band has been the club’s local act since 1974. Easily accessible by ferry from Brisbane city’s Eagle Street Pier, the Club is a community run, not-for-profit organisation that is committed to fostering an appreciation of jazz across all ages.

The Tivoli

One of the most famous venues in the Fortitude Valley Entertainment Precinct, The Tivoli is a Brisbane live music icon that was built in 1917 and restored since then in classic art deco style. As one of the most versatile venues in Brisbane, The Tivoli plays host to acts from many genres, including comedy, dance, music and theatre, and is also a popular location for weddings, parties and corporate events. The venue is known for its elegant theatre that features state-of-the-art technical equipment, and it regularly draws top acts from around the country and internationally.

The Zoo

Another well-known Fortitude Valley haunt for music lovers is The Zoo. A classic rock-and-roll live music venue that caters to the indie music scene, The Zoo has a cool, grungy vibe and is a drawcard for popular bands who love playing to a room of hip music fiends. In any given week, customers can enjoy a huge variety of music styles, from hip-hop, jazz, rock and beats to folk, reggae, pop and acoustic sounds. The Zoo has become home to a loyal community of hundreds of developing musos and visual performance artists over the years and has been going strong for over two decades now.

Beetle Bar

Brisbane Powerhouse

One of the newest live music venues on the scene in Brisbane, Beetle Bar is located in the heart of the city and is easy for tourists to find with its fun, shiny rooftop beetle. A funky venue that has been home to original, live music since only 2010, Beetle Bar showcases a variety of different musical styles such as electronic, hip-hop, funk, acoustic, pop, country, rock and more. Housed in an old heritage Cobb & Co building with original brick walls and hardwood beams, the club has a cool vibe and provides value-for-money pricing to suit all budgets.

Brisbane Powerhouse image by Brisbane City Council (12 – Brisbane Powerhouse  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 

About the Author: Brooke Banks is a Brisbane-based musician and freelance travel writer who enjoys hitting the latest live music venues to listen to her favourite acts. She loves to discover the best new venues around the country.

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