Just when you thought Perth’s music scene might be quieting down, a host of new live music venues have been introduced to the mix.
The industry is buzzing more than ever; and the city is one of the best locations to lose yourself in all sorts of live music such as rock, jazz, soul, blues, pop, indi rock and pretty much anything else your heart (and feet) want to move to.
Perth city is home to some absolute gems of live music venues.
Fuelled by cultural inspiration, aspiring musicians and a thirst for something different, there’s a little hit wonder in almost every corner of the CBD.
2015 was a tough year for live music venues in Perth but 2016 has shot off to a great start.
Want some of the hottest live music action in Perth? Here’s where you need to be:
Easily one of the most inviting venues around, The Bird thrives off those Sunday arvo chills – every day of the week.
With an outdoor entertaining area that feels like you’re hanging in your best friend’s backyard and a cosy indoor zone, it’s a hip bar and art space that offers the perfect location for getting your culture fix.
Hosting iconic local rock bands and DJs from Wednesdays through to Sundays (Mondays and Tuesdays are usually reserved for exhibitions, comedy or ‘artsy’ shows), The Bird flaunts a quirky, cool vibe unlike any other venue in the city.
It’s one of the top live music spots to check out the Perth indie scene but it’s known to showcase some reggae bands, Radiothon parties and The Big Band Splash heats too.
The 1800s-inspired live music venue has definitely got those homely-feels going on, with a rustic charm that sets the tone on arrival.
It’s exposed brickwork and industrial yet warm and welcoming atmosphere makes it a great hangout zone for anyone wanting to enjoy a few wines, bites and live music; complete with a low-light ambiance to really illuminate the mood.
Open: Monday – Saturday 12noon to 12am and Sunday 12noon to 11pm
Location: William Street, Northbridge
Running live music from Wednesday night through to Sundays, Universal Bar is Perth’s ‘House of Jazz and Blues’.
Inspired by a jazz and blues bar in New Orleans, Perth’s funkiest venue is the perfect place for letting your hair down and dancing the night away.
Featuring a smooth RnB soul night every Saturday and Off The Record funk and soul evenings on Thursdays, Universal Bar offers a trendy variety of tunes to spice your week up.
Energetic and action-packed almost all weekend, Universal Bar prides itself on supporting the local live music scene.
Don’t miss the delicious cocktail range, New Orleans-influenced menu, brilliant customer service and the ultimate rooftop terrace bar with a stunning view of the city.
Open: Wednesday-Thursday 3pm-1am, Friday 11:30am-2am, Saturday 4pm-2am, Sunday 4pm-12am
Location: William Street, Northbridge
Perth’s newest waterfront development is the city’s entertainment and leisure ‘spot-to-be’.
Flaunting bars, cafes and restaurants, Elizabeth Quay hosts an impressive range of events and activities all year round.
Surrounded by other live music hot spots, like The Lucky Shag with music every Sunday, Elizabeth Quay’s iconic ‘The Landing’ (anchored by the Quay’s Spanda artworkd) also entertains different concerts, events and pop-up vendors.
As the chosen live music space for the recent WA music festival – State of the Art (for the City of Perth Winter Arts Festival), the Quay has become a vibrant location for some of Perth’s top music events.
The free interactive music session Catch Music, an all-ages event takes place at The Landing every Saturday (11th June – 27th August) from 11am – 12:30pm.
Arcadia Australia runs from 25–27 November and features iconic dance music acts and quality electronica, with a mix of local and international talent.
Acadia’s fire-breathing spider combines creative engineering, state-of-the-art technology, music and acrobatic acts.
Elizabeth Quay is designed to reconnect the city with the Swan River, complete with a Transperth Ferry that can be caught into South Perth from The Landing.
The Quay’s Floating Bar operates on Friday nights too and offers punters a ride around the river with a licensed bar on board, d-floor and music.
The bar has free entry and runs every half hour from 5:30pm-9pm.
Ranking as the world’s top venue in 2014 by the music industry bible Billboard, Perth Arena has put on some massive performances; including Elton John, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Nickelback, Drake, Dolly Parton and The Script.
With quality acoustics, Perth Arena has become a must-play touring destination in Australia for the best artists worldwide.
With its Rubik cube-like appearance, Perth Arena’s abstract architecture makes it one of the most interesting looking arenas in the world.
Offering a huge capacity of 10,000 – 15,000 people that only the biggest music acts can fill, Perth Arena is the superior of live music venues on a much larger scale.
Make sure you check out Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for the one night only Perth show on 11 August as part of the Perth Winter Arts Festival.
Open: For selected live music, special interest and sporting events. Check the website for full details.
Location: Wellington Street, Perth
After the Las Vegas inspired Deville’s Pad shut its doors in 2015, the venue has had one hell of a facelift – transforming it into Badlands Bar.
Dedicated to supporting the local music scene, the venue was renovated by music lovers for music lovers to bring the ultimate live music experience to Perth.
With a stage that’s doubled in size and better facilities to cover for larger touring acts, Badlands Bar will open permanently to the public 19th August.
There will be two free massive local shows 6th and 13th August to give you a taste of what you’re in for.
Badlands Bar has already hosted acts like Arizona’s funk-folk band Calexico and Perth’s Karnivool and King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard for its teaser shows, and provides a cool place to hang out and listen to live rock n’ roll music.
Open: Friday and Saturday nights (from 19th August), with free entry into the beer garden 7pm-2am
Location: Aberdeen Street, Northbridge
Jack Rabbit Slim’s
Celebrating its 1 year anniversary in mid-2016, Northbridge’s Pulp Fiction delight Jack Rabbit Slim’s is a live music venue with a little flavour.
Run by the masterminds behind Pilerats and Metric Events (Perth’s high profile music event organisers), Slim’s ticks all the boxes for an exceptional live music venue – with the sound, lighting and stage to prove it.
Priding themselves on live music, alcoholic milkshakes and an endless supply of fries through their late night diner, Slim’s run an eclectic mix of acts every weekend; international act JMSN, local boys Koi Child, Japanese Wallpaper, Bon Evans, The High Learys and The Funkoars just to name a few.
Head to Jack Rabbit Slim’s for a night of rockin’ out on the dance floor, to chill out in the ‘cage’ and watch the bands from above or to veg out in the 50s diner.
Open: Friday and Saturday nights 9pm-5am
Location: Aberdeen Street, Northbridge
Evolving from a 1970s gambling den that was left abandoned for 20 years, Jimmy’s Den thrives on local art, culture and live music.
Supporting the scene with EP launches and music fundraisers, this character-charm space can also be hired out for events with all the essential trimmings (perfect for unsigned bands too).
Crowned the unofficial home of live music in WA, Jimmy’s Den adds a much-needed dimension to Perth’s city music scene.
Ideal for tackling with a group of friends and an urge to boogie, the venue boasts a solid mix of bands and artists to cater for most.
Open: Monday – Sunday, 9pm-12am (only when EP launches and music shows are booked)
Check the calendar for more details
Location: James Street, Northbridge
All photos by Rob Walker (Website) – (except Badlands Bar and Jimmy’s Den)
Badlands Bar Photos by Gavin Partridge
Jimmy’s Den Photos by OK Media Group