Nothing beats the electric sound of an amp crackling right before your favourite act takes to the stage. Brisbane’s live music scene is working on its second act crescendo, ready for locals and visitors to tune in to the beats that are the soundtrack to our city.
Ready to rock to the setlists of some of your favourite acts? A night out at Brisbane Riverstage is just what your Spotify list called for. From breakout Australian acts to the inimitable sounds of Lorde, the stage set upon the banks of the Brisbane River gives the greatest backdrop for memory-making concerts.
If your moshing days are done, make your way to the Queensland Cultural Centre in South Bank for a more relaxed evening in the company of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Make the most of your night with dinner and a drink at nearby South Brisbane or West End restaurants before settling in for your choice from their eclectic and inspiring program of acoustic sets, smash-hit stage spectaculars, and orchestral collaborations.
Brisbane’s built on the back of a love of live music and lays claim to being the stomping ground of some of Australia’s most well-known bands.
Dedicated gig-goers will know well the walk up the stairs to the iconic The Zoo on Ann Street. This local institution will celebrate 30 years of live music in 2022, paving the way for many local acts to take centre stage and playing home to international acts and their side gigs including the likes of Nick Cave and the Dirty Three, Silverchair, Powderfinger, Violent Soho, and The Pixies. For another walk down memory lane, dance like nobody's watching at The Tivoli with sets for all musical tastes from cabaret, tribute bands to indie electronica, and rock.
For a gig with plenty of character, consider the intimate stylings of Fortitude Valley’s Black Bear Lodge. This small but mighty venue offers music lovers RnB DJ sets to get your groove back, smooth jazz sets and new album launches so you can be the one to say, “I was there to see them play before they were big!”
Joining these iconic venues on the bill are newcomers like air hanger meets Newstead beer garden The Triffid, grand The Fortitude Music Hall and the saloon-stylings of Caxton Street’s Lefty’s Music Hall where you can indulge in some old fashioned honky-tonk tunes and a soul-food menu. You’ll be filling your calendar with concerts to see faster than you can ask Siri to stream your new favourite artist on repeat.
It’s hard to find a more iconic venue than Brisbane Powerhouse. If you’re emerging from lockdown looking for a new sound, spend a night or relaxing Sunday afternoon at Brisbane’s premier arts venue indulging in the spectacle of the weird and wonderful. Take the kids to sing along at Teeny Tiny Stevies, spend the evening with Ian Moss for a guitar performance, or enjoy a night of cabaret at BOY&GIRL.
For a venue that offers indoor and outdoor concert spaces, The Brightside Brisbane gives music lovers from all genres the chance to hit the dancefloor. From alternative, punk, and sweet-saccharin 90s pop tribute nights, this is one live music hub to add to your list.
While you’re in the Valley, look out for the retro refrigerator door that is your ticket into the Hawaiian-inspired dive bar, Suzie Wongs Good Time Bar. Step into this cooler-than-ice-cool bar where live music of all genres echoes across the dance floor five nights a week, and you can embrace your rock-n-roll dream of stepping on stage with their house band during their twice-monthly jam nights.
Southsiders, if you’re heading to a show at SunPAC, in the heart of Sunnybank, where you can spend an evening with the Queens of Country in this tribute performance to Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton. Keep grooving as you enjoy lunch at any of the array of restaurants in the area.
If your love of music has you investing too many pretty pennies in concert tickets across town, we’ve got the low-down on where you can find the best free live music in Brisbane.
Wind down the weekend with Sunday Social at River Quay in South Bank. Listen to free, laid-back, live music paired with delicious eats (picnic hampers to be pre-booked from River Quay restaurants) from 2pm every Sunday and take in the spectacular river and city skyline views as an added bonus!
Want to stay close to home? Pack a picnic and lay a blanket down on a grassy knoll to enjoy one of our Bands in Parks events.
Our live music scene is kicking off and it’s only the beginning. Plan your next Brisbetter adventure with inspiration from our explore page and discover more to see and do close to home.
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This article was published in April 2021 and updated in August 2021.
Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to plan a day out exploring Brisbane and to buy local as part of the city's Economic Recovery Plan. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this video.
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