As any true fan of live music will tell you, the best gigs are always the ones in smaller venues, where you can see bands in an intimate setting before they hit the big time. While Australia has many fine large venues, hosting major acts from all over the world, if you are after something a bit more special, you might want to pay a visit to one of these fine establishments:
Prince of Wales, St Kilda, Melbourne
Just a short walk from St Kilda's other legendary live music venue, the Esplanade, is the Prince of Wales. There are two bars in the downstairs of the building, one of which is aimed at the gay scene, and both of these feature open windows that are perfect for people-watching. However, it is the band room upstairs that is of the most interest to us here. They have been hosting gigs in the Prince of Wales Bandroom since the 1950s, and it remains one of the top venues for up and coming bands in Australia. Over the years, it has seen performances by the likes of Jack Johnson, Scissor Sisters, Ben Harper, Lenny Kravitz, and Coldplay, long before they were packing out stadiums around the world.
The Annandale Hotel, Parramatta Road, Sydney
The Annandale Hotel has a long and illustrious history as a rock venue, hosting many performances by bands that have gone on to become part of the indie rock firmament over the years, such as Spiderbait, The Cat Empire, You am I, John Butler and Youth Group. The stage is quite small, but the sound quality and the buzzing atmosphere more than make up for it.
The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
The Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle is a venue that prides itself on giving performance opportunities to younger bands, as well as little-known national and international acts. Its place in Australian rock history was cemented in the nineties, when it became famous as the venue where stadium-bound grungers Silverchair cut their teeth. As they were only teenagers at the time, most venues would not allow Daniel Johns and his cohorts to play, but the Cambridge gave them their chance. They repaid the favour in 1999, playing a gig at the Cambridge where they pretended to be their own tribute act, the Australian Silverchair Show.