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Cheap Gigs in Melbourne

Home > Melbourne > Bars | Free | Music | Music Venues | Nightlife | Lists
by Anthea Batsakis (subscribe)
Twitter: @antheabanthea
Published April 16th 2014
Big music for little money
Melbourne is renowned for boasting an eclectically cool array of music that attracts tourists and our local, nocturnal humans who dwell in their habitats of late-night-early-morning bars and clubs. Many musicians travel from around Australia to settle in Melbourne in order to build their careers as this city is the perfect destination for not-so-amateur musicians to gain some exposure. If you love live licks and want to give these talented musicians an audience on a budget, look no further than this diverse list of cheap venues in Melbourne, all $15 and under.

Uptown Jazz Café – $5.00 to $15.00
Jazz: Free, trad, ambient, be-bop

Uptown Jazz Cafe Charlie Parker
A wall-sized picture of Charlie Parker in Uptown

Uptown Jazz Café is a hidden gem in the heart of Fitzroy that won't make a dent in your wallet with entry fee between $5 and $15. This vibin' venue hosts Australia's best jazz musicians, including Wednesday's be-bop regulars Bopstretch. When the musicians aren't performing, a projector screen plays independent, retro films underscored by the likes of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald to create a darkened and whimsical setting.

This jazz club seems small at first glance, but don't let that 'treble' you; a surprising amount of available seating and a well-fitting bar will ensure that listeners are comfortable within the jazzy ambience.

Uptown is located above a Japanese restaurant independent to the jazz club, but both are willing to collaborate with food being served up into the bar. The delicious combination of sashimi, beer, and jazz is not an uncommon experience to the jazz lovers of Melbourne. So head downtown to Uptown with the assurance of a satisfied musical palette.

Uptown Webpage

The Night Cat – Free entry
Latino, salsa, soul, reggae, hip hop

Night Cat Graffiti Art Fitzroy
The Night Cat as an icon of Fitzroy

For Latino Lovers and those with a hot spot for hot salsa, visit The Night Cat. Fitzroy's salsa club showcases the best live Latin music bands that will ensure your feet are whirling around the dance floor and that your hands are occupied by a drink or by an equally fantastic dancer.

The stage is centred between the bar and the dance floor and therefore it doesn't take a sweat-drenched battle to obtain a drink. This spacious area is uniquely decorated and dimly lit, giving it an underground vibe that emulates Fitzroy's classic style.

The Night Cat is one of Melbourne's adored icons and has been for over twenty years. The diverse range of music will ensure that your musical appetite won't be left unsatisfied, however checking which gigs are on and when is accordingly important. Not only does The Night Cat offer live enlivening ensembles, but salsa dance classes commence every Sunday for the economic price of $15.These dance classes are a perfect opportunity to experiment with your hips and ensure that the next time you visit The Night Cat you can show off your expert salsa on the dance floor.

The Night Cat Webpage

Cherry Bar - Free to $15
Rock, soul, funk, blues

Cherry Bar
Cherry Red

Situated on AC/DC lane, Cherry Bar is true to the namesake of its location. Melbourne's best rock 'n' roll bar ranges from free entry to $15, depending on the night or the gig.

Cherry Bar is contrary to the sweetness of cherries; the gritty exterior of the laneway foreshadows the darkened interior and beer-spilled bar. However, this venue attracts a range of customers, despite the rock 'n' roll schemes, red motif, and a muster of Jagermeister. Cherry Bar hosts local, interstate and international musicians and it is a prime venue for musicians to make their debut. When the live bands have finished playing at 11:30pm, DJs continue to ensure that music is still ringing in your ears until the early morning.

The venue is divided into three sections - a stage and dance floor, a bar and seated area, and a VIP section for the band and close friends or family. These segregations keep Cherry Bar uncrowded and uncluttered. It ensures that visitors can enjoy the music comfortably. Cherry Bar is definitely a bar to visit, not only for the quality bands at affordable prices, but also for the friendly atmosphere and Jagermeister specialty drinks.

Cherry Bar Webpage

Black Night Crash - $5.00
Brit pop, post punk, alternative, indie-rock

Black Night Crash Albums Brit Pop Alternative
A classic collection

Every Saturday night, The Rochester Castle Hotel, otherwise known as "The Rochy" to its regulars, has a $5 entry fee and plays host to a live band in their Bookclub Band Room. The Roch is Fitzroy's answer to the question of alternative music. Downstairs they play a regular mix of Brit Pop, post punk and indie-rock, and the live band upstairs follow a similar suit. A notable band regular is The Smokes, a cover band of; you guessed it, The Strokes.

The Bookclub Band Room seems like three words strung together at random, but once you feel your way through the darkened corridor and stand (or sway) behind the heavy door embellished with the illusion of an elaborate bookshelf, things start to become a lot clearer. The room itself is intimate, with a small yet suitable bar and a floor-level stage that engulfs half of the room. Consequently, a decision whether you would prefer to dance closer to the band or closer to the bar should be made early on. Together with great music, cheap entry, and the Rochy's renowned cheap drinks, you'll be set up for a fun night out.

Rochester Castle Hotel
Black Night Crash Facebook Page

Other cheap venues include:
Revolver Upstairs, The Esplanade, The Penny Black, Somewhere Bar, Bar 303, Gertrude's Brown Couch, The Wesley Anne
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Why? To enjoy quality live music for affordable prices
When: Usually Thursday to Sunday
Where: In and around Melbourne city
Cost: Free - $15 entry fee
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