Live music in Sydney
There’s nothing like the electric atmosphere of a live gig. In Sydney, you can see live music every night of the week, from smooth jazz in a dimly lit cocktail lounge to rock bands in a grungy pub and big name musicians on iconic stages. Grab a drink, sing along and dance the night away.
Inspired by Andy Warhol’s 1960s New York nightclub The Factory, Oxford Art Factory is one of Sydney’s top live music venues and has launched the careers of many artists. You can now see international acts, up and comers, and local DJs in the two performance spaces spread across the edgy warehouse-style venue.
The Lansdowne Hotel in Chippendale has been the centre of Sydney’s live rock music scene since the late 1980s. It was completely refurbished in 2017 with a new purpose-built performance room, two levels of outdoor space and a pizzeria. Nearby, Freda's is the place to see emerging local acts and stay on the dance floor until 4am.
In Marrickville, the cosy Camelot Lounge specialises in jazz and world music. It’s also one of the few venues where under 18s are welcome, as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Golden Age Cinema & Bar (part of the Paramount House complex) has a small, moodily-lit space with a buzzing atmosphere and wide range of acts.
Try the laid-back Venue 505 in Surry Hills for jazz, funk, reggae, blues, flamenco, swing African beats and more six nights a week. Arrive early to score one of the comfy couches. At The Vanguard in Newtown, you can watch local and international acts in the stylish performance space surrounded by luxe velvet curtains.
If you’re looking for a bigger gig, head for one of Sydney’s iconic theatres. The Enmore Theatre is the longest running live music venue in NSW, drawing crowds for more than 110 years. Enter the mosh pit at The Metro Theatre for high energy rock bands or see huge international acts in a more intimate space at The Hordern Pavilion.
Sydney has been famous for its drag shows for more than 50 years, a fabulous mix of cabaret, comedy and costumes. You can see drag shows from Wednesday to Sunday at The Imperial Erskineville, a legend of the local LGBTQI community. The Kings Cross Hotel also hosts drag shows as part of Mardi Gras or other special events.