For nine days each November, the keys to the city are thrown to those who make Melbourne’s music scene world-class. Collaborating with local record labels, radio stations and other industry players, the City of Melbourne turns it on and turns the volume up with Melbourne Music Week (MMW). With 110 events showcasing local and international talent, you really can’t go wrong. But if the tyranny of choice is hurting your head, here’s where to get started.
Live Music Safari: Baro + Milwaukee Banks + ESESE
The Live Music Safari involves 14 music venues showing three free acts each on a single night – it’s bar-hopping with excellent music. 1000 £ Bend is a hybrid venue in the CBD that perfectly embodies MMW and has done so for years now. (In past years the space has held roller-skating discos and intimate brunch gigs). For the safari it teams up with Laneway Festival to throw one hell of a free party. Your performers for the evening are three of Melbourne’s best up-and-coming acts in hip-hop and neo-soul: Baro, Milwaukee Banks and ESESE.
This is something different. Think 1950s all-female barbershop quartet, but instead of a barbershop, it’s Fitzroy Gardens. Comedic a capella group Bobby and the Pins will take you on a botanical music tour of the gardens, led by their enigmatic front woman Bobby Blue. Aca-awesome.
LOVE LIVE MUSIC at the ‘G
Melbourne’s palace of sporting dreams will house a mini festival, featuring artists across a range of genres from pop to jazz to indie rock. In true MCG style, it will be loud, with headliners The Delta Riggs and Pierce Brothers and more gracing the hallowed turf (and even the player change rooms).
Signal Interactive Workshop
Record label, artist agency and production house Stable Music hosts this interactive workshop exploring the evolution and significance of electronic music's seminal instrument: the modular synthesiser. The session will be run as a hands-on discussion, with the creators of the synths there for teaching and most importantly, the synths themselves there for listening, tweaking and playing.
Hush: An Evening of Quiet Music at the Parliament
The Hush concert series has been a silent success. This brilliant idea takes coveted Australian songwriters and puts them in heritage venues to perform – on the condition that you, the audience, remain dead silent. Dan Kelly, Teeth & Tongue and the brilliant Sui Zhen will play with others across three rooms inside Parliament House. Grab a ticket and switch your phone to flight mode.
Fed Square Live: Horns of Leroy
Seven-piece street band Horns of Leroy will get Fed Square moving with their New Orleans-inspired big brass sound. This feel-good free show is the first in the Fed Square Live series that continues throughout summer.
Mind Gamers + Shags Chamberlain + Siberia DJs
Electronic trio Mind Gamers consists of three established artists who have collectively worked with the likes of Blood Orange and Midnight Juggernauts. They’ve asked not to be called a supergroup, so we will just say this: there is colossal talent in this band and this gig won’t cost you a penny. This one is not to be missed.
Morning Ritual: Nai Palm
Back for another year, Morning Ritual is a MMW favourite, showcasing local talent before noon. The early bird gets the worm; the worm in this case being the delightful sounds of Hiatus Kaiyote’s charismatic lead singer. It’s hard to frame Nai Palm’s style, which flits between R’n’B, jazz, and hip-hop, but her music is always soulful. What a way to start the day.
10 Years of triplejunearthed.com
Hard to believe it's now been a decade since triple j gave life to baby digital station triple j Unearthed. Helping them blow out the candles are some of their most successful alumni, including Northeast Party House, Allday, Alex Lahey and Ali Barter.
Sound Craft: Make Your Own Speakers
Remember the time you had an impromptu party and no speakers? Sometimes loudspeaker on your phone just won’t cut it. This interactive workshop teaches you how to design and build your own speakers out of every day objects such as paperclips.
MMW Closing Party: HVOB + Seekae (DJ set) + more
MMW is about taking quintessential Melbourne spaces and transforming them into unconventional musical settings. This year the jewel of the crown is one of the city’s oldest and dearest: the State Library of Victoria. For closing night, local label Good Manners is throwing one hell of a do. Austrian electronic duo HVOB joins a gang of Australian DJs and producers to kiss MMW goodbye. Taking over the State Library of Victoria is MMW’s most ambitious move to date, so the least we could do is dance the night away in this magnificent building.
Melbourne Music Week runs from November 11 to November 19 at the State Library of Victoria and various locations around Melbourne. Full program and tickets at mmw.melbourne.vic.gov.au.