In these crazy times of self-isolation that we currently inhabit, now more than ever we can all appreciate the joy and invigoration that live music brings into our lives. And while we’re all counting down the time till we once again get to see out favourite bands pumping it out in the flesh, let’s take a look at the six venues nominated for ‘Live venue of the year’, each of which that took live music on the Gold Coast to a whole new level over the past 12 months… and will do so again soon.
Affectionately known at ‘The Cooly’, this iconic Gold Coast venue has continued to reinvent itself and remain relevant on the live music scene across decades. Over the past 12 months, its spacious 600 capacity confines has played host to a stack of top shelf local and international acts, including punk rock legends CJ Ramone, Bodyjar and 28 Days, garage rock royalty Radio Birdman and The Stems, roots rockers Catchafire and The Beautiful Girls and classic rock illuminati Jon Stevens, The Black Sorrows, Thirsty Merc and hard rockers The Poor.
Since opening its door in 2003, Elsewhere, situated in the heart of Surfers Paradise, has been a ‘finger on the pulse’ live music hangout for disciples of in-the-now sounds. I can still vividly recall the thrill of catching legendary US garage-psych exponents Thee Oh Sees there a few years back, and chatting with front man John Dwyer who was hanging out in the venue prior to their set. It’s that type of venue.
2019 saw the venue diversify its repertoire further with the launch of multiple live music nights, including ‘Common Concept’, the brain child of Gold Cost band IVEY (who themselves are in the running for the ‘Breakout artist of the year’ award.) And its intimate 250 capacity played host to the cream of the Gold Coast’s burgeoning live music scene, with everyone from DVNA, Tesla Coils, Cakes as well as many of the bands nominated for this year’s GCMAs all performing there over the past 12 months.
HOTA (Home Of The Arts)
While the Gold Coast Arts Centre has long been a bastion of cultural innovation on the Gold Coast, its recent re-branding as HOTA, Home of the Arts has seen it step up to become a major player on the Gold Coast live music scene.
2019 saw it partner with Graham ‘Asho’ Ashton of Footstomp Music to deliver a contemporary music program par excellence, supported by a range of venue options both large scale and intimate. The launch of ‘The Lakeside Sessions’ in conjunction with the spectacular Outdoor Stage saw a stack of respected artists of the calibre of Baker Boy, Nick Cave (In Conversation), Busby Marou, James Morrison and Kate Miller Heidke perform there, as well as specially curated events such as Tim Roger’s Liquid Nights At Bohemian Heights. While ‘Fridays On The Lawn’, in conjunction with the intimate Basement venue, allowed up and coming acts to showcase their wares.
Mo’s Desert Clubhouse
Self-described as ‘a venue by artists, for artists’, over the past three years Mo’s Desert Clubhouse has risen up from a cutting edge, underground initiative to a fully-fledged performance space without sacrificing one iota of its unique charm. The venue undertook a major upgrade of its facilities during 2019 and a total focus on original live music across a range of diverse genres saw over 130 shows take place, including memorable performances from local legends such as Karl Williams, Black Rabbit George and Baltimore Gun Club.
Also renowned for championing the realm of all ages shows and children’s events, Mo’s truly is a venue for all of the people.
The Rompa Room
Located within the confines of The Hinterland Hotel in Nerang, 2019 saw the emergence of the newest player on the GC live music block in the form of The Rompa Room, which started putting on original live music on Friday and some Saturday nights. Catering for up and coming local acts as well as touring bands, it quickly gained traction as ‘the’ venue for discovering the best in new and happening sounds on the Coast, with at least seven new bands playing their debut show there.
Some of the cracking Gold Cost acts that featured at The Roma Room during 2019 included Tokyo Beef, The Goldhearts, The Wayward Suns and Atticus Chimps, to name but a few.
Self-described as ‘the musical heartbeat of the Southern Gold Coast’, the Currumbin Soundlounge is renowned as one of the friendliest and most vibrant venues for discerning music lovers of all persuasions.
And in 2019, ‘The Soundie’ heralded their 15 year anniversary of live music with a special celebration featuring performances by Tones & I, Sweater Curse, Bugs and Clea. The past twelve months also saw the venue diversify into the realm of live stand-up comedy, as well as putting on their first songwriting workshop with Canadian duo Tomato / Tomato.
And of course they continued to serve up an impressive array of musical talent, playing host to 55 shows from a diverse range of artists including Kyle Lionhart, Clare Bowditch, Tijuana Cartel, British India, Felicity Lawless, Dicklord, Rollerball, Lime Spiders as well as international acts such as Shonen Knife, Millencolin and Goldfinger.
We announce winners of this and nine other categories of the 2020 Gold Coast Music Awards on Thursday 30 April from 7.00pm. Get the viewing details at bit.ly/GCMA2020.