Things to do in Brisbane

Live Music in Brisbane

Brisbane is a sun-drenched city where the laid-back vibes are as catchy as the beats pulsating from within its live music venues.

From large stages to intimate ones, Brisbane’s music scene is a vibrant and diverse community of music lovers. With unforgettable nights filled with shared joy and new friendships, appreciating sonic awesomeness is one of many things to do in Brisbane under the Queensland sky.

Like us, these hot spots march to the sound of their own drum — so expect the unexpected.

If you prefer the heart-thumping bass of an underground club or the provocative sounds of dive bar indie rock, Brisbane’s music venues will definitely have what you're looking for.

Fortitude Valley

Welcome to Fortitude Valley, Brisbane’s entertainment hub and go-to spot for an electrifying adventure. We find the draw of Fortitude Valley irresistible because the music never stops, and every night holds the promise of a new musical discovery.

1. The Tivoli Theatre

Lights flicker, a hush falls, and whispers turn to roars as The Tivoli Theatre's stage explodes with tonight’s performance. More than a concert hall. This is a living, breathing part of Brisbane’s soul. The Tiv, as locals call it, was once a bakery. It was reborn in 1988 to honor Parisian cabaret and celebrate the folly of live music and art.

Under these historic arches, you can discover rising Aussie stars alongside global masters. Rocking out on this stage, where many music legends played before, feeds the next generation's imaginations and ambitions.

Music history unfolds all around you. Witness it anywhere within, from the plush seating of the balcony to the heart of the crowd downstairs.

Photographer: Lachlan Douglas

2. The Zoo

The Zoo in Brisbane was born in 1992. Designed initially as a four-floor apartment building and revitalized as a live music warehouse, The Zoo is one of the city’s go-to venues for melodious and thumping tunes, rhythmic dancing, and unforgettable moments.

This venue was created with the idea that Brisbane needed a rebellious space where talent could flourish. Past acts include the Pixies, Nick Cave and the Dirty Three, Lorde, and Powderfinger.

3. Ric’s Bar

If you’re not into sterile concert halls and manicured crowds, head to Ric’s bar. Brisbane’s thriving indie scene shines here in all its unfiltered glory. Each mismatched piece of furniture and band poster tells a story — not a story of polished perfection, but one of the raw feelings that spark creativity.

Music spills out into a fairy-lit, thronging crowd five nights per week. The Chats, Tones, and The Mayhem County Boys honed their craft here, and new bands always come through. Cheap eats and killer drinks keep the never-ending party going. It’s real, authentic, and not for the faint-hearted.

4. Black Bear Lodge

Leave the clamor of The Valley behind, ascend a hidden staircase, and enter Black Bear Lodge. A tangle of antlers oversees the dimly lit room, and the smell of whiskey and beer mingles with weathered wood. If you, like us, are moved by the promise of seeing a band on the cusp of breaking, it’s a sanctuary.

Who comes here? Music mavericks are ready to chant along with the punk snarl of bands such as the Sewers or Shifting Sands. Equally, Black Bear calls to anyone compelled by the haunting vulnerability of Jacob Fitzgerald or Alex Edwards. Come here to support the grit and wide-eyed passion before the world catches on.

5. The Brightside

Vibrant street art adorns every wall at The Brightside. Here, you aren’t an individual standing among other individuals. You’re part of something profoundly connected, where barriers break down.

Everyone is united by a passion for hardcore riffs, the hypnotic groove of psych rock, or the disobedient howl of punk. It’s Brisbane’s musical soul laid bare. Rock up and catch musical acts, such as BIGMOO, Pig&Dan, and Sanguisugabogg.

Even when bands aren’t playing, music lovers convene to celebrate their favorites. Perhaps you’ll witness an epic 2Pac vs. Biggie rap battle. Or, get immersed in an entire night devoted to the corrupted beauty of Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence. Leave with your jeans torn, sticky shoes, and a voice hoarse from singing, feeling utterly liberated.

6. The Valley Drive-In

With concrete underfoot and an open sky above, The Valley Drive-In is as wild as it gets. This isn’t a luxurious outing by any means, but rather a high-energy adventure filled with mosh pits in the rain, scraped knees, and a tightly packed crowd.

It’s Brisbane live music at its most primal, and the small space captures the band's energy unlike anything else. If you crave a chaotic, out-of-this-world loud night of rock and roll abandon, The Valley Drive-In is calling your name.

7. Greaser

Just off The Valley’s main drag, Greaser Bar's neon beacon promises refuge from the ordinary. The outside world melts away down a secret laneway and a set of unassuming concrete stairs. Breathe in the smoky scent of fried chicken. Before you know it, a guitar riff sets your pulse racing.

Elbows jostle at the bar, laughter erupts around the room, and the walls are lined with rockabilly relics. Grab a cold one and a burger, and prepare for a night of mayhem. Far away from the sensible world above, let yourself move, shake, and scream in time with a live band.

Hear the rumble of bass echo through the cavernous space and feel the comfort of being surrounded by like-minded folks.

8. The Wickham

The Wickham's live entertainment is a Valley icon that gleams brighter than ever after this spot's 2023 transformation. Beneath the polish beats a heart steeped in history and a stage where tomorrow’s headliners cut their teeth.

Here, workers clad in business suits hang out with fans in band tees, and artists meld with accountants. The crowd, an ever-changing cast, is drawn by the promise of seeing something deeply evocative unfold before their eyes.

West End

We can’t help but feel a kinship with the West End’s spirit of unhindered creativity and expression. Street performers sing outside vintage boutiques overflowing with quirky treasures, and colorful murals transform almost every wall into an open-air gallery.

9. The Bearded Lady

Step into The Bearded Lady, and the world tilts slightly off-kilter. Street art characters watch over you from the walls, and worn wood hints at countless late nights of spilled secrets and floor-stomping.

Expect the unexpected — with punk rock energy one night and intimate jazz the next. A tattooed sideshow performer, burlesque dancers with intricate costumes, and the weathered hands of a blues guitarist have all graced this welcoming stage.

It’s a glorious collision of highbrow and lowbrow, and every subculture has a starring role. At The Bearded Lady, misfits, and music lovers feel understood, seen, and bound by love for the unconventional.

10. West Room

Stumble upon West Room, an intimate venue in a quiet West End laneway. With a stage barely bigger than the band rocking out on it and an exquisite sound system, you feel like part of the action.

The air thrums with an intimacy unique to performers and their audiences. Indie darlings, punk rockers, and bands that defy genre grace this stage. It doesn't have any frills or VIP sections. You just stand shoulder to shoulder in appreciation of art and talent.

West Room reminds you why you fell in love with music in the first place: To feel the warm glow of an otherworldly connection forged between an artist and their community.

Central Business District

Skyscrapers within the Brisbane CBD reflect the Queensland sunshine, casting long shadows over pub gardens and bustling plazas. The purposeful footsteps of daytime give way to illuminated concert halls and trendy bars at night. What are you waiting for? Put on your favorite outfit and prepare for an evening of culture.

11. Riverstage

Brisbane City Council’s Riverstage is an open-air arena bathed in starlight and set against the backdrop of the City Botanic Gardens. Countless legends from all genres and corners of the world have left their mark here.

Crowds have felt the euphoria of singing Macklemore anthems in unison. They’ve felt the unbridled energy of Bring Me The Horizon wash over them, the cheers of the crowd blending with the music’s heartbeat. And they’ve closed their eyes as Teddy Swims’ soulful voice painted a picture of heartache and resilience.

Here, Brisbane’s love of music explodes into the mainstream in all its thrilling glory. Goosebumps, as you see your favorite act, are practically guaranteed. Memories will be made and friendships forged.

12. Brooklyn Standard

Shimmy through the doorway of Brooklyn Standard and enter a realm of vintage elegance furnished with the wonder of live music. Faded photos of music legends line the walls, illuminated by soft lighting.

Friends sit around dark wooden tables, sipping creative cocktails, such as High Noon Iced Tea and Patient Pineapple. The draft beer list is reassuringly long and features iconic coldies, such as Mountain Goat IPA and Heads of Noosa Japanese Style Lager.

A low chatter of voices might give way to the first soulful notes of L.R. Marsh or the indie-country jangle of The Buckleys. The venue champions both local stars and internationally renowned acts.

It’s not defined by a genre, just a love of sharing great music with the world. Escape to an intimate performance here, and leave with the lingering sense of witnessing something that only happens once.

South Bank

South Brisbane is full of breezy open-air bars and wide promenades. Here, revelry and relaxation are prioritized in equal measure, and the worries of the world melt away.

13. Queensland Performing Arts Centre

Just off Grey Street, in South Brisbane, you’ll find the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Reality surrenders to sorcery within the pristine walls of this venue for musicals, operas, ballets, and orchestral performances.

You might come for a spellbinding concert by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and feel the music’s emotion send shivers down your spine. Perhaps you’ll witness the blend of music and peak human performance at a fantastical production conjured by the Queensland Ballet.


We believe in pushing the boundaries of possibility, and Newstead is alive with the spirit of innovation. Warehouses meet trendy apartments in this playground for the city’s trendsetters.

14. The Triffid

The Triffid’s Live Room is a former World War II aircraft hangar reborn as a haven for Brisbane’s alternative music scene. Its industrial design complements a state-of-the-art sound system.

Come here to feel pounding rhythms reverberate through the room as a joyous gathering of bodies moves in time with the instruments on stage. The boundaries of genres are blurred, and unfiltered passion takes the spotlight.

Guttural cries of heavy metal from Katatonia, the futuristic jazz rhythms of Sungazer, and Botch’s mathcore sounds all find a home here. It’s a testament to the resilient spirit of rock 'n' roll — and proof it’s alive and well.

Kangaroo Point

Historic buildings stand proudly beside parks and cliffs in Kangaroo Point, a scenic retreat just a ferry ride from the CBD. During the holiday season, this area kicks off the stunning Brisbane Christmas Lights Trail through the Berrinba Wetlands, but music is a highlight here all year round.

15. Brisbane Jazz Club

At Brisbane Jazz Club, melodies swirl like ice in a whiskey glass. History echoes, and your soul sways in time to the music’s emotion.

From its origins as a riverside boathouse, this space has evolved into a hallowed space where jazz enthusiasts from all backgrounds come together. Welcoming programming, such as Jazz Singers’ Jam Nights, offers aspiring performers a supportive stage.

Seasoned legends can share their knowledge in intimate master classes and workshops. Here, passionate musicians connect, the audience discovers the myriad of journeys jazz can take them on, and a timeless art form is celebrated with every note.

Encore Awaits: Celebrating Brisbane's Live Music Venues

The curtain call approaches, but the music never ends. As the encore’s final notes fade, applause subsides, and the lights go down. But Brisbane’s streets are still humming.

There’s always a late-night spot for karaoke in Brisbane or a dive bar to keep the party going. This energy and an insatiable love for life make the city a captivating destination for music lovers.

Brisbane’s vibrant energy and its relentless passion for music and the arts make it a natural home for us. For lovers of music, our shows in Brisbane are unmissable. Ready to witness gravity-warping stories taking flight and the impossible shimmering with joie de vivre?

More articles about