By Joseph DeMarini
London. Berlin. Ibiza. These are the cities typically associated with advancing dance music around the world, but for some inexplicable reason Melbourne is often overlooked. With a few tightly knit groups of DJs and promoters, every weekend in Melbourne has something fun on offer in a variety of interesting clubs or bars—often with free entry if you arrive early enough! Here’s a quick rundown on the best venues and names to watch.
If you’re looking for quantity, CBD is the place to go—plenty of places hosting DJs every night. My personal favorites are Brown Alley and The Bottom End. Brown Alley is wonderful in warmer weather as there’s a top floor, open roof dance area. Even in winter, it’s nice to step out into the fresh air after exhausting yourself to some drum’n’bass on the indoor floors. The Bottom End is another great venue in the CBD, but it isn’t open as frequently as a few others because it’s usually reserved for larger acts. A few weeks ago I saw UK DJ Duke Dumont there, and the attention to visuals and sound quality were top notch! For a smaller setting, Boney isn’t a bad option, and there’s often no cover charge—plus, it’s open until 7 AM, which is a bit later than some of the other clubs, which makes it perfect for the hardcore partiers out there.
For those willing to adventure outside the city, I can’t recommend the Railway Hotel in Brunswick enough. It was the first dance venue I visited in Melbourne, and it’s still my favorite—especially in warm weather due to its large open-air dance floor. With drink and food specials daily and frequent free events (even on Sundays!), nothing quite compares. Another good standby is Revolver Upstairs in South Yarra, and this is where the dedicated dance-heads of Melbourne often end up; Revolver is open all weekend until sometime on Monday, so that’s where the party really never stops.
The best names to look for on event posters are The Boogie Beats Collective and The Melbourne Techno Collective. Both of these organizations put on some excellent shows with talented DJs from not only Melbourne and Australia in general, but also the occasional international star for a special set—I’ve never been disappointed with any gigs they’ve put on. There are several other organizations around Melbourne, and their shows are just as good, but not my style of music (drum’n’bass, for example); I love my house and techno.
It’s nearly the weekend, so now’s the time to start planning. The big events are MANDY at Brown Alley with The Boogie Beats Collective, and Bueno (held once a month and a personal go-to) at the Railway Hotel—they’re on Friday and Saturday, respectively. So strap on your dancing shoes, go out, and have a boogie!