27 Mar 2019

On any day of the week, there’s a bucketload of live music happening across the city. Some of it kicks off early with original artists setting up shop in cafes and farmers’ markets and some of it is family-friendly taking place in night markets such as Miami Marketta, conveniently wrapping up by 10.00pm.

But the best of it is tucked into some interesting pockets of the city, some of it in the middle of Surfers Paradise and Southport, which will soon become a Special Entertainment Precinct for live music, and some of it a little most obscure. Here’s the best spots to catch live music on the Gold Coast in 2019.


Right in the middle of Surfers Paradise, up two flights of now iconic stairs, elsewhere has long been the breeding ground for incredible Australian and International talent. As well as the Gold Coast’s best emerging acts (who regularly sell the venue out), this family-owned venue also hosts touring artists such as Amy Shark, Major Leagues, Polish Club, Fairchild, Chastity Belt, Client Liaison, PACES, The Belligerents and Vera Blue as well as local rock royalty like Aquila Young, Darkcell, Tesla Coils, Ivey, Peach Fur, Donny Love and Th’Fika.

What sets elsewhere apart from other live music venues is that once the amps are turned down, the crowd does a 180 degree turn from stage to dancefloor with all eyes on the DJ booth. elsewhere has always delivered the perfect combination of ear-bleeding guitars and late night dance music. It’s also a very short stumble from the Cavil Ave G:link station. That’s a win-win in my books.


Long the haunt of touring punk bands and local indie garage acts, Shark Bar, located in the Miami Tavern is an absolute institution for Gold Coast music fans, delivering good times and ringing ears for four decades. Right on the beach, with pool tables at the back of its live music space, Shark Bar has hosted the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Ball Park Music, WAAX, Bec Sandridge, Skegss, DZ Deathrays, Grinspoon, The Meanies, Bleeding Knees Club and Bleach Girls in recent years with a seemingly endless supply of incredible touring talent constantly being booked. You can literally slide from the beach to the mosh pit here, with Shark Bar just across the road from North Burleigh Surf Club.


Located in Burleigh’s industrial precinct, Mo’s Desert Clubhouse is one part live music venue and one part creative warehouse space. You’re just as likely to find macramé sessions here as you are to find an album launch for your new favourite indie rock band. Operated by three passionate community builders, Mo’s is one of the Gold Coast’s best kept secrets with monthly movie nights, markets and yoga all included in the programming mix. But of course, it’s the music which gets me most excited. Bands like Little Georgia, Hobo Magic, Dubarray, Cheap Fakes, Stonefield and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have all hit Mo’s in the past couple of months.


Operating for more than 15 years, Soundlounge has hosted all kinds of genres from hip-hop to punk, classical and jazz. Located right on the banks of the Currumbin Creek and a stone’s throw from the burgeoning dining scene at Palm Beach and the eclectic creative offerings of Currumbin Creek Road, Soundlounge was the inaugural winner of Venue of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards and past visitors have included Sarah Blasko, Angus & Julia Stone, Passenger, Violent Soho, Boy & Bear, Eric Bibb, Emma Louise, Kate Miller – Heidke, J Mascis, Tijuana Cartel, Taylor, Karl S Williams, In Hearts Wake and literally hundreds more.


Image credit: Leisure Lane Photography

The city’s newest live music venue, Vinnies Dive Bar is located right on the light rail line in Southport and while only open for a short period of time, has already made a name for itself as a venue for loud rock, punk and noise. With its iconic pink neon sign, and unassuming exterior, Vinnies is a welcome addition to the city’s fast-growing live music scene. Since launching just a few months ago, they’ve already played host to Glitoris, No Fun At All, The Daisycutters, Lotus Ship, The Flangipanis, Port Royal and Hot Wax and Guttermouth.


Image credit: Leigh Kelly

Otherwise known as The Coolangatta Hotel, The Cooly is one of the city’s longest running music venues. With an alumni of acts including Pennywise, Shihad, Death By Stereo, Radio Birdman, Dallas Crane, The Hard-Ons, The Grates, You Am I, Frenzal Rhomb, Dead Letter Circus, The Panis, and hundreds more and while there was a short hiatus on live music for a while, the bandroom is back with a heap of fine acts booked over coming months.

If you want to know what’s on when for Gold Coast music, pop on over to the Blank Gold Coast gig guide at blankgc.com.au/goldcoastgigguide.

Narelle Bouveng
Narelle Bouveng

A local Gold Coast mum and well-travelled Australian travel writer, Narelle has over 21 years’ experience wandering and chooses to call Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast home. A sunrise and sunset regular, you will often find her juggling a coffee and her camera, snapping for her blog and family travel inspired Instagram @alittleatlarge while youngest daughter Tiah frolics alongside.


Destination Gold Coast acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. 
We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout Southeast Queensland.