Be it belting drums, acoustic guitars, accordions or wistful indie pop, the live music scene in Cronulla is about to explode. Ahead of Sounds of the Suburbs, Australian Music Week and HiFi Days, Carla Grossetti checks out six of the best spots to catch a gig over the coming months.
The new improved edition of El Sol regularly attracts impromptu performances by some of Australia’s best session musicians. While the bar area was recently renovated and opened up, the space retains its colourful Mexican cantina vibe replete with skulls, dancing calacas (skeletons) and a shrine shared by Jesus and a maxi bottle of Cholula Hot Sauce. Co-owner Geoff Trio’s links to the music industry mean that some of the big-name touring acts make exclusive cameos here for the famous Sunday session. Pencil in Sol Fridays to enjoy music from the Motown archives and El Grande Sunday to see Terepai Richmond’s Funky Soul Allstars.
Shop 2, 40-42 The Kingsway, Cronulla Beach, ElSolMexican.com.au
Brass Monkey Cronulla
The Brass Monkey, which has a bit of a supper-club-meets-bordello vibe, books a steady stream of local and international acts to perform at the club where you can sit and enjoy everything from indie music to reggae, hip-hop, folk, rock, jazz and the blues. Heavy red velvet curtains, old-school gaming machines, framed posters from historic shows, and grungy ghosts from gigs past still haunt this atmospheric room. Shake up your restaurant routine and book dinner and a show in this Pokies-free zone, which is somewhat of a local’s secret.
Upcoming events: An Evening with Alex Lloyd on September 3, Grace Pitts (The Voice Australia) on September 10 and The Hot Potato Band on October 2.
115A Cronulla St, Cronulla, 02 9544 3844, brassmonkey.com.au
When locals learned that Code One Entertainment director Geoff Trio (who co-owns the Brass Monkey and El Sol with Jad Nahkle) was involved in booking bands at Sweaty Betty’s, they knew it would have a bit of that grunge-cool vibe the pair are renowned for. The place deserves to be trumpeted as a great venue for live gigs and is a great new nocturnal place to roost. It’s not just because it is hidden down a set of stairs in the basement of the Miranda RSL that Sweaty Betty’s feels a bit underground. Said vibe is also given a leg-up with the low lighting, pinball machines, pool tables and raucous rock bands. Expect acts such as The Lazy’s (October 17) to shake things up. Open Friday and Saturday nights.
615 Kingsway, Miranda 02 9525 0844, mirandarslclub.com.au
The Main Bar, Cronulla Golf Club
If you haven’t made it to The Greenery, the popular bistro at the new and improved Cronulla Golf Club, then you may as well do it when The Latin Ministry has taken over the space. While Richard Calabro is best known as the owner of cult cafe Grind Espresso, he also attracts a devoted following when he deploys his acoustic guitar. Lovers of Cuban salsa, Brazilian rhythms and smooth jazz will enjoy watching the three-piece band increase the tempo as the sets progress. The Latin Ministry will play in the main bar at The Greenery on September 5 and 26, October 24, November 28 and December 12. Brett Maxworthy (the Maxy’s) also flies solo for a free gig on the third Sunday of each month. In addition to the live music on at The Greenery, the food under executive chef Carl Jensen is casual bistro food at its best.
The Greenery, Cnr Hume and Elouera Roads, Cronulla, cronullagolf.com.au
Sounds of the Suburbs
Be one of the cool cats to score a ticket to Sounds of the Suburbs, the emerging music festival that will take over Wilbar Lane for the third year in a row on September 27. Forget the crush of a muddy mosh pit and out-of-control queues for the Portaloos. The festival is at capacity at 800, which means the comparatively modest crowds can dive headfirst into the hootenanny. Headliners this year include Brisbane band Holy Holy as well as international acts from LA, The Garden, White Fang and the Memories. Together, the crew from Space 44 and Brass Monkey Cronulla are expert party purveyors and they have curated an incredible lineup. Get amongst it. Sounds of the Suburbs will be held on September 27. Cost: $65.30.
Visit soundsofthesuburbs.com.au to buy tickets.
Australian Music Week and HiFi Days
The inaugural Australian Music Week gives music-lovers another opportunity to leap around to the sound of loud guitars with its presentation of HiFi Days. The all-ages gig at Gunnamatta Park will attract a diverse cross-section of the community with acts like UB40, The Bamboos, Hot Potato Band, Fripps & Fripps, The Snowdroppers, Caravana Sun and Phil Jamieson. Come ready to listen and learn in the week leading up to the festival during workshops, songwriting sessions and lectures on all aspects of the industry. Don’t miss a Q&A with co-founder of Lollapalooza, Ted Gardner (ex-manager Jane’s Addiction and Queens of the Stone Age) and a session with Stuart Coupe, of Laughing Outlaw Records.
Australian Music Week will be held from November 18-22. HiFiDays will be held on November 22.