A savagely honest guide to Perth’s live music venues

I asked a lot of people how they feel about our live music venues. This is the definitive verdict. 

BY Isobel Armstrong.

The Bird

Regarded in many circles as the epitome of pretentious Perth hipster haunts, The Bird is a veteran. You will never find a seat. Your children will never find a seat. Your great-great grandchildren will never find a seat. If you do find a seat, a rail-thin bearded and bespectacled specimen wrought with edgy stick and pokes will grab it and tell you it’s taken. Much like the texture of every Sly Fox-sculling shaven head, The Bird is best described as initially uncomfortable yet overall, satisfying.

Pros: Proximity to Chinese food, $5 Sly Fox, objectively Cool and Hot people
Cons: Heavily increased chance of emphysema, zero personal space
Outdoor undercover area: Two dysfunctional gazebos in winter
Smoking AND drinking: Almost compulsory
Best time to go: SLY FOX WEDNESDAY
Bonus points: The one couch, also pool table


Mojo’s Bar

Arguably the best live music venue in the city (or not, if you live in Fremantle and still insist Fremantle is not part of Perth. Shove your kombucha up your ass, it is.) I say arguably because a small yet vocal minority insist it’s the worst due to that pretentious kombucha guzzling glitter wearing crowd itself. Mojo’s is brilliant if you want to get very drunk, having dancing space AND talking space alongside lovely staff- but also if you want to encounter a series of 17 year olds who are way hotter, way cooler and way more alternative than you will ever be due to a certain “secret” entrance. Remember when you were drinking a LOL on the bus home from school listening to Skrillex on your iPod Nano? These kids were taking nude disposables and experimenting with the micro-fringe. Get with it.

Pros: Hot hippies, so much weed stench you can’t tell where it’s coming from
Cons: At least a $40 Uber or a long ass train ride that is definitely attended by transit guards
Best time to go: Events on Fridays/Saturdays with a big Facebook attendance
Outdoor undercover area: Vine-covered trellis, does not keep rain out, let’s people climb in
Smoking AND drinking: Yes
Bonus points: Massive adjacent carpark with heavy foliage for hiding wine bottles in



If you tell anyone you are going to Babushka, they will ask you where it is, or what it is, and you will explain its wedged delicately upstairs between Leederville Grill’d and the 9th circle of hell (Blue Flamingo/Bills/The Garden). The main input I received about Babushka from band members and band watchers alike is that it definitively sucks because the staff are rude as hell. Slap a kitschy word on it and call it classic Leederville!

Pros: Booth seats
Cons: Mean staff, big staircase, no actual stage
Outdoor undercover area: Tiny stairwell, you will be asked by staff to move out of the way (there is nowhere to move).
Smoking AND drinking: Usually no
Best time to go: When you’re feeling like a masochist
Bonus points: Nice murals?


The Rosemount

Several stages at the Rosemount make it ideal for the more common mini-festival type events we’ve seen recurring as of late. The bouncers are notorious- get your I.D. out before they see you rummaging or you will have to go to Thirsty Camel and skull two bottles of water. There is always a massive variety of patrons thanks to the massive variety of genres Rosemount indulges and the food + new renovation is amazing. Potential for a big smash one day between hip hop and psych rock fans. Would pay to see.

Pros: Seemingly endless space, entry without having to pay for the live music if on a budget
Cons: Strong bogan presence, regularly approached by meth dealers
Best time to go: New Year’s Eve, long weekends, One Day Sundays, etc.
Outdoor undercover area: One shitty gazebo. Do NOT go in rainy weather if you smoke or are out with smokers.
Smoking AND drinking: Yes
Bonus points: Thirsty Camel directly outside


Jimmy’s Den

Perhaps the most music-focused live music venue in Perth, Jimmy’s Den is/was the bane of my existence. I’ve been informed it closed down but the website is still up. It’s like the designers wanted you to have to go inside a large, empty, dark room, sit on the floor and actually watch the gig? There is no escape in Jimmy’s Den. You can’t talk to anyone, you can’t see anyone, and the only chance for air is back down the endless stairway to Northbridge just in time to be bowled over by some girls in floral playsuits beelining from the Brass Monkey to the kebab shop across the road. This is a relatively ironic complaint, and it’s not one that is shared by many people I know. I’m sorry Jimmy’s Den, but this is the 21st century and I don’t have the attention span.

Pros: Good genre variation
Cons: All of the above
Best time to go: If you REALLY want to see the act
Outdoor undercover area: None. ITS JUST A DARK ROOM.
Smoking AND drinking: Not in the slightest
Bonus points: They really do care about ~~the experience~~?


Jack Rabbit Slims

Everyone hates Jack Rabbit Slims. I am yet to determine on what basis, but everyone hates it, and everyone goes anyway. Is it the line? Is it the crowd size? Is it the weird voyeuristic cage? Is it Kevin Parker’s DJ sets? No, it’s probably just because it was deemed the Cool New Place for 5 minutes and now it’s frowned upon in circles of Higher Partying. The drinks are delicious, if a little questionable due to the branding team’s ongoing obsession with representing almost any aspect of American pop culture ever to fill the void of an aesthetic pop culture we lack. Pulp Fiction, the deep south, Marlborough, Budweiser, Springsteen. Pick your buzzword and live out your deeply disconnected fantasy in the heart of Perth city.

Pros: Open late, seemingly lax entry to the green room
Cons: Nobody can put their finger on it… it’s a vibe
Best time to go: Saturday, the half hour in line is free!
Outdoor undercover area: No
Smoking AND drinking: No
Bonus points: Nice park for escaping in



Capitol is wrought with the stench of Hugo Boss and the floor is always sticky. I refuse to say a bad word about Amplifier. Don’t go too often or the magic wears off- but once you get sick of psych rock, you will enjoy this.

Cons: Widely perceived as basic
Best time to go: After 12
Outdoor undercover area: The BEST one
Smoking AND drinking: Yes
Bonus points: Open until 5AM-ish

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