Too cool or not too cool? That is the question.

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By Lillie Almond

“Oh not that place. It’s just so commercial!” The cool kids are forever looking for the next big thing, aren’t they? Yet what’s interesting about that “big thing” in Melbourne, is that nobody ever knows where it is. Of course, this is usually a downfall when you’re hunting for a messy, yet niche night out- so we’re here to give a helping hand. Nice huh?

The Corner Hotel has been a magnet to the rawest talent since the 1940’s. An unsuspecting venue to passers-by, The Corner recently revamped its look, yet most certainly maintained its talent. Based in Richmond, The Corner describes itself as a “rock venue”, yet when gazing through its star-studded gig history, this “rock” label just feels insufficient. We’re not talking old-school dusty vinyls or glitter-wearing head-smashing rock stars here. Think of fresh sound yet to find its international acclaim- and if you’re anything like The Corner, you think of Grimes in 2012- yes, you cool kids, this was before she was “main-stream”, get in!

You won’t find a gig fresher than Grimes’ pre-Meredith performance at The Corner Hotel. Now an internationally renowned headliner, Grimes performances at The Corner sold out at electric speed. So, here’s a heads up to book online if planning on visiting this timeless venue. Why not after all? The Corner hosts both the underground and the very, very overground – from the priceless (more like $2,500 per ticket) attendances of Mick Jagger and Crowded House, to cheeky beat-dropping names such as James Blake.

Perhaps The Corner Hotel’s T-shirt and key-ring merchandise approach is just not exclusive enough for you though. Never fear. The real low-down is hidden in Kensington. Revolt is so rare a gem among the dog-eared clubs of Melbourne, that it is relentlessly confused with Revolver (a late-nighter) with which it is most definitely not associated. The venue is too easily missed, nestled in the industrial-feeling Younghusband Factory. Being an all-round arts centre, it is a hub of underground culture, yet you really do have to know about it to find it.

Don’t you feel special now? Wait until you step inside and have to refrain from parading like one of Melbourne’s rare elite secret-keepers. Revolt is hireable for independent events, so can operate into the surreptitious morning hours. Strongly affiliated with its Underground Collective, it poignantly represents the “arty” North of city. Frankly, I feel guilty for telling you about it- is it too late to put the Revolt-kitty back in the bag?

If however you’re after an inevitable late-night venue with no hefty price-tag, advanced planning, or precious secrecy, Revolver in Prahran is a no-brainer. Its trashy over-flaunted name is iconic on trendy Chapel Street. Artistically it plays contest to its niche all-night competitor, Tramp, and is much more affordable. With entry from zero to 15 dollars, Revolver has an anything goes vibe and guaranteed to be spewing out creatures of the night for their 8am recovery breakfast (or should I say dinner?)

The venue is all about the music. Yes, Revolver hosts live bands and a host of varying genre nights- yet Tramp hosts House. Finally, a venue in Melbourne that ticks so very many enticing boxes. We’re talking resident and international house, a mischievous underground feel (under strip-club, to be precise) and opening hours you associate with groggy morning alarms. Yet there is nothing groggy about Tramp. Hidden deep below the city centre on King Street, Tramp ensures you lose track of time. It is indeed painful that Tramp has hosted a Geordie Shore party- it is even more painful the venue feels the need to produce its own range of trashy and overpriced merchandise. Yet, without a Trampy souvenir, how else are you going to remember that messy morning that ran all the way into Sunday lunch?

From underground basement to storey high sass, we bring you The Toff. Keep your nose high- it’s located above sister club, Cookie. The place can be tricky to find. It’s situated at the top of Curtin House, Swanston Street. With tamer closing hours (3am weekdays, 5am weekends), Toff hosts the likes of The Cat Empire, and offers entry from free to ticketing prices (depending on the act) and that’s just if you chose to visit the live music side of the venue. The bar side of the venue spins sultry beats and is open for all at no cost.

Save the best ‘til last? I leave the decision as to if The Espy, at 135 years of age and 15,981 facebook likes and counting, is the best. An unstoppable live music venue every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, the tatty character of the venue is lovable and the eclectic variety of artists is relentless. My advice is to end that trampy, revolting (though hopefully not revolving) weekend with a chilled scooner at The Espy. Weekend done.


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