The Ultimate Guide To Melbourne Music Week

There's A LOT to choose from.

Brought to you by Melbourne Music Week

Melbourne Music Week is a nine-day celebration of the city’s thriving, world-renowned music scene.

Melbourne Music Week is coming back to Australia’s cultural capital (sorry, Sydney!) from 17-25 November, 2017. Masterminded by the City of Melbourne, the whirlwind program includes performances, talks and special events all over town. The venues include the MMW Hub at St Paul’s Cathedral and its adjoining car park, a reading room at the State Library, and even Melbourne’s iconic trams.

For those nine days and nights, every corner of the city will be buzzing with music. With so much going on across all tastes and genres, you’re going to need a solid plan. To help with those hard decisions, we’ve narrowed down 12 standout events.

Photo: Kutcha Edwards/ Shot by Mardi Thorpe

Opening night with Kutcha Edwards and MUKI

MMW is getting started right with a free event at The Carpark. Following a Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony, indigenous singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards will showcase the talent that won him the 2016 Melbourne Prize for Music. Also on the bill is rising Sydney electronic pop act MUKI, fresh off a national support tour for Client Liaison.

Photo: Baker Boy/Supplied

Join in the noise at Live At The Steps

Live At The Steps brings together some of Australia’s most buzzed-about bands for a free, all-ages celebration at Treasury Gardens. The lineup, co-presented by the tastemakers at triple j Unearthed, includes Byron Bay upstarts Skegss along with Tired Lion, Mallrat and Baker Boy. This one’s a guaranteed good time.

Photo: Sharon Jones/Supplied

I’m Still Here: A Celebration of Miss Sharon Jones

The music world lost a true original with the passing of Miss Sharon Jones last year. The soul queen was always a huge hit on her tours to Melbourne with the Dap-Kings, and this night will celebrate her memory. A huge and accomplished local cast, including members of The Bamboos and Cookin’ On 3 Burners, will take the stage at John Curtin Hotel for a Sharon Jones-inspired soul revue. 

Photo: Sundelin/Supplied

DJ Hell and friends at The Cathedral

Who could resist the temptation of DJ Hell in a gothic cathedral? The German icon behind the International Deejay Gigolo label will be right at home in this grand space. The party, presented in conjunction with Stable Music, also features the hometown congregation of Honeysmack, DJ Kiti, Acid Safari and Sundelin. Expect to hear electro, techno, new wave and disco deep into the morning.

Photo: Maribelle/Supplied

Maribelle, MUTO and more play for Pilerats

There’s a lot of free MMW action going down at Jack Daniel’s Barrel House on Crown Riverwalk. One of the standout events is curated by the Pilerats collective, who’ve tapped two of Australia’s rising stars to play: singer/producer/label boss Maribelle and electronic whiz MUTO. They’ll go down well with a whiskey cocktail.

Photo: Ariel Pink/Supplied

Ariel Pink at Melbourne Recital Centre

This one’s a fascinating match-up: pop provocateur Ariel Pink in the pristine acoustics of the Melbourne Recital Centre. Known for his off-kilter, theatrical shows, the prolific LA artist recently released his 11th studio album, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, to glowing reviews. He’s certainly got a lot of material to draw on at MMW, so expect a set list with many surprising turns.

Photo: Chapter House/Supplied

Soak up the sounds of Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks mania spiked again this year with the return of the iconic TV series. If you’re still hoping to unlock the puzzle of the new season, you can chat it out with other David Lynch super-fans at this free event, located at Alpha60’s Chapter House space. Members of Melbourne band Pearls and others will pay homage to Twin Peaks with live synth performances. (Cross your fingers for a damn fine cup of coffee too.)

Photo: Beatrice/Supplied

Punk-inspired electronica at Live Music Safari

Live Music Safari is a consistent highlight of MMW, as 11 of the city’s best venues host free gigs. This year’s Safari lineup is all-killer again, with the overarching theme of celebrating 40 years of punk. There’s something for all tastes going on, but Section 8’s showcase of avant-garde electronica is definitely worth a look, with prolific local producer Herzeloyde leading the night’s weird and wonderful sounds.

Photo: Sampa The Great/ Shot by Modu Sesay

Sampa The Great headlines The Cathedral  

One of the brightest talents on the Australian music scene, Sampa The Grea,t is having a very busy 2017. The singer-songwriter is coming to MMW fresh from a tour of the U.K. and Europe, which included warm-up duties for Joey Badass. She’ll take the marquee spot at The Cathedral, playing recent tracks like ‘Everybody’s Hero’ and ‘Rhymes To The East’. Make sure to get there early to catch Fortunes. and The Harpoons on support.

Photo: Masego/Supplied

The Operatives turn 13 with Masego

The Operatives are one of Melbourne’s hardest-working party crews, bringing out a dizzying number of artists over the years. To celebrate their 13th year on the scene, The Operatives have secured the Australian debut of ‘Trap House Jazz’ specialist Masego. The super-talented headliner is joined at the MMW Hub by Haiku Hands, the full Silentjay live band, and more Operatives picks.

Photo: Mallrat/Supplied

Talk it out with Face The Music

Returning for its 10th year, Face the Music will host a contemporary music summit at MMW that delves into the big questions facing the music industry. The jam-packed program features everything from a keynote conversation with Ariel Pink, to a panel on why the industry struggles when it comes to people of colour, and a talk about future industry leaders with panellists including Mallrat and Georgia Cooke. Plus, there’s a whole host of live performances from artists including Chippy Nonstop, Kirin J Callinan, Press Club and more.

Photo: Jacques Greene/Supplied

A final dance with Jacques Greene and co.

Montreal-based house producer Jacques Greene is the perfect choice for closing night at The Cathedral. After a string of warm, textured productions and remixes, Greene delivered his stellar debut album, Feel Infinite, this year. He’ll send MMW out on a high with the help of Melbourne export Banoffee and more party-starters.

Feature Image: Chippy Nonstop/Supplied

Every November, Melbourne Music Week takes over Victoria’s coolest city with a must-see program of performances, talks, conferences and more. Book your tickets here.