The Death Of Live Bands In Sydney – The Hidden Cause

The Death Of Live Bands In Sydney – The Hidden Cause

The Sydney live music scene is nothing to what it once was. The scene was once vibrant and thriving, but these days the opportunity to see bands performing live has become rare.

Why is this?

Is it because of…

  • Poker machines in pubs?
  • Restrictive licensing laws?
  • Strict laws for the responsible service of alcohol?

While I agree that these 3 factors  have made contributions to the demise of the Sydney live music scene, I will demonstrate in this article that the real reason is  Sydney’s addiction to coffee.

Let’s go back in the Slide McBride Time Machine to the 1980’s, when Sydney’s live music scene was in it’s heyday. Band’s careers were fostered from a consistency of being able to play five nights per week. The Angels, The Divinyls, Mental As Anything, Misex, The Hoodoo Gurus and Midnight Oil were all playing gigs from Tuesday through to Sunday. The Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘gig guide’ would list around 70 bands playing around town at the many venues that offered live entertainment. Original bands, cover bands, jazz bands and even bush bands kept Sydney entertained through these Golden Years of Entertainment.

Sydney’s Coffee Addiction

This is hard for today’s generation to fathom, but coffee used to be a late night/evening drink rather than an early morning pick-me-up. If you went to see a band, movie or show you went out for coffee afterwards, at 11pm. For example, back in my student days, I played in a band every Friday night at the Victoria Hotel, Annandale. Typically, friends would come and see the band and then after the gig we’d all go up to Newtown for coffee. We’d sit around drinking coffee until 1am, then go off home to bed (and to sleep).

Oh, how times have changed…

Nowadays, every morning you see the majority of Sydney supping on their caffeine addiction. It’s become the modern day heart-starter, but good luck if you want to get a coffee after 3pm. The barista will look at you like you are a freak and say, “Sorry, we’ve turned the machine off”.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Coffee is a stimulant. That’s why we all love drinking it so much. In the morning, everyone’s powering along from that buzz they got from their latte, flat white or long black. Subsequently, when the evening comes we’re all feeling a little tired. The majority of people are fading in the evenings because they’re coming down from their morning coffee high. The consequence of all this is that in the mornings, you may be saying, “let’s go out tonight”, but once  home from work it becomes, “I’m feeling a bit tired and I have to work again tomorrow”.

This is the real cause of the death of the Sydney live music scene.

My band plays at the Woollahra Hotel one Thursday night each month. The band plays from7:30pm until 10:30pm. You could hardly call this a late finish, yet the common thing I hear from people is, “Oh, it’s a bit late for a week night”.

Come on Sydney!

Get the monkey off your back and start living again. Let’s put  pressure on the baristas of this town to keep their espresso machines running into the afternoons and evenings. Use the buzz you get from coffee to energise your social life rather than your working life! No more morning coffees. From now on, only drink coffee AFTER 3pm.

The Death Of Live Bands In Sydney - The Hidden Cause
Long Black To Go


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