If an international artist will play anywhere in Australia, it’s Sydney. While most will make it to Melbourne and Brisbane, it’s becoming increasingly common for musicians to announce a single Sydney date on a promo tour before jetting off to the next international locale. Consequently more out-of-towners are making the long-haul trek to Sydney to see their favourite bands and singers.

Sydney’s an exciting place to see live music, but with the highest cost of living in the country a musical holiday to the New South Wales capital can also be expensive. Living on the Central Coast, I regularly make the trip, so I wanted to share my budget-saving tips with you all.

Book Your Accommodation Early

You might be tempted to wait for a last-minute deal, but on big concert nights the earlier you book, the better. You’re competing for Sydney hotel rooms with music lovers from other states and across New South Wales, along with regular holidaymakers and businesspeople, so it’s easy to see why the best rooms fill quickly. I’ve noticed prices jump by $100 to $200 as concert dates near, so dilly-dallying doesn’t pay.

Don’t be Afraid to Compromise

Photo by Miller Wu via Trover.com

You might have your heart set on the Novotel Rockford right next to Qantas Credit Union Arena, but it’s not your only option. The light rail’s Paddy’s Market stop is right outside the venue, so you could easily book a hotel near any of its other stops. It also runs from Central Station, so you could also catch a train to Central from any other local station. This opens up more accommodation options which may be cheaper, especially closer to your show.

Hostels like Cambridge Lodge are also basic but clean, and they’ll do the job if you simply need a place to crash post-gig. If you don’t need frills, why pay for them?

Save on Pre-Gig Nosh

If you’re looking for a special meal before a show, by all means splash out on dinner at ARIA or Quay. But if you’d rather save your cash for merch, read on.

Circular Quay has some of the most expensive restaurants in the city, but it’s not the only option when you’re heading to the Opera House. If you aren’t fussed about the waterfront views, head to the Rocks. There are some great cafes and pubs serving up yummy meals for far less.

Darling Harbour is a popular choice for people heading to Qantas Credit Union Arena, but the meals are overpriced for what you get. You needn’t resort to the Macca’s next door though. Instead head a block back to Chinatown for affordable, authentic Asian cuisine.

Options are a little limited around Allphones Arena, but you needn’t resort to Olympic Park’s overpriced pub fare or even more expensive fast food inside the venue. I find the market stalls and food trucks that pop up around concerts the best bet. The gozleme van is my personal pick.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project. What ways do you love saving money when seeing shows in Sydney?

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Bill Parton Trio’s new music video for “Stalker Man” does warn viewers that it contains explicit content, but I didn’t quite expect the overweight naked man eating an apple that greeted me in the clip. The funny thing is, I’m not even sure that he’s the most disturbing man in this music video.

It’s the brainchild of award-winning film maker Tim Pine, who’s now worked with the South Australian outfit four times. And according to the band, they’re planning to collaborate again at least once more before the year’s out.

I like “Stalker Man” and its clip, but they’ve also thoroughly creeped me out. Right about now I’m thrilled that I’m happily coupled up and not out there dating!

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Sydney PR company Rare Finds and Mountain Goat Beer are encouraging more music lovers to discover new bands with the launch of their free-entry indie club nights. On the last Friday of every month an exciting line-up of emerging artists will take the stage at Enmore’s Sly Fox from 8 pm.

It all kicks off this Friday, April 24, with Jenny Broke the Window, Food Court, Hedge Fund, and Winston Surfshirt. With no cover charge and a full weekend to follow for recovery, there’s no excuse for staying home!

Image source: Newtown Graffiti @ Flickr

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It’s kind of appropriate that the first song that’s caught my attention since returning home and getting back to blogging is called “This is Home.” Héloise’s latest single officially dropped yesterday, but it’s already caught the ears of critics who awarded it the major prize at the 2014 Melbourne Music Bank. As part of the prize the song was rerecorded at Sing Sing Studios, a process which has given it the spit and polish it deserves.

I like that Sing Sing didn’t try to do too much to this song. It’s still got an earthy, organic folkiness, a purity that lets the lyrics and Héloise’s lovely voice shine. Those lyrics really speak to me. Héloise is Tasmanian born and bred, but the creative culture of her adopted home of Melbourne, the place she now calls home, inspired the tune. I felt the same way coming back to the Central Coast this week. I was raised in Newcastle and there’s part of me that will always be in the Steel City, but getting back to this place where I laid down roots and bought a house was pretty special.

Héloise will launch “This is Home” at Melbourne’s Workers Club on April 30. She’ll release her debut EP later this year.

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Byron Bay metalcore act In Hearts Wake are set to release their new album Skydancer, a companion piece to last year’s Earthwalker. Both albums were actually recorded in the same session back in 2013. Skydancer’s release was hinted at last year, when a hidden booklet in the Earthwalker CD contained the lyrics to current single “Breakaway,” but fans didn’t really know what they were until now.

I was fascinated to hear vocalist Jake Taylor talking about the relationship between the masculine and feminine worlds that inspired this twin release. At close to nine minutes, the documentary accompanying Skydancer’s release might be a little long for an internet audience, but it makes for compelling viewing. Seriously, grab yourself a cup of tea and check it out.

Skydancer will hit stores on May 1. In Hearts Wake will celebrate the album’s release with the following shows.
28 May 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane (Under 18)
29 May 2015 – The Triffid, Brisbane (18+)
30 May 2015 – Roundhouse, Sydney (Licensed/All Ages)
31 May 2015 – Magpies, Canberra (Licensed/All Ages)
2 June 2015 – YMCA HQ, Perth (All Ages)
3 June 2015 – Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)
4 June 2015 – HQ, Adelaide (Licensed/All Ages)
5 June 2015 – 170 Russell, Melbourne (18+)
6 June 2015 – Arrows, Melbourne (All Ages)

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You know those times when you hear a song and it’s so good that you’re convinced the album’s going to be amazing? I’m feeling that way after listening to “Radioface,” the anthemic lead single from Gang of Youths’ forthcoming album The Positions.

The album comes from some heavy stuff. It was original conceived as a passion project detailing frontman David Le’aupepe’s four-year relationship with a woman battling stage 4 cancer. The songs are personal, gritty, and real, and I can’t wait to listen to them.

I’ll be able to do that when The Positions hits stores on April 17. It’ll be available for digital download and on CD and vinyl with exclusive B-sides, rarities, and other goodies.

Image used with permission from Spark and Opus

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One of the greatest things about the Australian hip hop scene is that it remembers what the genre should be about. Most American rappers might care more about bling and bitches, but our local acts are penning poignant songs with real substance.

The latest of this new breed is Dex, a 16-year-old wunderkind from Melbourne. He loves Bliss & Eso and Hilltop Hoods, but he’s no copycat. With his new single “Fly” he showcases his gift for crafting heartfelt lyrics and delivering cutting rhymes. He’s not just good for 16; he’s just good.

“Fly” comes from Dex’s mixtape Something to Say, which drops on April 20. He’ll launch it with shows at Fitzroy’s Laundry Bar on April 10 and 11.

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Melbourne’s The Peep Tempel are in fine form on their latest single “Gettin’ On By.” It’s got such an awesome energy and some deliciously dark lyrics, you can’t help but be swept along for the ride.

The Peep Tempel will support “Gettin’ On By’s” release with the appropriately named Gettin’ On By tour, which will take in the following venues.

2 May 2015 – Newtown Social Club, Sydney
7 May 2015 – Jimmy’s Den, Perth
8 May 2015 – Prince of Wales, Bunbury
9 May 2015 – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River
10 May 2015 – Mojos, Fremantle
15 May 2015 – The Miami Tavern Shark Bar, Gold Coast
16 May 2015 – The Brightside, Brisbane
23 May 2015 – Howler, Melbourne
30 May 2015 – The Railway Club, Darwin
5 June 2015 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
6 June 2015 – The Eastern, Ballarat

Image used with permission from Deathproof PR

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Melbourne act Hiatus Kaiyote are still largely unknown here, but their debut album Tawk Tomahawk spawned a Grammy nominated single “Nakamarra” and earned the respect of music heavyweights like Prince, Pharrell, and Erykah Badu.

Maybe they’ll get the attention they deserve at home with album number two, Choose Your Weapon, which drops next month. It features the amazing single “Breathing Underwater.” I must admit, I wasn’t sure about it when I first listened, but give it some time and let it build. It’s brilliant.

We’ll find out just how good the rest of the new album is when Choose Your Weapon is released on May 1.

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After many many years of working hard as a freelancer, I’m finally taking a holiday. I’ve put in far too many weekends and late nights on a variety of writing projects, this blog included. I love it, but I need a break.

So today I’m heading off to New Zealand for a two-week cruise. My parents are housesitting, which makes me feel a lot more comfortable announcing travel plans online! I’ve never cruised before, but I figure the New Zealand one’s a good opportunity to test whether I’m the cruising type considering we can get off the ship every day once we arrive. I imagine I’m going to spend a lot of time on board hanging around the piano bar drinking wine. It sounds like heaven.

I’ve scheduled some posts for the time I’m gone, but things will be a little quiet. I won’t be commenting on the things you say, and the posts won’t be as frequent. So hang tight, enjoy the blog at a more leisurely pace, and I’ll be back before we all know it.

Image source: Peter Mackey @ Flickr

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