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A Sydney Band’s View Of Brisbane’s Lockout Laws Nightlife: Crystal Cities


So these lockout laws are a REAL hoot, aren’t they! Apart from slowly choking the once thriving nightlife of Sydney, and soon to have an effect on Brisbane’s, recent studies and reports have shown in many instances since the laws have been introduced the rates of assault have somewhat increased. All the while the Victorian capital, which dumped its lockout laws, keeps winning awards for being the most liveable city in the world…time to move to Melbourne?

So, in times where it’s apparently pretty darn hard to break through in Sydney’s live music scene we asked Sydneysiders Crystal Cities to compare a night in Brisbane’s live music scene to a night out in their hometown. As it turns out, our local scene is fairing much better than Brisbanites originally thought… 

Words by Crystal Cities’ frontman Geoff Ranna:

Landing in Brisbane we noticed straight away something was different, where is all the traffic! We headed to a mate’s studio in Morningside where we would be sleeping on his studio floor for the next couple of days.

He took us into Fortitude Valley that night and we took a walk around, checking out a number of venues. The vibe was really great and the ability to be able to walk from one venue to another was super cool! Having a number of cool venues in close proximity and being able to check out different genres from literally one side of the street to the other was something that you don’t really get back in Sydney.

We headed over to West End for a couple of brews and the crew there gave us some insights of places to check out, which came in handy! We wondered back into the Valley and caught some tunes at such digs as the Woolly Mammoth, Black Bear Lodge, and The Foundry, with all places offering a cool vibe, different music genres, and all within walking distance.

The scene in Sydney has changed a lot since the lockout laws have been introduced and has in some instances completing closed some venues down, and in other parts of the city there’s just no vibe anymore.

The best example of this is Kings Cross, I played a solo acoustic gig a few months back and there was literally no one on the streets at about 11:30pm, a once hot spot for Sydney night life and entertainment is now a ghost town!

The lockout laws have also made it harder to go out and check out bands at various venues around the city as you have this curfew that requires you to be inside a particular venue by a particular time or you will be locked out!

This was the one thing we noticed that was contrasting between the Sydney and Brisbane scene, people in Brisbane seem to head out later in the night to check out bands. We could even go catch another band playing after we had finished our show, or we could still get into a club and chill after our show, it did really remind us of a Sydney of old!

The closest scene I can think that is similar to this in Sydney and at this stage has been mostly unaffected by the lockout laws would be Newtown, which offers a couple of cool music venues that you can easily walk from one to the next.

The feeling we got in Brisbane was that we were in a music city. Walking around and checking out the venues and chatting with people that we met we really got a sense of a scene that was collaborative and supportive. For a good night out in Sydney, head to Brisbane!

We’re super keen to get back to Brisbane and do some more shows in February when we release our debut EP!

Geoff – Crystal Cities

The Sydney trio are currently nearing the end of their two-month tour in support of their latest single Good Life, a dreamy indie-rock gem that should be an instant addition to your road trip and summer playlists.

Rana says Good Life “is a call-out to start living in the present, choose now…don’t wait another minute”, which is summed up by the song’s chorus lyrics “I don’t wanna die, waiting on the good life”. It sounds a tad morbid, but the acoustic guitar strums and warm melodies make the track infectiously happy! 

Check out Good Life along with their upcoming Melbourne gig info below!

Crystal Cities Live Dates

Longplay Melbourne
Whole Lotta Love Bar, Melbourne