Ric's Bar & Brisbane's Live Music Scene
The atmosphere of Brisbane's Fortitude Valley today is quite different from how it was described ten years ago. Walking from the train station on a Friday night, I pass police officers waiting to break up inevitable intoxicated altercations and scantily clad teenage girls stumbling out of clubs in their stilettos. However, in the midst of all this, I eventually approach a bar at the top end of Brunswick Street Mall with no gimmicky decor, entrance fee, or untz untz untz blaring from inside. This place is Ric's Bar. Here, live music thrives and visitors are safe from fist-pumping and over-priced drinks.
Brisbane's local music scene has aided monumentally in transforming the city from a Big Country Town into its more recent moniker, Brisvegas. Numerous bands have branched out internationally after beginnings in Brisbane - from The Go-Betweens in the 1980s and The Saints in the 1970s to The Veronicas, Powderfinger, and more recently, the Grates. These internationally recognized acts aren't the only reason why Billboard magazine named Brisbane among it's top 5 music hotspots around the world; it is also due to the live music culture of the city, in which local venues foster local talent that locals love to come watch play.
The recent gentrification of Brisbane City has threatened Fortitude Valley as a prominent live music hub, with frequent noise complaints from the new residents. While this led to the unfortunate demise of many of the area's iconic venues, the subsequent zoning of the area as an entertainment precinct managed to keep some afloat.
One venue that has remained a mainstay is Ric's Bar. Music enthusiasts, as well as those just seeking a good time, come for live rock performances, late-night dance parties free from Top 40 tracks avoided by their resident DJs, drinks enjoyed on one of the outside courtyards, and a $4 breakfast once the sun comes up. Ric's consistently has a full roster of acts and a waitlist bands strive to be placed on. While many of the surrounding venues have since taken a more mainstream nightclub approach to the weekends, Ric's continues to be dedicated to cultivating a sense of community among Brisbane's live music scene.
More on Ric's Bar, as well as a calendar of upcoming events, can be found HERE. And if you're currently in the area, check out the Exposed 3 Band Competition ending Sunday February 26.