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live music gigs, west end

HOT: The Hi-Fi, 125 Boundary Street, West End

Brisbane has always been depressingly short on decent music venues. We’ve been to venues that were ridiculously hot (The Zoo), with sticky floors (The Arena – reportedly closing down), that are as big as our living room (The Troubadour, and we have a small living room), and worst of all, venues with ear-splittingly, head-crushingly loud music (Birdee Num Num). So from that point of view, relatively new West End music venue The Hi-Fi deserves a HOT simply because it is none of those things.

But The Hi-Fi earns more than just a pass mark. In its short 6 months of existence, it has already played host to two of the best gigs we’ve been to – Little Birdy in May, and Gomez, a few weeks ago. Of course, that has a lot to do with the quality of the music, but the venue definitely played its part well. It’s a comfortable, well air-conditioned space that is just big enough to attract the major acts, but not so big that you can get stuck a long way from the action. There is a bar and a balcony at the back, and a large open area that is slightly sloped so that everyone has a good view of the stage.

The biggest plus for me is the quality of the sound engineering. I’ve often thought that this is an underrated skill, not because I know anything about it, but because I’ve heard it done badly so many times. Often the sound guys seem to think that the way to get the place rocking is to crank all their dials to 11. Sure, it will get the crowd going – most people just want to bounce collectively to songs they have heard a thousand times before – but for me the result is a poor sound, lots of distortion, and a smidgen of hearing damage.

Not at The Hi-Fi. The instruments and vocals were well balanced, and the quality of the sound was actually better than the CDs, in my opinion. And for Gomez, this was done with the major handicap of having all of their instruments lost by the airline that afternoon on the way from Sydney. They were playing with totally unfamiliar borrowed instruments, and we wouldn’t have known if they hadn’t told us towards the end of the set. (Admittedly the fact that one of their sound effects was played by holding an iPhone up to the mic should have been a give-away!) At least some of the credit for that success should go to the venue – it can’t have been easy to get everything sounding great under those circumstances.

So if a band you want to see is coming to The Hi-Fi, definitely give it a go.

If you want to check out Jetsetting Joyce’s review of the Jamie T playing The Hi-Fi in Melbourne, click here.

Need tickets for gigs in Brisbane? Check out the BrisbaneTix Posse store.

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