27. Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne has proved to be one of the most culturally vibrant cities Down Under, and a sizeable number of influential bands and artists in rock and pop have emerged from this stylish city.
The capital of Victoria provided Nick Cave the initial stage to show his talents, and one of his two main projects, The Birthday Party, was formed here.
The noisy, gothic punk band The Birthday Party also featured future Bad Seed Mick Harvey and the late Rowland S Howard and Tracy Pew. The band – who moved from Melbourne to London and then West Berlin before splitting in 1983 – laid many of the foundations for Cave’s future acclaimed work with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, namely a dark, blues inspired sound, and Cave’s long-running lyrical obsession with the Old Testament. The Party were a key progenitor of what would be labelled ‘gothic rock’, along with the UK’s Joy Division and The Cure.
The Bad Seeds have proved even more influential and successful than their predecessor though, with a stellar career spanning over 30 years that has produced such seminal albums as Your Funeral… My Trial, Let Love In and The Boatman’s Call. The band and their charismatic leader Cave continue to go from strength to strength, and the hugely creative frontman has also taken time out from songwriting to write several novels and involve himself in penning original scripts and soundtracks for films.
One of Australasia’s best known bands, the Australian/New Zealand chart botherers Crowded House, was formed in Melbourne. The Neil Finn-led band have enjoyed worldwide success with chart hits such as ‘Weather With You’ and ‘Fall At Your Feet’.
Other well-known bands to arise from the city include Dead Can Dance, The Seekers and the critically derided rockers Jet. Sultry, worldwide pop sensation Kylie Minougue was born in Melbourne too, and memorably duetted with Cave on the classic single ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ from the 1996 Murder Ballads album. There is a bronze statue of the sexy singer in Waterfront City, on the Melbourne Docklands.
As a major city in the Asia Pacific, Melbourne is a major stop of point for touring bands and local upstarts. There are a number of impressive venues in the city, including The Prince Bandroom, The Tote and the beloved Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda. The city hosts several music and arts festivals annually as well.
Associated acts: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Birthday Party, The Boys Next Door, Crowded House, Flea, Dead Can Dance, Dirty Three, The Avalanches, The Seekers, Rowland S Howard, Kylie Minogue