Bars and Nightclubs
Melbourne CBD, Melbourne

Max Watts Melbourne

125 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC
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One of the city’s most unique entertainment venues. Originally the magnificent Century Theatre designed in the modern art deco style, it was constructed to provide uninterrupted stage views for all patrons. It is unusual also in the completeness of its soundproofing and in the clever utilisation of the sound absorbing fibre as a visible surface in the ceiling and in the main walls of the venue. Hence today, it is well known as the best viewing and sounding venue in Melbourne.

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Max Watts (Formerly The Hi-Fi Melbourne Review)

Review By Adam Strelec

I have had the pleasure of attending various rock concerts at the Hifi and my latest experience yet again did not disappoint. I entered the venue on this particular Friday to watch Dead Letter Circus and as usual as soon as I entered I felt as though I had stepped into another world. The sound in the Hifi is phenomenal as it is one of the loudest places I have ever entered but the acoustics are so outstanding and the sound is so pure.

Don’t walk in here and expect to exit the place without being seriously deafened, this is a true haven for lovers of rock music. You don’t come here to catch up with mates for quiet beers, you come here to thrash about and join your brothers in arms in the mosh pit. Being an old ballroom with fantastic high decorative ceilings just adds to the atmosphere, as does the old balcony that offers viewers an alternative to the chaos that is the mosh.

Every band that I have seen perform at this venue has been outstanding I think this is firstly due to the fact that the sound quality of the equipment is unparalleled but it is also due to the fact that only true lovers of music enter this venue and their energy is infectious to any band performing up on the stage. So if you love your music and also love a drink come to the Hifi where the beer is cold and the music is LOUD.

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A Second Review of Max Watts (Formerly The Hi-Fi Melbourne Review)

Review by Sophie Lane

You know that you need to get out more when an innocent trip to Melbourne’s favourite intimate performance venue instigates an hour long search for said venue, ending with a trip to 7/11 where the story of being a Swedish backpacker is your only saving grace in finding some simplified directions. I’m happy to report that Melbourne’s Hi-Fi bar left me with more than sucky sore heels and a nightlife direction wake up call. A massive underground evening mercifully followed my Sweedish Story. A matter of hours later I left with a heavy head full of music and a note to self: learn to read Google Maps properly… you’re 21 years old for God’s sake.

A line reaching too many doors down is the first give away for the Hi-Fi Bar’s subtle location. Late night Melbournian shoppers are left no choice but to abandon the string of delectable (yet dingy) discount stores Swanston Street has to offer; there’s a line which could be mistaken for the Berlin Wall blocking every which way. A glance down to my ‘Gypsy and The Cat’ gig ticket makes me glad to have been conscripted; I join the army with pride and high expectations.

A flash of Identification to two sturdy looking bouncers is proof that I do belong with the hundreds of twenty-something’s swarming around the entrance. The demographics of the Hi-Fi range from 20’s to 30’s. A breath of fresh skank-less air makes me instantly feel at home.

Twenty-something stairs lead gaggles of twenty something groupies deep down into a suffocating pit where hands are stamped and tickets are taken. Another level down and claustrophobics can put their asthma pumps away, a wide open venue awaits. No seats, no couches. A sea of black promises is enough comfort for those around me. (Although at a mere 9pm my feet are already sore, Sweedish backpacker…I wouldn’t last a day of overseas escapades. Who am I kidding?).

A small bar is situated at the very back of the venue. It’s a cruel shock to the bar hopper’s soul when hundreds of attendee’s walk straight past the bar and head for the front of the stage. Either the drinks taste like Grandma’s toilet water, or the aim of the game is to get the best position possible and then hit the booze. I choose to believe the latter after an icy cold Corona.

One level up and a balcony provides even more space for my indie folk counterparts to not dance. At first such a large underground venue seems extravagant for a bunch of band lovers who are so well accustomed to smelling each other’s armpits, but as the night progresses and the venue begins to reach full capacity, I realise the reason why the venue is left unfurnished.

A small circular arrangement of three steps creates a small moshpit area to the very front of the stage. I glance from my perked position and see two seventeen year old slappers standing in the centre screaming their song of self righteous attention seeking slobber. It seems that the army were desperate and did indeed recruit underages for this moshpit marathon. I get out my stilettos in preparation for battle. All’s well that ends well.

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