The vibrancy of this year’s Melbourne Music Week was truly something special; the streets were alive with every corner littered with live music. But the Live Music Safari treated those lucky enough to be walking the city streets to a smorgasbord of intimate live performances – better yet, they were all free.

The only real issue for lovers of live music was attempting to navigate the eclectic mix of performances scattered throughout the city, and between the hours of 4:00pm and 5:00am cram in as much music as humanely possible.

For those who missed the sweet and haunting vocals of Jess Ribeiro welcoming the morning on the steps of the State Library during the Face the Music conference, the softly-spoken musician warmed hearts at the Curtain with Jim Lawrie and Jarrow also producing incredible sets. The gig presented by Barely Dressed Records was a highlight for music lovers at this iconic Melbourne venue.

The Toff in Town presented as yet another key highlight in the evening, with Loose Tooth playing to a packed out crowd. Barely any standing room remained as gig goers nodded their heads enthusiastically in time with their indie sound. Punters were genuinely impressed by the set, which also had a slightly political flavour running through it, with band members sporting “bring them here” T-shirts.

The level of enthusiasm for the Milk Records trio was truly what independent Australian music is all about. An extremely unapologetic set from the Aussie trio who are continuing to impress fans with their ever improving and ridiculously solid sound and live performance.

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Melbourne’s laneways were overflowing with live music fans during MMW

For those who decided to wander away from the city centre, hunting down classic romance in dimly lit rooms with mulled wine in hand, the Bennetts Lane Jazz club hosted the pick of the evening. Jazz in itself is so incredibly open to interpretation and attempting to please a mix of traditional lovers of jazz and the fans of something more contemporary is often a tough feat. But we arrived just in time to catch Xani Collac and Hu Blanes combine to perform a rendition of Bob Dylan’s, ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ and were very thankful for this timing indeed.

Their chemistry and improvisation on stage was truly impressive, to the point where gig goers were peering in from the street in an attempt to soak up the wonderful music echoing from the walls. There is truly something wonderful about jazz music that insights raw emotion, and Xani Kolac and Hue Blanes’ performance was the perfect end to a day and night packed with incredible live music. Their rendition of ’90s classic ‘Runaway’ layered the pop hit with a honest sense of romance, connecting with the audience as only jazz music can.

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Live Music Safari offered punters the chance to see huge international acts like Black Milk for free

With the Live Music Safari, the streets of Melbourne were truly alive with sound. Whether you spent your time at Section 8 filling your ears with the hip hop stylings of Black Milk or even Milwaukee banks at 1000 Pound Bend. Or maybe the eclectic ambiance of local artist Dan White at Lounge was calling your name.

Honestly whatever your poison, the only issue was once again settling on a schedule and taking in as much as possible. Because, as what often happens during these events, you may plan your schedule to the minute, but just as you’re getting up to leave the venue, an artist like Sweet Whirl, with her haunting voice, catches your ear and you find yourself once again, lost in the music with all plans going out the window.

Overall, the Melbourne Music Week Live Music Safari was of course a success. The 17th of November was a real testament to the ever growing vibrancy of the Melbourne Music scene. An event that will hopefully be repeated next year, during a music lover’s best week of the year.