The Cornish Arms

IMG_1016See Full Gallery

“You get the opportunity to see some great acts and chat to people who love live music.”

Situated in the musical heart of Brunswick on Sydney road, The Cornish Arms have always supported local live music. Speaking on behalf of the venue, veteran barman Lachlan Lane explains that over the years, the venue has hosted music ranging from 70s soul/funk, local Melbourne grunge, DJs, blues, etc. but these days you’ll find more acoustic acts with afew rock bands thrown in the mix as well.

“The Cornish Arms was the place to go and get your music fix.”


The venue complements its music reputation with a focus on good food. People come down for a good feed and stick around for the music acts. You can expect free live music on Fridays and Saturdays, including their Open Mic on Monday nights – a stage I’ve had the pleasure of playing on myself.

“Every Monday night [since 2009] there’s always been an Open Mic – I can’t remember a single Monday we haven’t hosted one.”

The Cornish Arms stage sees comedians, first-time music performers, travellers new to the area, etc. From a performer’s perspective it is a delight to play there – perfect amount of fold-back and a well-balanced sound for the audience.


Many performers have gone on to bigger things such as ‘Busy Kingdom’ playing the Sydney Road & St Kilda festival in 2014, and even a 70s soul/funk band ‘Electric Empire’ playing the prestigious Glastonbury festival in 2011!

At the same time, the venue has played host to some… interesting acts. A notable one that Lachlan recalls was a musician who would plug his iPod in his ears and play along to songs that only he could hear in his headphones. All the crowd could hear was monotonous singing and 2 notes on the guitar over and over. Some comic relief though surely for the audience, but as Lachlan rightly states:

“Good on him for having a crack”

Musicians need to be sensitive about adapting their style for the venue or choosing venues with a crowd who appreciates their style.

“Here [Brunswick] you wouldn’t really put a cover band on.”

In closing, Lachlan expressed concern about Melbourne’s dwindling live music scene:

“It’s all about getting to the gigs. I know budget-wise it’s easy to get blind at home and then go to the gig, but it doesn’t support the pub. They’re spending money to put the band on.”


Simon Mac

Open Mic Night @ The Cornish Arms

“Hello, my name’s Simon. What do you do?”

Variety is what open mic nights are all about and Simon is the very definition of that, showcasing his fantastic rapping, rhyming and vocal harmonics completely A Cappella.

Whilst he had performed his rhymes before, he had never tried his singing on stage. Just before singing he confessed to his nervousness, which was met by roars of encouragement from the eager listeners in the crowd. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and nailed it.

Buzzing from the adrenalin after the set and coming off stage to an amazing reception, he gives me the strongest high-5 ever. I was so happy for him!

He plays open mics to evolve his vocals and asked me to quote directly “Throat Chakra Upgrade”; an interesting concept, Google it.

But the most interesting reason for performing Open Mics is to assist with his future career as a primary school teacher!

“So how does playing Open Mics help with being a primary school teacher?”

“They help me in developing the vocal confidence and presence that the role requires.”

By day, Simon studies his Masters in Primary School Teaching, writes rhymes, and volunteers at various social initiatives such as ‘lentils as anything’.

“What would you say to other musicians on the local scene?”

“Hello, my name’s Simon, what do you do?”

On commenting about people who don’t check out live music at the grass roots level:

“Before musicians make it big, they start in the low key venues; these are the low key venues.”

You can catch Simon and his rhymes at Bar Oussou on Tuesday nights, and the Brunswick Hotel Monday and Wednesday nights.