The Best Bands for Bookings and Events in Canberra

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Azlan Bathusha

Azlan Bathusha, one of Canberra’s most recommended bands for bookings and events in Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

There’s something about live music at an event that speakers, an aux cord and your music library just cannot beat. From energising the crowd to providing a personal touch to the event, hiring a band is an excellent way to make sure your event is fun and memorable.

Hiring a band also means you’re supporting local artists who may rely on bookings such as yours for income, especially after lockdown measures meant that events like yours couldn’t go forward. So, not only will you be taking your event’s entertainment factor to the next level, but you’ll get to help out someone’s career in a really significant way.

It might feel like a daunting task to decide what kind of music you’d like to have at your event. In Canberra, we are lucky enough to have a super diverse music scene, with many different artists specialising in different kinds of music – so how do you decide what’s going to suit your event best? In this article, we’ll break down some of the most important things to look for in a band, as well as a list of some of Canberra’s favourites.

What makes a great band?

Let’s discuss some of the most important things to consider when booking a band.

  • As with hiring anyone for anything, reliability and communication is key. When hiring a band, make sure you’re all on the same page about things such as dress code, the tech that’s available at the venue, and the event schedule.
  • This might seem like a no-brainer, but the entertainment factor extends beyond just playing music at the event. You want your band to be energetic, friendly and approachable enough to make everyone feel comfortable!
  • Sound quality. Listen to some live recordings of your potential hire before you lock them in. You’re looking for volume control and overall quality of the sound to make sure that they won’t be playing too loud, or that their gear is low-grade and unreliable.
  • Suitable genre. Make sure you do your research before you hire a band – you want a group who can play music that is appropriate for the type of event your throwing, and the crowd that will be listening to it.

The best bands for bookings and events in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

Azlan Bathusha

Azlan Bathusha

Azlan is an engaging, original and super adaptable performer who sets himself apart with his unique and distinctive style. With an interesting musical foundation of percussion-oriented acoustic guitar playing and layering of riff, rhythm and vocal harmony, this attention-grabbing technique combined with his enthusiastic stage presence gives a lively, dynamic and surprising show.

Azlan’s variety and quality is also impressive – he can satisfy a broad range of music lovers with a playlist of covers that spans both time and style, delivered with his own refreshing takes and laid back ambience, able to satisfy expectations, do justice to classics and still infuse his own flavour into the tunes.

Azlan’s music is all about putting the audience at ease, crafting an atmosphere of beers on the beach and lazy Sundays. Consider yourself warned –  it’ll be hard to resist sing-alongs and dance breaks when Azlan’s on the stage.

Sputnik Sweetheart

This duo made their debut in 2019 and have been making waves ever since. With their emotive, high energy, progressive indie-punk sound, Sputnik Sweetheart have played shows like Spilt Milk and Stonefest and supported Aussie music icons like Ball Park Music, Spacey Jane and Kingswood. Their music boasts satisfying vocal harmonies, complex and creative riffs and rhythms, and extremely catchy – yet still thought-provoking – lyrics, exploring the social and political landscape and how it affects the youth of today.

Ghostnoises

Ghostnoises, or Liam White, is a solo electronic and live acoustic artist. With a unique and experimental sound drawing from many influences and genres, Liam is guaranteed to add a whole new dimension to the entertainment at your event, with irresistible rhythm and captivating melodies. From playing at the Phoenix Bar and Smith’s Alternative here in Canberra, to the Loaded Laneway Festival back in 2018, to supporting acts such as Kingston County and Boroky at the Street Theatre, Liam’s got great experience playing in front of crowds and getting them on their feet.

Will Campbell

Will Campbell is a solo singer-songwriter and guitarist with an easy-going and authentic sound, boasting enchanting guitar melodies and effortless vocals. Busy recording his debut EP, Will has also been performing regularly at gigs here in Canberra and interstate, at events like Relay for Life and opening for other artists in Melbourne and Sydney. Whether it’s a business opening, a corporate event, or a birthday party, Will Campbell is here to provide quality entertainment from beginning to end.

Brother Be

Formed in a garage in 2013, Brother Be is a four-piece rock band with a very important mission: to put a smile on your face. With a repertoire of upbeat party anthems that celebrate all the good things in life, their music will ensure your event goes from party to full-on celebration. Their music has shifted in the last few years from party jams to brooding and epic rock, but with no loss of energy – Brother Be is sure to unite a crowd and have everyone dancing.

Neko Pink

Neko Pink is a self-made Canberra duo that have been pumping out contemporary sunset-drive synth pop since 2017. Since then, they’ve shared the stage with big international names like Juice WRLD, Khalid and BENEE, and played Spilt Milk and Art, Not Apart. With their energetic live set, bouncy and emotive feel-good sound inspired by Mallrat, Charli XCX and E^ST, Neko Pink is guaranteed to put on a show and get you dancing.

Slow Dial

This 4-piece indie-punk-psych-rock band walks the line between Pearl Jam grime vibes and Queens of the Stone Age headbangers. With sounds reminiscent of IV League and Tame Impala, Slow Dial gives you high energy rock, driving beats, heavy riffs and soaring vocals, which has landed them sold-out shows with fellow Canberra talent Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers and Sputnik Sweetheart, as well as a spot as a supporting act for Kingswood in 2019.

The FireKatz

Keep the 50s alive with The FireKatz, a local trio specialising in classic rock with infectious charisma and rhythm. They’ve played in Canberra and regional ACT, from the Casino Canberra, to the Yass Soldiers Club, to the Tilba Tattoo & Rockabilly Show. So why not fire up your event with The FireKatz and let them bring everyone to the dance floor with some fast and fun rockabilly to the dance floor?

Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers

Formed at a year 10 sleepover after watching School of Rock, this 4-piece all girl band of Canberra natives may have one of the coolest band names in history, but they also have one of the coolest sounds on the local music scene at the moment. Evoking Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Tired Lion, TJ&JT gives you indie pop-punk, 90s girl-grunge vibes as their songs navigate adolescent pressures and, as one of their most popular singles calls them, ‘Growing Pains.’

String Elephants

String Elephants is a four piece band of local Canberra lads. Their sweet melodies, funky bass lines and up-beat rhythm – drawing on giants of the alternative genre Last Dinosaurs and Two Door Cinema Club – are sure to get your party guests up and dancing in no time. But don’t take our word for it – String Elephants’ debut single ‘Fluorescent’ hit #2 on the Triple J Unearthed chart back in 2016, and since then they’ve been making waves in the local scene performing at venues like The Phoenix and Transit Bar, and even going on to support one of their biggest influences, Last Dinosaurs.

Smooth Ops

Smooth Ops, a 100% live group of 3 talented vocalists and a 4-piece rhythm section, have been performing at some of Canberra’s biggest venues and events for over 10 years, from the Canberra Women in Business Awards to the 150th Canadian High Commission Gala. Whether your event is charity, corporate, or black tie, Smooth Ops has something for everyone – with a repertoire of over 150 songs spanning music from The Beatles to Beyoncé, Smooth Ops is sure to get guests of all ages up on the dance floor.

If you’re looking for more ways to take your event from good to great, check out our articles on the best catering services and the best function venues in Canberra.

Your experience with bands for bookings and events in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had any experience with the bands listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will hired bands provide their own tech?
Yes - all bands should have access to their own tech, usually sound equipment such as microphones and amps. However, you will probably need to organise lighting and any other special sound systems, such as extra speakers around the venue.
How long do hired bands play for?
Bands will offer different set lengths, but you can usually expect one set to last about 40-45 minutes, with one 20 minute interval. Make sure you check ahead of booking that they will be able to play the full allocated time.
What is a cover band?
A cover band will play almost exclusively songs by other artists. Cover bands are a great choice for hire if you want to be sure that they will play songs that everyone will know and enjoy.
Can I give a hired band songs to play?
Generally speaking, yes, but you probably won't be able to give them a full set list. You should be able to contact the band ahead of time with a couple of special song suggestions that you really want to be included, and they can let you know if they're able to incorporate them into the set.
Do hired bands need refreshments?
Yes. Your band will probably be at the venue to set up before the event starts and will likely leave very late, so it's greatly appreciated if you provide them with free soft drinks and some food.

What's Your Opinion?


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23 Responses to The Best Bands for Bookings and Events in Canberra
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BHughes BHughes 2:56 pm 06 Jun 14

+1 to The Silky Six. Saw them at a corporate function a while ago. They are a six piece with male and female vocalists. Great set list. They also played some acoustic stuff over dinner and I think I heard them mentioned as the band playing at the Mix 106 bridesmaidzilla wedding.

Clutch Clutch 9:57 pm 27 Jan 13

New band in town. They played at the Helenic club last week. The Silky Six. thesilkysix.com
Well worth a look. I know they are playing at an awards night this week to about 300 people so they would fit your bill. Good luck!

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 12:45 pm 08 Jan 13

Peppablack said :

I would recommend Heuristic!
http://mitchcanas.com/about.html

These guys played at the NYE gig in Civic and were pretty good. Don’t let the website put you off, they are much better than that, haha!

Genebaby Genebaby 12:13 pm 08 Jan 13
ian_heffernan ian_heffernan 3:56 pm 04 Jan 13

Hello, Topshelf was asked to quote on a 400+ people March gig at Thredbo some time back by one of the local Canberra agencies. I suspect this may be the same gig. We would love the opportunity to discuss this with you as gigs like this are exactly what we specialise in.

You can check us out at:

http://www.top-shelf.net.au

There’s a contact page on there as well as pics, sound bits and a gig guide that will show the sort of gigs we do.

Please feel free to contact me.
Cheers
Ian

Krissylawler Krissylawler 2:11 pm 04 Jan 13

Hi there. My local band Groove Dot Com are very popular and experienced. check out our Facebook page for info on songs, photos and mp3’s of some of our covers. We regularly play for weddings and all sorts of parties. Give me a call on 0406720206 and is be happy to discuss cost etc. cheers, Kristine
PS: Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/groovedotcom

Peppablack Peppablack 11:37 am 04 Jan 13

I would recommend Heuristic!
http://mitchcanas.com/about.html

DTB DTB 11:16 am 04 Jan 13

agree with ceemee, have seen the cover notes play on a couple of occasions and they are awesome. really liked the diverse selection of music they played!!!

ceemee ceemee 10:35 am 04 Jan 13

I would recommend the Cover Notes. They played at a friend’s 40th birthday just before Christmas and they were awesome.

    Jennie Halsall Jennie Halsall 10:21 am 01 May 19

    Hi Ceemee
    I can’t seem to find cover notes website do you have a link pls?

AcidRose AcidRose 10:30 am 04 Jan 13
Tecko12 Tecko12 10:13 am 04 Jan 13

I run my own lighting and sound group, and if interested can provide lighting and or sound equipment and operation for VERY reasonable costs. If it is a charity event, can usually do it free of charge. Let me know. brenster_673@hotmail.com for any questions. Have ALOT of experience.

Alderney Alderney 9:14 am 04 Jan 13

Disorganised Crime are good if you’re after Aussie pub rock. They are on facebook.

quostatus quostatus 9:10 am 04 Jan 13

Saw the “Cover Notes” play at the Hellenic Club before Christmas. They were great. Wide variety of songs and styles covered. Dance floor was packed all night.

Deref Deref 8:54 am 04 Jan 13

Old Bones are an excellent rock and roll/pub rock band – eminently danceable. No idea what they charge, but you could email them:

oldbones@oldbonesandblisters.com

ebnt ebnt 7:11 am 04 Jan 13

Check out plump on facebook. (Search for plump band should get it)

Grrrr Grrrr 12:34 am 04 Jan 13

I found that if you call a good band, even if they’re not available they’ll know another good one who might be.

One suggestion:
https://www.facebook.com/DellamartaMusic

and there’s this discussion about bands:
http://the-riotact.com/super-fine-wedding-bands-in-canberra-as-in-music/48884

LSWCHP LSWCHP 10:08 pm 03 Jan 13

I booked Annie and the Armadillos for a 400 seat gig a few years ago. They were great, and had the joint jumping. I highly recommend them.

“Annie” is Annette Sloan IIRC. I’m sure Google will help you to contact her.

curlylocks curlylocks 9:36 pm 03 Jan 13

Have just sent this to someone I know that has a band.

Dork Dork 9:04 pm 03 Jan 13

Hitparade are fantastic, they played at a party i went to a couple of weeks ago.
Website-http://www.hitparade.com.au

Manageable Ann Manageable Ann 8:49 pm 03 Jan 13

It’s not recent music (most of it) but I can offer a 8 piece funk band guaranteed to get people up and dancing with the most energetic frontman in Canberra. If you’re interested email Zoopagoo@gmail.com and we’ll work something out.

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