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Hardcore music lovers’ prayers are answered at this revamped Valley icon that's a promising new venue for Brisbane's alternative music scene
Forget about Electric Playground, Planet Nightclub, Mystique and the day club Boom that have all called this former Presbyterian church home over the years. Forget about the pounding house/electro beats, the laser lights sweeping the courtyard and the clenched jaws of ravers in search of phat all-night beats or post-festival after parties.
This deconsecrated house of god and Fortitude Valley icon is now a place for those who worship at the altar of hardcore, metal, alt-rock/indie, punk and neo-psychedelia. Opening a venue that’s all about alternative live music? How very refreshingly 1990s of you, the Brightside. We take our beanies off to you.
Inside the church is a big, no-frills, standing-only space with just a few booths and a couple of couches up the back. Front and centre is a decent-sized stage that’s already seen a swag of international and local bands play to packed houses. In recent months, that’s included the Slaves (featuring Jonny Craig), Night Beats with the Laurels, Neck Deep, State Champs, Sidelines, Warbrain, Deceiver, Deadlift and Suspect to name a few.
There’s a pretty well-priced, bare-bones bar list, as is fitting, with an emphasis on quantity rather than quality (think band-themed buckets, depending on the line-up). Longnecks of Toohey’s and Hahn Super Dry are $12, and stubbies of local beer are priced from just $6. There’s also a smattering of imported beers including Pabst Blue Ribbon and Piston Head Lager ($9).
A one-page list of cocktails includes a Cold Day in Hell – as much a dessert as a drink, with Sailor Jerry spiced rum, caramel ice cream, lime and lemonade ($10); and the Heart-shaped Box – a combo of vanilla-infused vodka, lemon and strawberry compote topped off with lemonade and a heart-shaped lollipop ($10) that gives new meaning to the term lolly water. We’ll stick to the beer and basic spirits. If you’re looking in vain at the menu for a delicate falernum-infused whatever, or a crisp pinot gris, just turn around and walk out the door. This is probably not your kind of place.
Tables outside in the courtyard are a chill spot for a drink in the afternoon or evening regardless of whether there’s anything on inside. And if you’re too much of a tight-arse to spring for the cover charge, or too slow to get a ticket before the even sells out, you can sit outside in the beer garden for free even while the bands are on. We think that if there is a god, she’d love what they’ve done with the place.