Top 5 Best Aussie Pub Rock Bands Of The 80s

Whilst there may not be any fantastic festivals or attractions for you to visit during the Melbourne quarantine – that doesn’t mean you can’t still have some fun. Our Melbourne bus tour company has partnered with ARW Classic ’80s radio station to deliver some of the best ‘80s tunes to you whilst you’re in quarantine. To celebrate the decade we all wish we were still living, we thought we’d list five of our favourite Australian pub rock bands in no particular order.

Band Playing on a Pub Stage

1.     Divinyls

The female-led Aussie rock band were icons of the Sydney pub scene. But it wasn’t just frontwoman Chrissie Amphlett’s school uniform and neon tube antics that made them so iconic, their catchy and rocking tunes also played a heavy part in the band’s 16-year run. The core members, Amphlett and Mark McEntee, were always present throughout the band’s time whilst the rest of the band went through numerous lineup changes over the years.

The band disbanded in 1996 due to a falling out between Amphlett and McEntee. The band reformed in 2006 when they were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and recorded three new songs – which was then followed by a national tour. Chrissie Amphlett passed in 2013 from breast cancer. A one-off show with guests Isabella Manfredi and Jack Moffit from the Preatures was played in Perth in 2017 with Manfredi on vocals and Moffit on rhythm guitar.


2.     The Angels

Whilst the band formed in the early-mid ‘70s, they kept banging on in pubs around the country until 2000. In that time, the band had seen international success, featured on Countdown and released several rock n roll anthems that till this day are still known and sung by people from all generations. The Angels even played on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to a crowd of 60,000 on New Years Eve 1979.

However, the show was cut short after a riot broke out. Frontman Doc Neeson was cut by a thrown bottle and bassist Chris Bailey was knocked out by another. The band has reformed several times over the last 20 years and continued to play pub shows around the country. After Neeson’s death in 2014, the Screaming Jets frontman Dave Gleeson went on to tour with the Angels up until the present.


3.     Midnight Oil

Few Aussie bands are as iconic and as widely recognised as Midnight Oil. When the ‘80s came around they’d already put out a few albums and were quite popular but still loved to play the local pubs. The raw energy they emitted was unforgettable for any attending patrons. Frontman Peter Garrett’s unique dancing style is easily recognised regardless of what stage the band is playing on and accompanied by their politically charged tunes – Midnight Oil are easily one of the most recognised powerhouses of Australian music.

They disbanded in 2002 so Garrett could concentrate on his political career and was named the Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Arts by Kevin Rudd in 2007. The band played a one-off benefit show in 2005for the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster and were inducted into the ARIA hall of fame in 2006. The Oils have reformed twice since then, once in 2009 and in 2016. They’re currently still together.


4.     Hoodoo Gurus

Thumping drums and distorted guitar riffs, the Hoodoo Gurus are an exceptional example of what pub rock is. Coming out of Sydney, the Hoodoo Gurus toured profusely between pubs years before they even put out an album. They played up until 1998 where they went on hiatus to concentrate on other projects. The band reformed in 2003 and have been touring ever since.


5.    Cosmic Psychos

Whilst this addition is a lot more punk rock than pub rock they still encapsulate the same energy and feeling as the others – just with a heavier sound. The Cosmic Psychos started in Melbourne in 1982 and have torn their way through crowds all over the country with their brash stage antics and thundering basslines. They even have a song titled Nice Day To Go To The Pub. With 10 studio albums – the latest having been released in 2018 – the Cosmic Psychos haven’t stopped recording or touring in the 39 years that they’ve been a band.


Struggling to find things to do at home?

At Melbourne on the Move, we understand it can be quite hard to adjust to the new quarantine rules that have been put in place. That’s why our Melbourne bus tour company recommends popping on ARW Classic ‘80s radio station to relive all of your favourite classics from the ‘80s. The station runs 24-hours a day so you’re always entertained.

Our team hopes you’re staying healthy, positive and safe during these times and we look forward to seeing you on the flip side.