A Guide to Local Living: Suburban Adelaide, by West Thebarton Brothel Party

South Australia is known for many things. It’s majestic grid pattern. Being home to one final (and bitter) AFL rivalry. Fitting every single festival into a calendar month.

West End tins.
Coopers stubbies.

The list goes on. Thanks to bands like West Thebarton Brothel Party, more eyes are turning toward the City of Churches for its ever evolving music scene. But when it comes to still calling Adelaide home, West Theb’s Reverend Ray has some hot tips for first time visitors, potential seachange seekers and everyone else who has time to rag on Radelaide itself.

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Let me set the scene. Daylight savings has just ended and it’s already getting darker earlier here, it’s a weeknight, and I’m halfway through a bottle of sub-par red I got in a mixed sixer last week. Everyone reckons South Australian wine is tops, but like everything, there are exceptions. But it’s nights like these, and the moments of pause that nights like these give me, that make me appreciate of the city I live in.

Adelaide.

Adelaide has a bad wrap; in my 26 years spinning around the sun, people who don’t have a connection to this place, who haven’t lived here or even people who have left here (seeking things that only other places can provide) are the most vocal. I get it. Yeah, it’s not as flashy, as busy or as population-dense as the East Coast metropolises, but I feel lucky. I have found things here that enrich me and the people around me,in our connected lives as Adelaideans; in particular, the music we make and the scene we’ve built.

The more time we spend on tour, and the more times I come back to this place, the more I appreciate it. We wear that appreciation and love on our sleeves – it comes through in our music – and sometimes it seems daggy. But when I’m talking to people around the country who rag on Adelaide, a lot of the time I think, “Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it”. As Johnny from DMA’s said to me on the weekend, “Fuck, you and Bad//Dreems really love Adelaide”. He said it with respect, and yeah I really do.

I guess that’s why I figured I should probably put some words down about the places in Adelaide that rule, and not just be one of those people that keep the good stuff to themselves. Let me give you a glimpse.

Background

Adelaide is located on the Land of the Kaurna People, and Tardanyangga is the name by which the area near the River Torrens (where the CBD now sits) was known.

1. Seacliff

Seacliff is about a 25-30 minute drive from the city, and it’s a little unknown. It’s not popular, or trendy. Most people know it’s jock older brothers: Glenelg and Brighton, but man, in summer, Seacliff is the shit.

It has the most picturesque beach in Adelaide and is one of the only beachside suburbs without a fast food outlet, national-chain shopping centre or any of that other soul destroying shit. Seacliff instead is characterised by secluded dog friendly trails with ocean views, a HUGE zig zag of stairs that offers a euphoric view over the coast at the top for all your hard work and the best swimming spot in Adelaide. Seacliff, don’t ever change.

2. Port Adelaide

Yeah, yeah, hear me out on this one. Any one knows me will know I’m a Port Adelaide Football Club tragic. My heart bleeds black and white and, since 1997, teal as well. But despite my bias, Port Adelaide is one of the most interesting suburbs in our city.

Set on the Port River, it was the industrial port-side link to the rest of the world when white Australians started to build what became Adelaide. I heard that there was once a plan to dig a trench that would allow cargo ships to travel all the way to what became the CBD (about 8kms away). Not sure how legit that fact is. But it’s cool to imagine.

Laneway Festival moved from the CBD down to the ‘wharf’ a few years ago and it was the best decision they’ve ever made. Set against the Port River and amongst the industrial setting of a decommissioned flour mill, it’s such a unique setting for one of my favourite festivals. One of my favorite eats, ‘Low and Slow’ is also located in the Port and – it’s delicious. BBQ food done right, knowledgeable beer staff that are always good for a chat.

Take a walk around the corner, and you get to Porthole Records. Now the cool thing about Porthole, is that there isn’t any pretentiousness or super inflated prices that come with a lot of record stores. It’s a real good time just flicking through the record stands and is in itself a reason to visit the Port.

3. Thebarton

No West Theb list would be complete without me disclosing my fondness of my favorite suburb in the Inner West. Besides the Exeter Pub, the Wheatsheaf is by far my favorite Adelaide pub.

The tap list is ever-rotating, the staff and clientele combined are the friendliest and most accepting bunch around and I can’t think of a better beer garden to enjoy a Sunday afternoon beer. Apart from the booze though, you should really check out Lavash on South Road. Good Afghani food for cheap, enough said.

‘Fuck the east man, the west is the best’ = go and live in Thebarton.

4. Brompton

This place inspired a lot of the music I’ve made in my life. I spent a lot of my late teens/early 20’s in share houses in the inner North West suburb of Brompton. Brompton is home to The Gov, an Adelaide live music institution. Geez, I’ve been to a lot of gigs there, and I respect everything about that place.

I think most of my memories of Brompton are just nostalgic, so it’s a little hard to put into words exactly how I feel about the place. Do yourself a favor and walk down Hawker street and stop into the Hawker Street Café for a coffee.

5. Norwood

An Eastern suburb. Home to the biggest flog football team in the country. Avoid.

West Thebarton Brothel Party are on the road with their current single, “Moving Out”. See them perform at Yah Yah’s in Melbourne on April 8th, and at Adelaide’s Ed Castle on April 22nd.

Photo by John Goodridge.