Art, Food, Local History, Music, What's On

Night At Nocturnal: Melbourne Museum Is Re-Imaging Your Ideal Friday Night

February 12, 2018

Ever wanted to experience night at the museum on a Friday night? Originally the only way you could was to watch a fairly mediocre 2006 film, but thanks to Melbourne Museum, you can experience history alive at night on the first Friday of every month. Nocturnal is an immersive party, featuring a line-up every month of well-known musicians, bands and djs. Grab dinner whilst you’re here, with an extensive menu designed for even the fussiest of eaters, or indulge in a plate of meats and cheeses if you’d rather something light to go with your wine. Pop-up bars are spotted down the hall, so no need to commit to pres. With a drink in-hand, you are free to venture around the museum as you please, with all attractions and treasures, as you know them, in a whole new light. I’m just saying, I’ve never come to appreciate the wonder of dinosaur bones remaining intact for millions of years until I drank a Dirty Granny or two (the cider, of course!).

Holding stage in front of a packed, eager crowd of music lovers this Feb included Kate Miller, Melbourne-born DJ. After living in Berlin, she’s returned to Melbourne with an ever-developing set of culturally inspired beats. Her set was the classic example of head-bobbing, ambient electronic sounds. Even though the sun was still setting, the museum immediately felt like a 1am nightclub (in a good way!), Miller’s funky, dusky set up on the decks exaggerated the colourful droplets of lights spotted across the floor and ceiling of the space.

Francis Inferno Orchestra took the stage next, holding the house DJ sound as the halls filled with darkness. This chilled, dreamy set still had enough of that bobbing electronic bass to nod your way throughout the museum. Beats were bountiful enough to strike up a group of dancers, without the blaring, head-achey buzz you sometimes get that makes your brain throb whenever you leave a cheap nightclub. Instrumentals also had a sense of magic to them, whisking you through another world of creative music.


With the disco ball glimmering, Sampology took over with a pumping set that even got the older age groups up and bopping. His sound incorporated electronica and syncopated rhythms in a specially curated DJ set that sampled new sounds. His world tours inspired much of his multi sensory, soulful productions, and listening to them in the dazzling lights dancing across the ceiling of the museum in time to the beat, made it a no brainer as to why his name is spreading to global recognition standards.

Finally, to much anticipation, Total Giovanni hit the stage, enticing large numbers of applause and even larger numbers of feet dancing. After a well-earned rest post-Falls, the Melbourne boys performed their poly-rhythmic jams, upholding their reputation of producing unique ‘dance music’. The electronic beats upheld the previous hype created by the previous artists, but also allowed listeners to sing along, whether they knew the words or not. With their upcoming album putting fans on the edge of their seats, this gig gave fans and now-fans a taste of what’s to come. If you’re a dancer, your fists, like many others at Nocturnal, will be pumping, your head swaying, your body rocking in time to the techno beat. If you’re not a dancer, you have no choice but to become one, especially in the eager crowd the museum produced that night.

To cool down, patrons were able to grab a drink at the pop-up Chandon S garden bar, a frozen cocktail, or the usual wines, beers, ciders, etc. You could also grab a tipsy feast to indulge in at the cafeteria, or even get your nails done! Otherwise, for those needing to kill some energy and entice wonder, for a measly $10, you could also explore the Inside Out exhibition. If you missed out, you could explore the museum as you pleased. On the floor included team members of The Live Exhibits, who showcased a handful of the fascinating live animal collections that usually dwell behind closed doors at the museum. Various museum experts were scattered throughout the building to answer every burning cultural and historical question that dwelled on your mind.

Nocturnal is truly an extraordinary experience for all age groups over 18. No, really, there’s no fear to feel intimidated – the age groups ranged from young adults to older people peaking retirement (without making assumptions). Fresh tunes, good booze, hearty feasts, obviously already you’re in for a good time – but this ticket also includes the self-guided exhibition around both Australian and global artifacts filling the museum with historical stories, value and wonder. For a cheap $25-35 to gain access to all this and more, you’re guaranteeing your night won’t end with thinking, ‘Gosh, I wish I just stayed in tonight.’

Nocturnal runs the first Friday of every month, so don’t miss out on your tickets for the next session on the 2nd of March, featuring Jordie Lane: Tickets Here

Image Credit: Provided on behalf of Melbourne Museum 

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