Melbourne's the Hi-Fi live music venue is poised to expand its brand north into Brisbane with a new 1,000-plus capacity venue.

A free show this Wednesday (April 29) featuring alternative Melbourne rock act the Drones will launch the new site in Brisbane's inner-city West End district, an area popular with students.

The Hi-Fi has at least 10 bookings in May, explains Anthony Osbourne, GM of marketing services. "It would be nice to maintain that kind of momentum," he notes. "That would exceed expectations."

A solid line-up of international acts including Ladytron, Cradle of Filth, Ratatat and Morbid Angel are all confirmed to play in the first three months of opening. "The relationships were already there for us, so it wasn't difficult to get people interested in the story," explains Osbourne. "The primary users of our room in Melbourne are mainstream Australian music promoters. We just made them aware of the details and when we were opening and made them feel comfortable about booking it."

On sold-out nights, bands will have an option to stream the audio and video of their performance into an adjacent bar, Vinyl, which will cater to about 150 guests.

Brisbane's 1.8 million population has a decent choice of live music venues at both ends of the spectrum. But the mid-sized range has been somewhat limited since the central Festival Hall venue was closed and demolished in late 2003, and the Arena site in the Fortitude Valley suburb was rebranded as an R&B dance club.

"There's always been space for another competitor in that 1,200-capacity ballpark," notes Osbourne. "We saw an opportunity there, but we also see opportunities everywhere to provide a great room and a great service. The touring market is quite strong at the moment, and it has been for some years."