You know your becoming a piece of the carpet when…
…you have those old battle ground stories from venues that have past.
…you have reno stories of venues that are still standing.
and…you can name a band in every venue in Melbourne that you fell in love with, in its hallowed walls.
I’m still coming to terms with the fact that we nearly lost the Tote this week. It’s a bizarre concept. I couldn’t imagine The Tote going without a massive send-off like the Punter’s had. I’d hope that the Melbourne Music community would not let that happen. It was heartbreaking enough to lose The Punter’s, and not because it was devastating loss to the scene, but because of the memories(or lack-there-of in some cases) that the venue held for anyone involved, from Punter’s, to Bookers, to Bar Staff, to Bands, Everyone.
I’ve always been resolute to the thought that a venue can also make or break a good gig. No matter how many people try to tell me that a good band will have a great gig in any venue, or that there’s nothing such as “atmosphere”. That my friends is a load of Bollocks. If a band has no appreciation for where they are playing, I find they are more lax with their playing, which means no passion, which means no connection, which equals shit gig. As far as I’m concerned every band, no matter how big or small, should play every gig like it’s their last.
A list of Melbourne’s 10 best venues came out this week…voted by, I’m not sure who!?!?
10. East Brunswick Club - I really like this venue, I have been a few times, I enjoy myself, and their sound is good. No qualms here.
9. The Ding Dong Lounge - Ahh the now hallowed walls of Dongers. I’ve seen some rip-roaring gig’s there. Most of my favourites have been local bands. My official favourite night was the night Ben Birchall and Dave Roger’s played together. Two of my fav boys, and they did the most amazing cover of “Handle with Care” that night.
8. The Espy (and all associated rooms) – Ahh…. The Espy. May your hallowed walls fill me with happiness(I giggle everytime I walk past that pic of Scotty O playing the Gersch for the IFYOG launch! Also smile like a goofball when I walk past the pics of Strummer and PJ) and beer(sometimes warm), your cheap pizza sucks. Your parma’s aren’t bad, and your Front Bar has amazing sound and an atmosphere which is second to none on the right Friday or Saturday night. I have a dream at the moment, and that is that I get to see Paul Kelly do a gig in The Espy Front bar, that would make me supremely happy!
7. Billboard The Venue – BLAH! That is all. I like to hear my bands, not subliminal distortion.
6. Toff in Town – Oh the Toff, you are awesome-tastic! I really love the Toff, whether it’s rooftop cinema, or quiet beers on the roof, with the amazing view of my home-town, or an amazing gig. They make good Pimms here too.
5. The Hi.Fi Bar - Oh my, Comedy, Music, I’ve enjoyed it all here. Favourite gig EVER @ the HiFi, ANDREW WK!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!! The Living End with Trav on double kick bass drum, coming a close second! Oh, and Justin Hamilton MC’ing Comedy Fest club on my birthday this year! SCORE!
4. Corner Hotel - The Corner, I have seen all of my favourite bands within you. I’ve laughed, cried, hugged, and screamed myself silly many times. You make my favourite Parma in Melbourne, I just wish you had Heiniken on the menu, that is my only complaint. Crownies do suffice though. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
3. Palace (Formerly Metro) Nightclub - Hmmm… I’m not sure. I think Metro, I think Rebar, I think GOO. I’ve not been to a gig here yet, I couldn’t imagine anything but what the place looks like at some ungodly hour of a Friday morning looking at a cute tattoo’d boy through beer goggles.
2. Prince of Wales - Another venue I’m at odd’s with. I’m not sure you deserve 2nd place. You have poles that like to get in my way all the time. I will give you credit for the fact that you have good sound. I’m not sure I would place you in second though.
1. The Forum - Never have I ever seen a bad gig here. Sound is always amazing, atmosphere as soon as you walk through the Glass doors. This is the last bastion of smallish show before you start to do larger more stadium like gigs(Festy Hall would be next on the list!). It has atmosphere, and as sad as it sounds, you feel like your connecting from any place in the room. More lighting on the Stairs though thanks. No one else needs to hurt themselves here.
A few places that wern’t mentioned(past and present):
The Punters Club(RIP) - Oh my, I got kicked out of The Punters Club once for screaming too loudly. Which probabaly sounds funny as it was an amazing venue in which many people screamed in, the only problem for me was that I was in the front bar and I was screaming my freinds name, “ttaashhhh, ttasshh, where are you ttaasshhh?” *cue bouncers taking me by the arm and putting me out on the street* I scammed my way back in, only to be kicked out again within 10 minutes!
My first ever real pub gig was at The Punter’s, I went and saw this little band on a thursday night called Klinger, and that’s where it all started.
The Evelyn - Another Fitzroy institution, I’ll admit it has been awhile since I’ve been to to The Ev. I miss it, I’ve seen some amazing shows there, stand outs were Ignite/Sommerset, Gordon Gaino/Dave McCormack, and numerous Klinger/Pinkwhistle/etc gigs…
Northcote Social Club - Oh my, I love you NSC. Great food, good beer, great atmosphere, very homely, much like The Punter’s, and of course for the obvious reasons. I once followed Chris Cheney around this pub like a Puppy Dog… oops. I shall never do that again! Well I’ll try anyways.
Rob Roy(RIP) - I was at odd’s with the Rob for a long long time. I’ve seen some really good gigs there though. Sad its been changed to the Newtown Workers Club, and is there still a bandroom? Miss seeing Mr Cash’s welcoming finger everytime I walk into the room.
I love Melbourne, nothing could compare to what it feels like to go and see my favourite local bands here. Nothing could compare to songs about my favourite places being sung in my favouruite pubs.