Melbourne Loses Another Live Music Venue
It’s curtains for yet another live music venue in Melbourne today, this time though it’s not a long established site but a fresh-faced entrant being forced to close its doors.
In a shock announcement over Facebook, band booker Paris Martine aksed “Is it offensive when your venue is closing down and along with it your hopes and dreams and venue bookers you barely know write to you and say ‘sorry your venue is closing. If you need somewhere to place your shows give me a call.’ Sadly, getting bookings in Melbourne these days is a bit like this…”
The venue in question is the recently refurbished Phoenix Public House in Brunswick’s Sydney Road. Though it rose from the proverbial ashes (re-fashioned from its original location as The Spot) late last year, its tenure has been tragically cut short.
No specifics have emerged yet why they were forced to close their doors but Martine, who helped with the start-up and re-launch of the venue as a booker and business partner, went on to reply to comments that “Phoenix PH will close forever on June 12. All shows between now and then have been personally guaranteed by my company so that we can keep the doors open & not let the bands or the public down.”
Though it had begun the year hosting a diverse range of both emerging local talent like Brous and Last Dinosaurs, to tastemaking cult acts including The Twerps and Lost Animal; Melbourne must now say goodbye to its newest music venue.
The closure of Phoenix Public House puts another notch on the gravestone of Melbourne’s live music scene, previous victims include the recent closure of East Brunswick Club following its Laneway Festival sideshows, as well as both The Arthouse and The Public Bar in the last year. Adding to that, is the bleak future of The Prince Bandroom in St Kilda since it was sold to a restaurant group.
It’s a distressing pattern nation-wide too, with Sydney’s recently departed Abercrombie Hotel and Canberra’s The Greenroom. The last two years have also seen Brisbane losing The Troubadour, plus Tone Bar and the Gaelic in Sydney.
On 23rd February 2010, the SLAM rally saw 20,000 people march through Melbourne to the tune of AC/DC’s definitive ‘Long Way to the Top’, in protest against the Victorian Government’s misguided policy link between live music and violence. Out on the streets of our city, we showed our support and love for a truly great live music community. The SLAM rally was the largest cultural protest in Australia’s history. Now all of Australia has the opportunity to participate in a national event that celebrates our local musicians in our small venues.
Thursday 23rd February 2012, is National SLAM Day and a huge number of gigs are being held around the country to support local artists and venues. You can see a ful gig guide here of the day here. To celebrate our friends at SLAM have got together some of Australia's best musicians and asked them through a series of speech bubble photos what live music in small venues means to them.
Check out their answers on the following pages, and on Thursday help support the industry by getting out and experiencing the spontaneous excitement and intimacy you only get at a small venue. Watch this slideshow »