As if Melbourne’s legendary pub hasn’t already been through enough in the last few years, Collingwood’s The Tote Hotel was the victim of an arson attack overnight where vandals threw Molotov cocktails were thrown from the street into the venue.
According to FasterLouder, the report came from 3AW, who broadcast this morning that a police investigation is currently underway while the Tote’s co-owner Jon Perring said there was no serious damage from the attack.
While the pub is closed for today and tomorrow, it plans to go ahead for its Halloween bash this Wednesday, featuring High Fangs, Sun God Replica, Ciggie Witch, and Constant Killer.
Perring also said he didn’t know who could be behind the attack, or who the vandals may be, but they had already handed over CCTV footage over to authorities to help track down the perpetrators. “Someone obviously had a crack at us,” said Perring, “but it’s business as usual.”
The front bar was left unscathed by the fire bombing, but one of the male toilets was heavily damaged in the attack, “we lost a dunny, but they probably did us a favour,” said Perring.
The Melbourne venue has survived much worse before, most famously nearly being shut down in early 2010 by strict liquor licensing laws, but resurrected by Perring, along with business partners Andrew Portokallis and Sam Crupi, just a few months after more than 20,000 people took part in the Save Live Australian Music (SLAM) rally, with musicians, industry figures, and the public alike all taking to the streets to fight for the survival of Australia’s live music scene.
The entire event was recently the subject of the documentary, Persecution Blues: The Battle For The Tote, which premiered at last year’s Melbourne International Film Festival to critical acclaim.
It’s lucky the Tote went unscathed, as it would have been a major blow to Melbourne’s live music scene, as well as a personal loss for Perring, who also recently announced that his other popular music venue, Pony Bar, would be closing its doors in December, but not before going out with a final dash to the finish line, with an extended music marathon for its final December 2nd gig.
The marathon gig, suitably dubbed The Last Ride At Pony, will be “an absolute monster of a show” teases the venue’s operators, as the Collins St bar plans to open its doors at 2pm on December 1st, and continue with bands until at least midday the following day in a final blaze of characteristic debauchery and glory; “so start working on your stamina and building up your riding callouses…trust us, you’re gonna need them.”
Pony’s closure is just one of a few for Melbourne lately. Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen Geelong icon The Nash being forced to close due to ‘structural instability’, Thornbury’s The Prague cancelling all future shows due to a ‘difficult economic climate’, and Smith Street’s Blue Tile Lounge closing after six years of music servitude.
On the bright side though is news of new live music venues opening, including Level 2 in Northcote, the eccentrically titled The Rare And Reclusive, Oft Neglected, Lesser Spotted Mallard beginning operations earlier this month, and the resurrection of North Melbourne’s Public Bar by owners of fellow live music hot spot, Fitzroy’s Old Bar.
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