In news that will no doubt have Melbournians all like…
And Sydneysiders all like…
Two very opposite stories have just come across our desk that seem to really stand as a sign of the times. Melbourne has just scored itself a swanky new live music venue, while Sydney is about to lose yet another one.
First, the good news: beloved Carlton eatery and watering hole the Longhorn Saloon has just cut the ribbon on a schmick new upstairs band room, and its owners are inviting punters to come check out the fresh 180-cap space with a run of free live music nights from this Thursday, 9th March.
Performing as part of the on-the-house sessions will be You Am I guitarist Davey Lane this Friday 10th March, as well as a “secret international act” to headline the venue’s official launch party on Monday, 13th March (i.e. the Labour Day long weekend).
Billing the new digs as “Melbourne’s home of Americana”, a statement from the owners describe it as being “meticulously designed with passion and flare. Filled with gorgeous textures, darkened corners, exposed heritage bricks, hand-built timber interiors and brass trimmings, this is not your average band space. It’s affectionately cosy and classy as fuck.”
But don’t take their word for it, here’s a choice snap:
You can find out more about Melbourne’s newest venue and its free live music program via Longhorn Saloon’s official website.
Meanwhile, 900 kms north, Sydney is about to kiss another one of its beloved venues bye-bye.
Black Wire Records, Annandale’s volunteer-run record store and DIY performance space, is about to bite the dust, announcing a ‘Death’ party and final show with a heavy-ass lineup featuring locals Infinite Void, Canine and Orion.
The iconic hole-in-the-wall on Parramatta Road has hosted gigs from the likes of Ceres, Bad//Dreems and The Smith Street Band’s Wil Wagner since its 2009 inception, along with art exhibits, poetry readings and album launches.
While not much is known about what’s sparked the alternative sub-cultural bastion’s decision to self-destruct, it comes eight months after a Facebook post announcing that the venue would be closing down for a month amid some “bloody stressful changes”, and follows owner Tom Scott’s comments in 2012 about struggles with council compliance requests due to noise complaints — an issue that continues to cause potentially fatal headaches for countless Sydney venues (just recently, Enmore’s Hideaway Bar, Glebe’s historic Harold Park Hotel and even the Sydney bloody Opera House to name but a few).
Speaking with Mess + Noise back in 2012 (and big ups to Happy for unearthing this one), Scott explained that he opened Black Wire to help nourish and support the same kind of local culture that he got to experience as a teenager and young adult.
“There’s always been really little that is done about supporting or even assisting actual local bands and culture and artists,” he said at the time. “[Black Wire is] an immediate response to that kind of culture, or lack of culture; that’s essentially where we are coming from. All our experience is from either illegal or grey-area things prior to this, so this is an attempt at creating a space that has at the very least an air of legitimacy and is able to withstand attempts to shut it down – so it’s essentially sustainable.”
Sadly, it seems that dream has now been crushed by the Sydney bureaucracy and its unquenchable bloodlust for local venues. Particularly since the lockout laws came into play, it’s a story we’ve heard again and again and again and again and again and again — literally too many times to count.
The news of Black Wire’s closure comes hot on the heels of another painful loss, that of fellow inner-west venue the Newtown Social Club, AKA the old Sando, which has been slated for death on April 23rd.
Meanwhile, there’s only one thing for sure in this tale of two cities: if Sydney doesn’t pull it’s socks up soon, Melbourne’s going to find itself with one hell of a population problem.