Written by Greg Moskovitch on July 7, 2013
Punters young and old are up in arms over the proposed demolition of Melbourne’s Palace Theatre to make way for a 5-star luxury hotel and apartment complex.
The Save the Palace Theatre Facebook page went up soon after the news broke on Friday, and has already attracted just under 19,000 ‘Likes’. The page features multiple links to a “Save the Palace Theatre” petition targeted at Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy, urging him to save the iconic Melbourne venue:
“[The Palace] is an iconic venue within Melbourne, that thousands of people regard highly. Not only would this be a devastating loss for an incredible amount of music lovers but the building itself has a great historical impact and should be fully heritage listed so nothing can happen to it.
“We must all band together and make a stand to save a truly historical structure.”
In less than 24 hours, the petition has accrued over 7,000 signatures, well on its way to reaching its stated goal of 9,000 signatures. The petition has been making the rounds on social media with the hashtag #SaveThePalace, and Triple M Melbourne personality Dave ‘Higgo’ Higgins and the radio station itself is getting behind the cause.
Some supporters have suggested holding a protest akin to the Save Live Australian Music rally of 2010 which rescued venues like The Tote, but it’s not yet known if any such event will take place. Both SLAM and Music Victoria are yet to comment on the proposed destruction of the theatre, leaving fans of the venue to take matters into their own hands.
Gallery: 10 iconic venues that suffered undignified ends
Phoenician Club in Ultimo: Nirvana played their first Sydney gig there and Sherbert had a residency. 15-year-old Anna Wood died of an ecstasy overdose there in 1995, the public uproar shut its doors forever.
CBGB in New York City: If you don't know this one, take off that damn Ramones shirt. Legendary owner Hilly Kristal was billed $91,000 in back rent to which he pleaded ignorance. After a failed attempt at getting landmark status for the club and moving it to Las Vegas, it shut its doors '06.
The Stage Door Tavern in Sydney: Has had Cold Chisel, the Stranglers and Midnight Oil, with the police once shutting down the latter's gig. Ironically it's now home to the NSW Licensing Court.
Mudd Club in New York City: Host to anybody who was anybody in the 70s, from Lou Reed and Iggy Pop to Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Talking Heads. Closing in 1983, regulars said "At the end, it was not much fun anymore. I mean, it had just become--kind of like the hangers-on to the hangers-on at the Mudd Club."
The Jade Monkey in Adelaide: One of Adelaide's few music venues was closed to make way for a new hotel. Said management: "Because even though we aren't on the exact spot, it seems that the owners don't want a live music venue next to their shiny new hotel, something I'm sure this city needs.”
The Hacienda in Manchester, England: The place rave culture was born. As depicted in the film 24 Hour Party People, ecstasy meant the punters weren't being fuelled by nightclub-lifeblood, alcohol. With the drugs came the shootings and the club eventually imploded.
The Arthouse in Melbourne: Classic tale of Victorian Liquor Licensing laws requiring them to shut at 1am instead of 3am to avoid labelling as a "high risk" venue. This would mean having roughly one bouncer for every patron in the shack-sized venue.
Trash in London: Birthplace of dance-punk, electroclash and the garage rock revival, it closed in 2007 after 10 years. Founder and resident DJ Erol Alkan had enough of the place and handed the reigns over to Trash associates. Ask some punters and they'll tell you that "until 2000ish it was a bog standard indie club."
The Roxy in London: The home of UK punk, hosting bands like The Clash, Buzzcocks and The Jam, was open for all of 100 days before owners sold it to an East End gangland group. It's now a boutique.
The Warehouse in New York City: Where House music got its name. Owned by Robert Williams and led by legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles, the admission fee doubled in '82 and Knuckles left to start his own club to which punters promptly followed.