The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'empress hotel'


Some bad news for live music in Melbourne. The Empress Hotel has been forced by Victoria's noise-complaint laws and the encroachment of yuppie apartments to cancel performances by bands who "cannot meet the stringent requirements demanded by the current liquor laws". Which presumably means they'll still have folkies with acoustic guitars (which is just what we need more of, isn't it?) but no actual bands with amplifiers and stuff. At least until they go out of business and get bought up by a pokie franchise or a real-estate developer.

I hope the people who moved to North Fitzroy for the vibrant culture, got sick of it and decided to turn the inner city into Nunawading or somewhere are pleased with what they've done. Cunts.

empress hotel live music melbourne north fitzroy 12


Tonight I went to night 2 of the 555/Red Square/&c popfest at the Empress. It was perhaps even better than night 1; for one, the music was a bit more diverse. There were also fewer people there, perhaps because something else was on.

First up, Guy Blackman and Mia Schoen played a set (of which I missed the start); with Guy (who also co-hosts Untune The Sky and runs local indie label Chapter Music) singing and playing guitar, and Mia playing piano. a MiniDisc player on the stage floor; a common sight these days Then Fog and Ocean came on; they consisted of people from various bands (including Stuart and Jen, and Kellie from Sleepy Township) singing, and noodling (or miming) on toy instruments over a MiniDisc of prerecorded electropop. They had a lot of fun doing it, and pulled it off with style. (At one stage, Kellie pretended to play a Casiotone keyboard (which had "WE DON'T ROCK" written on the back in black marker) with a piece of paper on the keys.) Julian Teakle played overdriven electric guitar riffs and sang about timeless themes such as parties being over; his style sounded very pub-rawk.

Mary of Even As We Speak and another guitarist

Even As We Speak, Sydney's contribution to the Sarah Records fey-indie-pop sound of the early 90s, were scheduled to play next, and did, with a drastically reduced lineup. (Only Mary, the vocalist, made it down to Melbourne.) She had a go at playing the guitar lines and singing, and then enlisted another guy to help her on acoustic guitar. Her set was very lovely indeed; nice chords and melodies and touchingly sincere lyrics delivered in a mellifluous voice. It's good to know that Even As We Speak are still around; apparently, they're working on new material; their Peel Sessions CD is about to be released, and they're negotiating with the Sarah Records people to rerelease their back catalogue. I look forward to hearing more from them.

They were followed by Minimum Chips, who played a very tight and groovy set of their brand of retro-styled pop. They played mostly new, as yet unrecorded, songs (though one does appear on the souvenir CD that was given away at the door). It was then that the crowd started gathering in earnest. When they finished, they lent their Yamaha organ to Huon.

Finally, Boyracer came on (this time consisting of Stewart and Jen, with the guy from Bend Over Boyfriend on drums) and tore the roof off the house; seriously rocking out with some frantic power-pop. As usual, Stewart (who, in his Lambretta shirt and red-and-blue-target-logo boots was more Mod than Damon Albarn and both Gallagher brothers put together) jumped around like a maniac and thrashed the hell out of his guitar.

(Once again I ended up buying too many CDs, as one does at these sorts of events. Tonight I picked up the retrospectives from Boyracer and Minimum Chips, a rather nice guitars-and-bleeps pop record from an outfit called The Love Letter Band and the new Tracey Read album. I've spent a ridiculous amount on CDs this weekend. Though, upon listening to some of them, I'd say it was money well spent.)

Anyway, it was a great night. For those who missed it but wish you hadn't, Boyracer, Mary of Even As We Speak and Ashtrayboy are playing at Pony tomorrow (Sunday) night.

555 recordings boyracer empress hotel even as we speak gigs indiepop minimum chips personal popfest sarah records 1

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