Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back to school weekend.

Following a huge performance at the last night of the Tote, them dirty old Meanies hit the Old Bar on Friday.

You may want to get there early- this will pack out, and for good reason. I wonder if they will set the onstage fire alarm off? AND my good friend DJ Frankie Teardrop will be playing from 1.00 til 3.00am, as well.

Then, on Saturday, a great line up, honouring a great guy:

Jay Reatard died last week at the age of 29, one of the most prolific punk musicians and song writers of our time, leaving behind a legacy of hundreds of records, thousands of songs and millions of shows in about 20 different bands over the last 15 years.
In the last two years, he'd toured Australia twice to rabid response from Melbourne, and on Saturday 30th January Melbourne is returning the favour by paying tribute to his life and music with a one-off show at the Ding Dong Lounge featuring reatarded Melbourne bands like Kamikaze Trio, The UV Race and Useless Children.
DJs Candy Cut, Pissing On The Mainframe and Stained Circles will blast tunes from his enormous back catalogue, and songs that influenced him or were influenced by him.
And as a one off, we will be showing footage from one of his wildest shows in his first European tour with the Jay Reatard band early in the night.
Doors are at 8:00pm, entry is $10, money from the door will go towards a charity to be elected by Jay's father specific to his life in Memphis.

That Melbourne-Memphis connection just keeps growing stronger, it seems.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


That overlay is temporary, and for a good cause.

Get on board, if you can. The people at Electronic Frontiers Australia have more info, and there is a handy HTML widget available right here.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Another pointless day off.

So, another Australia Day rolls round.
I'm quite happy to be an Australian, but I don't go for all the rah-rah, especially in the current climate of Southern Cross tattoos, flag capes, and migrant bashing. That said, as with Melbourne Cup Day (another public holiday whose ethos leaves me cold) there are always a few good shows on the night before. Like these.

Yah Yah's has put together a great (free) bill- Gruntbucket, Crystal Thomas & the Flowers Of Evil, and the Vandas- which is well worth a look.

Up the road and round the corner, the Old Bar are hosting folkie/bluegrass legend Charlie Parr, with some supports still TBA.

While over in Brunswick, Thee Wylde Oscars and Dynamo are at the Retreat. That one runs late, and will probably pack out.
They really went all out on that poster design. Shame Goanna aren't actually playing anywhere on the 26th, as far as I can find.

Monday, January 18, 2010

While the Tote closes, others remain.

While the Tote hosts it's last show today, here's a glimpse of what happened there yesterday.
In an unaccustomed move for him, Bruce Milne put himself right in the spotlight:

It was sincere, it was funny, it was stirring and it was all true.
Feel free to pause at 2.59 for a shot of yours truly applauding wildly, by the way.

So, what next? Well, the company that owns the building have gone on record as saying they want it to stay as it is, as far as possible. And the team behind the Old Bar have put their hands up very publicly to initiate talks on a possible handover- for which Bruce has offered them all the help and support he can. But that may take some time.

In the interim, it makes sense for you to sign this petition, and also make a resolution to go out more often, to small local shows, not just internationals and festivals. How hard can that be to do in Melbourne?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Tote.

A press release was sent out today:
It’s last drinks at the Tote. This weekend.
I know it’s sudden. I didn’t plan it to be like that.
I can’t afford to keep fighting Liquor Licensing. The “high risk” conditions they have placed on the Tote’s license make it impossible to trade profitably. I can’t afford the new “high risk” fees they have imposed. I can’t afford to keep fighting them at VCAT. I can’t renegotiate a lease in this environment.
So, come into the Tote this weekend to say farewell to the sad staff and to feel the sticky carpet for the last time.
I don’t believe the Tote is a “high risk” venue, in the same category as the nightclubs that make the news for all the wrong reasons. Despite being on a rough little corner of Collingwood, the Tote has had very, very few incidents. As a local police officer once said, “The Tote’s the quietest pub in the area.” (!).
It’s not dumb luck that the Tote has escaped serious violence. I believe the business has been run responsibly. People don’t come to the Tote to fight. They come because they have a passion for music and love to be in an historic venue that reeks of that same passion.
The Tote is (sorry, was) an important cornerstone of Melbourne’s rich and diverse music community. It’s too late to save the Tote but not too late to try and save other inner city venues that are feeling the same pressures.
I know the sudden closure affects a lot of people. Most importantly, the hard-working staff that are being forced onto the dole queue. And the bands and artists that have had their gigs pulled from under them.
Anyway, I don’t want to get maudlin (or viciously angry). The era of the Tote is over. If you love the place, come and have a beer with us this weekend.

Bruce Milne

I don't know as there is much more I can add, or need to add, to that. I have been going to the Tote off and on since about 1983, and have had some of the best nights of my life there- most recently, seeing Sixfthick there on New Year's Day.
I'll be there again on Saturday afternoon, for Teen Archer, Daddy Long Legs and a few others. As the man says, come and have a beer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Weekend off, weeknight on.

With my Friday night booked (see post below), I'm planning a quiet weekend.
But then on Thursday:

Joining Dirty Three for the Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney Don't Look Back performances will be long time Dirty Three favourites, Laughing Clowns, performing their early 'hits' package 'The History of Rock 'n' Roll Vol. 1'. Yep, the same line-up that emerged after a 25 year hiatus to perform at this years All Tomorrow's Parties Festivals - Kuepper, Wegener, Elliott, Miller and Spence - will join forces once more time to put new life into old classics such as 'Holy Joe', 'Sometimes (I Just Can't Live with Anyone)' and 'Everything That Flies'.

I think that will do.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Last Tram Home presents...#2

Oh yes- the next instalment.

I really am terrible at Photoshop. But anyway, that's Kids Of Zoo, Deep Where All Drown and The Dacios, plus me DJing off loads of old vinyl til 3.00am at the Old Bar, Friday the 15th January.
Look, it's even on Facebook , youngster.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I believe that I am somehow contractually obliged to mention this show, at the Birmy tomorrow night, where the kind people from YIS will be giving away limited copies of a new CD. You can listen to one of the tracks here.
I can't see what all the fuss is about, really.