Licence freeze stifles celebrations
Blood Duster will headline the Tote's NYE show.
ON NEW Year's Eve, many live music venues in Melbourne's inner city will be closed or start celebrations early to comply with licensing regulations that apply for a Monday. Previously, inner-city venues were automatically granted a 3am extension on New Year's Eve, but this is no longer the case, owing to a freeze on existing licences by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
This follows outfall from the controversial 2am lock-out from bars and clubs, trialled in the inner city for three months at the end of 2008 and abandoned by the then Brumby government. The lock-out was introduced to stamp out alcohol-fuelled incidents in the city's streets, and many live-music venues with no history of violence were suddenly grouped together under a high-risk umbrella. Because restaurants and cafes are categorised as low-risk, they can trade through until 3am on New Year's Eve.
''It has not been thought through enough,'' says Jon Perring, one of the co-owners of three inner-city venues. The Tote's New Year's Eve show, featuring Blood Duster, is one of many events being affected, with doors opening earlier than normal, at 7pm. Punters will need to leave the venue by 1am on what is one of the biggest party nights of the year.
Stonefield will be at the Kyneton Music Festival.
''Here is the ridiculousness of this equation,'' Perring says. ''The people that are experienced and who generally trade through these times on weekends with the security staff all in place are the ones that can't trade, while the people who have no experience do trade.'' When New Year's Eve falls on a weekend, it is no problem for venues such as the Tote, which is licensed until 3am from Thursday to Saturday.
''We can't apply for a later licence because of the licensing freeze which is now in place,'' Perring says. ''Licensed premises in the City of Melbourne, Yarra, Stonnington and Port Phillip can't apply to increase their licence for a one-off occasion. Darebin and Moreland are exceptions, so Sydney Road and High Street venues can apply for extensions. It is stupid … low-risk venues can extend their licences, which then makes them high-risk.''
Prolific Richard Hawley will play the Hi-Fi.
Tote's amazing booker moves on
THE Tote Hotel's band booker of five years, Amanda Palmer, is leaving her post to pursue a new career as the Victorian licensing representative for concerts and events for the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Palmer steered the Tote in Collingwood through tumultuous times, including the controversial closing and reopening under new owners five months later, as well as the pub's 30th birthday celebrations. Before booking the Tote, Palmer was national telesales manager for Shock Records and managed local bands the Smallgoods and the Dacios. The venue is seeking a new band booker to start in mid-January.
Former Tote booker Amanda Palmer.
Right into the Coops
THE third and final instalment of entrants for the eighth Coopers Australian Music Prize has been revealed, with 71 albums now being considered by the judges. The final shortlist of nine contenders for the Coopers AMP will be announced at Amp Alive, a free outdoor event on February 1 at Federation Square. Hermitude will perform live, along with other acts to be announced. The winner of the Coopers AMP will be crowned on March 7, receiving $30,000 in prizemoney courtesy of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).
Fare thee well, Birmo
MELBOURNE has lost yet another live-music venue, with the Birmingham, corner of Johnston and Smith streets, closing. The hotel, which has been described as the ''ugly duckling'' of the Fitzroy pubs, has had a turbulent five years trying to establish itself as a live-music room and has now given up after long battles with liquor licensing and noise complaints from neighbours. A statement on the Birmingham's Facebook page says: ''Despite our best efforts to reignite our live music program, we have unfortunately fallen over too many hurdles and ran into too many obstacles.'' The operators thanked their staff, patrons and pub footy team the Lions with a huge celebration on December 22.
A festival out back
THE Kyneton Music Festival will be held from March 1-3, turning historic buildings, bluestone churches, old watering holes, art galleries and cafes into live-music venues. Weekend tickets are $45 and more than 35 acts from the Macedon Ranges, Hepburn and Mount Alexander area will be performing, complemented by special appearances from EG Hall of Fame inductee Mick Thomas and his Roving Commission, the Ramblin' Van Walker Band, the Perch Creek Family Jug Band, Cherrywood, Humbug and Nigel Wearne. Stonefield will headline an all-ages show at the Kyneton Town Hall. Other local performers include the Dead Salesmen Duo, Major Chord, Tully Sumner, Freya Hollick, Bunch of Bandits, the Resignators, Cyndi Boste and Paper Jane. The festival will also celebrate its love for beards, in BeardFest, with competitions and random paraphernalia. Kyneton is 85 kilometres from Melbourne in central Victoria. See kynetonmusicfestival.com.au
Hawley gets Hi-Fi
BRITISH crooner Richard Hawley is touring Australia for the first time as a solo artist. His January 29 show, originally scheduled for the Forum, has moved to the Hi-Fi, but tickets bought for the Forum are still valid. Hawley performed for years with legendary groups Longpigs and Pulp, and played with Arctic Monkeys and Elbow. His solo career has spanned seven albums, including two Mercury Prize nominations for Coles Corner and Standing at the Sky's Edge.
■SATURDAY PBS FM's Juke Joint program presents an evening at The Old Bar celebrating Melbourne's blues scene with Chris Russell's Chicken Walk featuring drummer Dean Muller, one-man band Rattlin' Bones Blackwood, nu-boogie ambassadors Catfish Voodoo, young retro rockabilly group Coral Lee and the Silver Scream, troubadour Guy Kable and radio presenter Matt Frederick on the wheels of steel; legendary early '70s country rockers the Dingoes, fronted by Broderick Smith, perform the first of two shows at Oakleigh's Caravan Club; and metal group Sydonia headline a cache of heavy appeal at the Evelyn with Decimatus, Dive into Ruin and Devoid of All.
■SUNDAY Garage surf foursome Midnight Woolf play at Yah Yah's on Smith Street, with Ballarat's primitive-rock outfit the Yard Apes and hillbilly punks Humbug.
■MONDAY (New Year's Eve) Cherry sees in the new year with a twang courtesy of the Chris Altmann Band and the Rechords; the Workers Club hosts Soul a-Go-Go over two levels with DJs Pierre Baroni, Vince Peach, Miss Goldie, Manchild and Richie 1250; new upmarket live-music space the Lui Bar on the Rialto's 55th level presents a day of live disco funk with Mondo Freaks and indie beat-maker Knightlife; and Blueline Medic, the Smith Street Band, the Bennies and the Initials team up for a night of emo punk at the Reverence in Footscray.