A revival of St Kilda’s live music scene is gaining momentum, thanks to a handful of local business owners fighting gentrification of a suburb once a notorious breeding ground for Australian rock royalty.
This week music institution Pure Pop Records was rescued from the brink of noise regulation fate thanks to the music community chipping in to raise more than $55,000 to fund the soundproofed rebuild of the venue.
The St Kilda record store and music venue, run by the son of the late AC/DC’s Bon Scott, was forced to demolish it’s only gig space in March this year due to council noise regulations and the persistent complaints of one neighbour.
Famous Australian musicians Paul Kelly, Gotye, Tim Rogers, Ella Hooper & Kate Miller-Heidke were some of the near 700 supporters who invested their own dollars into ‘Buying A Brick’ to help rebuild the venue. Figurative bricks were sold to cover expensive soundproofing equipment necessary to keep the business operating.
Owner Dave Stevens explains “we were in dire straits when it came to funding the rebuild and we needed help. It was really difficult to lay my cards out on the table and admit defeat, but honesty and straight talking were the key to our survival.
You Am I frontman and Pure Pop regular Tim Rogers was in full support of the campaign. “The etymology of the word punter – being a part of an audience – is taking a punt on something, which is a courageous noble act. Buying a brick for Pure Pop is an investment in art and the livelihoods of local musicians” explained Rogers.
Over the years, St Kilda has been a renowned breeding ground to some of Australia’s most influential musicians; the late Rowland S Howard along with his Birthday Party bandmates (later to take over the world as Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds),AC/DC (who in their early days, shared a house in east St Kilda) have all called St Kilda home during their formative years. Australian music legends Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers both consider St Kilda home to this day.
The music scene revival, led by a handful of St Kilda stalwarts; backed by a united music community, has seen live music spread beyond the typical locations of the Esplande Hotel and Prince Bandroom. An ever increasing number of venues are reinstating themselves as important contributors to Melbourne’s live music scene.
The Prince Public Bar, St Kilda Bowling Club, The George’s underground Saloon Bar, Dogs Bar, Claypots and Lost On Barkly and Pure Pop Records are all venues leading the charge towards a less gentrified future of St Kilda.
St Kilda Memo, the 1924 art deco dance hall will also now be seeing more regular gigs off the back of a long await permit approval by the council. As well as the heartfelt tribute it held for the late Rowland S Howard recently.