Jul 252014

Opened in 2010 by two local self-confessed ‘music nerds’, Calvin Hillis and Peter Malbourne, as an answer to the ‘black hole’ of live music in the area, Tago Mago has been at the forefront of the rejuvenation of the upper end of High St in Thornbury and has developed into an important local live music and arts hub, garnering the support of many Australian musical legends.


Tago Mago has been an excellent backdrop and environment for artists, musicians, performers and audiences alike for almost four years. Their agenda is to simply have an arts and music venue where artists and musicians would not just perform, but also want to hang out at in their spare time. This has become the case for me. Melbourne cannot afford to lose yet another music venue, let alone one as sympathetic to creative process and eclectic tastes as Tago Mago are. This is a venue well worth supporting.” 
Spencer P Jones

In 2013, Tago Mago received a noise complaint from a new resident who lived over 50 metres from the venue. Although acoustic reports indicated Tago Mago, which is on a main arterial road and in a major commercial district in the area, was not significantly contributing to environmental noise in the area, owners Calvin and Peter made significant investments to ensure the environment around the venue was not affected by the venue. These measures seemed to alleviate the complaints for 18 months.


Several weeks ago, one further complaint was received, and strangely a notice to quit on the 8 year lease on the building that they have invested well over $400,000 in in the last 3 years, highlighting the noise complaints as the reason.

For a small, local music venue in an area dearth of live music and arts venues, the financial burden of continual acoustical testing and improvements, solicitor fees and structural improvements weighs heavy on a break-even business that was started purely to provide the local area with a much needed social and artistic hub.


Local level venues of this size are becoming a rarity in modern Melbourne. Swallowed up by concrete apartment blocks and commercial interests that seems to be the priority for state and local governments. The owners of Tago Mago are at a financial dead end if they wish to continue supporting live and local arts and music. Council support has been non-existent.


The venue requires $23,000 in acoustical improvements to keep the venue operating compliantly.


Band booker Harley McLeod states, “We’re in a position where the only support we get for continuing to operate as a venue supporting local music and arts is from patrons, local artists and bodies such as Music Victoria and SLAM. Sadly, when faced with situations such as these, in today’s climate of laws designed with property development placed well and truly above the wellbeing of the community that is not simply enough. We were extremely hesitant to ask for the financial support of the wider community to continue to operate, but it has become a choice between a crowd-funding campaign and shutting up shop, and we refuse to let the local Thornbury area regress back into an artistic black hole. The residents of the area need to have a local venue putting these things on.”


Music Victoria CEO, Patrick Donovan, said “Victoria owes so much to our small venues – described by Paul Kelly as musician’s universities – and its operators, who run on passion and small margins. They are the heart and soul of our music scene and for too long the odds have been stacked in favour of the residents and developers. After three years of advocacy work through the live music roundtable, we are hoping the government will redress the imbalance soon. In the meantime, we urge music fans to get behind Tago Mago’s funding campaign to help secure the future of one of the north’s great venues.”


On Saturday 2nd August, Tago Mago will be having a fundraising show to help pay for these soundproofing improvements, with a bill that includes over ten of Melbourne’s finest musical acts donating their time to keep this venue open and supporting live music and arts.  T-shirts will also be available for sale on the day.

Tago Mago Fundraiser
Saturday 2nd August 2014


Spencer P Jones & Escape Committee

Sons of Lee Marvin


Fiona Lee Maynard and her Holy Men

The Annie Crooners

Suzie Stapleton

Tex Napalm and Gary Gray

Brian Hooper

Skyscraper Stan

Tom Dockray

Plus more to be announced

Tickets $20 on the door
Doors open 12.00pm

Photo: Brian Hooper by Liz Reed


Jul 242014
Hey Funsters!
Skyscraper Stan and the Commission Flats celebrate reaching 100% of Pledge Music fundraising goal at Yarra Hotel Abbotsford – 4pm Sunday 27 July 2014. 
It’s official – Skyscraper Stan and the Commission Flats have scraped together enough cash to pay for their debut album! Thanks to very generous donations to their Pledge Music campaign, Stan and the Commission Flats now have the funds needed to pay studio bills, release their long-awaited (and soon-to-be legendary) album, and fund a few extra rounds of beer.
The Pledge Music campaign hit 100% this week and currently sits at 115%, all thanks to the amazing support of Melbourne’s troubadour rock n roll lovers.  The band is now on track to release their debut album later this year.
Come and enjoy a pop-up celebration with Skyscraper Stan and the Commission Flats during their final July residency performance at the Yarra Hotel, Abbotsford.  Mick Thomas, Ruby Boots, Leah Senior and other guests will also be squeezing onstage with the band to help celebrate their success.
Skyscraper Stan and the Commission Flats will be on stage, sober and ready to roll at 4pm Sunday 27 July 2014 at Yarra Hotel Abbotsford. 
Please pop in and party with us at Skyskraper Stan’s VIP Pop Up Party!
Jul 242014
Ray Danes debuts his new single 'Falling' tonight, 24 July at The Grace Darling in Collingwood!

  Ritzland Records is proud to introduce Ray Danes and present his debut single ‘Falling.’   A newcomer to Melbourne Music City, Ray launches ‘Falling’ on Thursday 24th July at The Grace Darling, 114 Smith Street, Collingwood.  Doors open at 7.30 and tickets are $5 on the door or available online at www.trybooking.com/93497.   Having just [more]

Jul 092014
Davidson Brothers - Wanderlust cd out now! Leaps& Bounds Music Festival gig announced! #lbmf

Multi-award winning showstoppers and Aunty Meredith’s bluegrass band of choice, The Davidson Brothers, have released ‘Wanderlust’ – their first new album in 3 years on 20th June, 2014. Their previous album “Here to Stay” not only enjoyed airplay on Triple J, it also received a 4-star review from The Age, which declared, “All music should [more]

Jul 082014
Paul Kelly joins the line up for the Living Legends Series at The Tote this weekend as part of Leaps & Bounds Music Fest!  #lbmf

PAUL KELLY JOINS THE LINE UP FOR THE LIVING LEGENDS SERIES AT THE TOTE THIS WEEKEND! Paul Kelly will be performing a few songs this Sunday afternoon, July 13th at the Tote on Charlie Owen’s night which is part of the Living Legends Series honouring the careers of three Melbourne based musicians. Also added to [more]

Jul 072014
Leaps and Bounds Music Festival Presents Benny Walker and Band - #lbmf

  LEAPS AND BOUNDS MUSIC FESTIVAL PRESENTS   BENNY WALKER AND BAND   Friday 18th July  at the Gasometer, Collingwood Doors: 8pm Tickets: Presale $10, Door $15 with special guest Grim Fawkner Friday the 18th of July, Benny Walker and his band will hit The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood as a part of Leaps and Bounds Music Festival.  Hailing from regional Victoria, Indigenous singer/songwriter Benny [more]

Jul 072014

Leaps and Bounds Music Festival partner Wrangler will present two huge shows at the newly refurbished and fabulous Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood. Wednesday 9th July will see sonic rock n rollers Delta Riggs tear the roof off the joint along with special guests Sons of Rico and New Gods!  The Delta Riggs are back in Oz after a two month tour of the UK, [more]