Flume, Lorde Lament Sydney’s Lost Venues

Eighteen acts including FlumeLordeYou Am IAnna LunoeThe PreaturesRufus, and The Presets are among those involved in the latest lobby action by Sydney’s music community to convince the New South Wales government to abandon its lockout laws. 

The new rules would mean no shots after midnight, no new customers after 1:30 a.m. and an alcohol shutdown after 3 a.m. Plaques were symbolically laid Sept. 23 at the sites of 18 venues and nightclubs that closed due to the 40 percent loss of foot traffic as a result of the 2014 introduction of the laws. Coordinated by the Keep Sydney Open group, candles and flowers were laid at the sites by members of the public.

Each plaque associated the venue with an act that launched its career. Flume and Lorde played their first shows at the at the Goodgod club. The plaque for Flight Facilities outside Piano Room read: “Met each other and their first guest vocalist here, which led to their first international hit, ‘Crave You.’ Live music cannot survive without live-music venues. Many other Australian artists like this may never be discovered without somewhere to play.”

EDM acts Anna Lunoe, Hayden James and Bag Raiders got their starts at the Phoenix on Oxford Street, which closed in 2015 and now a cocktail bar. DJ and producer Lunoe, who is now based in Los Angeles with a record deal, recalls 10 years ago, “It was so vibrant we’d be playing a couple of shows a night, running all over the place. That’s how I paid my rent and ate. That’s how I learned my skills.”

Dan Mac and Jim Finn of the band Art vs Science played near Exchange Hotel on Oxford Street, while builders inside were converting it into a bistro.

“Where will we party now?” they sang. “I guess we’ll go to Melbourne. Or bed.”

They commented after, “Lockouts have killed nearly every venue we played in as a fledgling, fresh faced, up and coming band of loonies in 2008. Sydney’s music scene is under attack.”

Other artists showing support included Sneaky Sound SystemNina Las VegasAlison WonderlandJagwar Ma, and Peking Duk.