AusGrind: Australian underground grindcore, punk, doom and DIY culture.

The mournful state of the Sydney music scene

Posted by Lachlan

One of the most disheartening news of recent times was the closure of Sydney’s Hopetoun Hotel – long a staple of quality local music, and one of the last few legitimate music venues left in this sad city. But the growing issue of venues to support the Australian music scene doesn’t start or end there – it is merely one of the more publicized instances in recent times.

A range of factors have combined to essentially rob Sydney of a strong grass-roots local music scene – everything from noise restrictions, expensive small venue licensing costs, insurance costs (especially for all age shows), growing cost/taxing of alcohol, poker machines, residential complaints, dance clubs and DJs.

The result has been very strict finishing times for venues like The Sandringham Hotel – who require the headlining band to finish up by 11:45 PM – not to mention exorbitant fines being gaily handed out. Take for example the Annandale Hotel, who were engaged in a 5 year court battle over late-trading and noise compliance costing them over $200,000.

In the case of festivals, one need not look further than this year’s Soundwave Festival, which was located at Eastern Creek Raceway – a full 40km from the centre of Sydney! Such saddening news of course does not stop there:

  • The Hopetoun Hotel has been boarded up without warning and put on the market.
  • The Harp Hotel closed after a management dispute with the venues owners.
  • The Annandale Hotel is rumored to be in great financial woe and may have to close its doors.
  • The Metro is now owned by Virgin Mobile, and is to be rebranded the Virgin Mobile Metro.
  • Maggotsville Warehouse – a valued DIY venue – has been forcibly closed by police.
  • The Empire Hotel – once an incredibly valued staple of Sydney’s rock, metal and punk scene – has since deteriorated into a paunch, faux-upper class bar which refuses to book such low class ‘riff raff’. It’s sad to see a venue like that turn into Opera Bar Lite®.
  • And let us not forget the likes of The Crest Hotel in Sylvania cancelling live music and and The Arncliffe Hotel completely closing its doors

It is certainly a sad time indeed, wherein we are left only with a smattering of smaller venues that are forced only to support larger-scale local music. Fewer still are now willing to support up and coming bands – let alone non-mainstream genres. One can no longer even find a fucking jazz club in Sydney. It should be no surprise that pathetic, riff-and-song-stealing frauds like Wolfmother represents our 'healthy rock scene', while truly innovative bands in the same genre who have been dropping the jaws of all spectators (I'm talking of Looking Glass) remain anonymous and unknown.

We are faced with a rising cost of venue licensing, insurance and alcohol coupled with residential and council pressure for stronger noise control. It is no wonder that the likes of Melbourne have long been seen as a city of taste, culture, art and creativity while Sydney has slowly been relegated to a gray, drab, burnt out husk of popular whim and the mainstream. The more time goes on, the more I agree with that assessment.

Compare a snapshot of Sydney to say, a show in Adelaide. I have been to Adelaide a total of 4 times in 12 months with my bands. Why? Because noise restrictions are not enforced in central city venues – you can have a headlining band not play until 2AM when punters are sufficiently in party mode. What’s more, you can play fucking LOUD – like dissident music is always supposed to be. Adelaide is also the only state which differentiates between "noise" and "music" when it comes to laws regarding "noise restrictions".

When you add up the cost of all of the above, coupled with the cost of bands, mixers, promoters and all the other growing financial headaches of the music venue world, it really becomes just a matter of time before all Sydney venues descending into an impalpable gray haze of poker machines, jukeboxes, ridiculous iPod DJs and those fucking acoustic-guitar wielding jerk shitheads who do nothing other than play horrible Jack Johnson covers to pre-programmed backing tracks for ample cash.

The concept of a small, old-style pub in Sydney has been long dead - sacrified for up-market, snooty psuedo-clubs. Now it looks like venue support for our local music scene is the next to go.

I want live music - so I go to gigs (Facebook support group thang)
Call for live aid
Musos suffer new blow as Harp Irish Pub closes (SMH)
Howls of protest as Hopetoun shuts (SMH)
Is Australia's live music scene dying? (ABC radio - from all the way back in 2003)
Nostalgia can't save the Hopetoun (Daily Telegraph)
Save the Hopetoun Hotel Blog (Some decent resources here and a push to help Sydney music)
Another rock hotel faces heartbreak (SMH)


Tonight: Grannyfist & Frank Rizzo at The Harp

Posted by Lachlan

Grannyfist LiveQuite a cool little Grindhead Records show on tonight which will be no doubt enhanced by the simplistic beauty of pints at an Irish Pub.

Grannyfist, Frank Rizzo, Code of Lies and Fuck Oath will all be grinding up The Harp Irish Pub at Tempe from 8:00pm. I recommend some form of steak/pint combination for maximum enjoyment (is there a bistro there?).

In case you don't know these bands; Grannyfist play Anal Cunt-inspired screeching breakneck grindcore, with an extremely talented drummer (who also plays in Roadside Burial with members of Sydney veterans Bludgeoner and Volatile) and a hilarious vocalist (who also DJs as Drillbit) armed with truly horrific and agonizing vocal effects.

Frank Rizzo liveFrank Rizzo are one of my favourite Sydney punk bands. Their music is fast, furious and catchy as hell, complimented by two vocalists who play very well of eachother. All up they are a killer six piece. Code of Lies are the promising young trans-genre grind band that I keep raving about (unforunately sans their caped vocalist Nathattak). Their new MCD The Age of Disgrace should be available on the night.

Last of all Fuck Oath are a crusty grind/hardcore band with members of many other Sydney bands. I haven't had a chance to catch these guys live yet.

The line up is as follows:
Frank Rizzo
Code of Lies
Fuck Oath

See you cunts there.

Grannyfist Frank Rizzo Code of Lies Fuck Oath at The Harp

Grannyfist Frank Rizzo Code of Lies Fuck Oath at The Harp


Its Monday. Fuck off (Anal Discharge Videos)

Posted by Matt

Not feeling too crash hot this morning. So I have just shoved up some new Anal Discharge videos which I found on our myspace this morning. Apparently videoed by Lachlan, not sure how they got there. Don't really care, worth a look.

They are from the Craic Whore Grindcore show.

Anal Discharge - Beer Wench (03/11/2007)

Anal Discharge - I love Hardcore boys (03/11/2007)

Anal Discharge - Less Talk, More Kill Yourself (03/11/2007)

Anal Discharge - Skate or Die (03/11/2007)


Download: Anal Discharge – The Swallow or Die Bootleg

Posted by Matt

AD Bootleg Cover

Anal Discharge are offering a free download of their memorable gig that was blasted out last year, available for download below in its entirety, banter and all. The bootleg was taken on the 3rd of November when they played with Slowly Building Weapons, Sordid, Granny Fist and Kill A Celebrity.

The set list is as follows:
1 - Spirit of Cockwhore Past
2 - Beer Wench
3 - Smoking Rat with the Straighty One-Eighties
4 - I love hardcore boys
5 - Skate or Die
6 - I fucked a feminist
7 - If god invented head he must be really good at it
8 - Fat Black Abo
9 - Raping the bud
10 - Lesstalk more killyourself
11 - AFD
12 - Women are inferior to men cos they bleed out their whoreholes every 28 days
13 - xGayx



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