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  #1  
Old 09-20-2012, 02:18 AM
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Default Welcome to Sydney

As many of you know, I've often talked about the way Sydney's live music scene was decimated by changes to the licensing laws to allow hotels to have poker machines.

Not long ago the licensing laws were changed in another way to allow small cafe-like bars (cafes couldn't get alcohol licenses beforehand because Hotels and Clubs lobby group is very powerful in NSW. A small scene of low volume music was starting to spring up in these establishments. My band has been shaping an acoustic set to see if we could land a few of those gigs.

Just saw this letter in the news:
As the recipient of this country's highest government honour for music, the Don Banks Music Award (2010), and someone who lives in Potts Point and programs live music in the area ... I am appalled at the decision to restrict small bars to 60 patrons ("Small bars will now be limited to 60 people", 19 September).

Small bars have proven to be the backbone of intelligent live music in this area and by reducing patronage the government has effectively wiped them from the stage. They cannot afford to pay musicians based on this new limitation.

The Hospitality Minister, George Souris, is ill-informed and has effectively killed live music.

Warren Fahey Potts Point
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:12 AM
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Man that sucks big time. It's the same story over here in Radelaide. Too many pokies - not enough pubs with a stage.
Adelaide was once one of the best cities in OZ to see a great live band and now it seems it is disappearing right before our eyes.
In your opinion Pol, is the Oz live music scene as we know it, slowly dying because of idiots like this?
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:45 AM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

We are having problems over here in New Orleans, La too. Not the exact same problems but the same results. After hurricanes and such some bars closed to remodel now the same bars cannot obtain a permit to have 'entertainment' . Some of these bars have been having live entertainment for over 25 years. They cant even have spoken word shows now. Then in one part of our city we have a rule that a band cannot have more than 3 members to play. Except for the casino. Its crazy. We are suppose to be a music city.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

Adelaide and Melbourne - the two cities most associated with the arts - both hit by the pokies and other anti-arts laws. Now we have our biggest retailer - Allens / Billy Hyde / Drum City about to fold, although better prices OS (US prices are crazy cheap) makes it hard to guage demand.

Most of a the iconic rooms where bands in the golden age of Oz Rock honed their craft are gone - The Stagedoor, the Civic, the Lifesaver, the Antler, now the Sando is about to go down.

Musicians could end up taking to the streets but it costs $40 per local government area - per band member. There's 40 LG areas in Sydney. In the unlikely event that a 5 piece band wanted to play in every council area of Sydney it wouldl cost them $1,600 each a year or $8,000 for the band (plus public liability insurance) ... in order to effectively gift their talents to the public (buskers have to pass an audition to get a license so the only really crappy ones are little Chinese kids in rich suburbs hoping to pick up a few bucks while they practise their violins and trumpets).

As the Yanks say, go figure.

Spes, I have no idea what the future holds. As far as I'm concerned, in the immediate future my focus is on jamming, home recording, and trying to motivate myself to practice push-pull, Texas shuffles, and Larry's 40bpm torture exercise. So I'm pretty well out of it, apart from playing the occasional fleabag golf club for a lark. The band did a couple of weddings earlier this year but (fortunately) I was too busy caring for Dad at the time and they used a replacement.

Golf clubs have taken up some of the slack left by bar closures but they pay nothing. Our keys player has been set on playing at a golf club near his home. He gets back to us saying they are prepared to pay $150 for the band ... as long as we bring in enough people to cover the bar staff's wages. LOL I said I'd rather play for food and drink than be paid $7 an hour - less than a child flipping burgers in McDonalds.

Personally, I'd rather tell them to stick it where the sun don't shine but the guys are so keen to gig that it seems they're happy to abase themselves. I'm not a proud but somewhere in here is a tiny modicum of self respect.

It must be hard for young players trying to break into the circuit.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

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Originally Posted by BYUDOG View Post
Then in one part of our city we have a rule that a band cannot have more than 3 members to play. Except for the casino. Its crazy. We are suppose to be a music city.
What an odd rule - sounds like you guys are going to be hearing a lot of drum machines and recorded backing tracks. I expect vocalists who don't play an instrument and have extra focus on selling the song will be a dying breed.

I don't understand the logic behind that law at all. Commiserations - as if residents of Nawlins haven't had enough problems.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

Folks, this decision is about politics. The conservative government being at war with the highly populatr independent Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. The conservatives have tried many tactics and have failed time and time again. Most recently in the council election.

Billy Hydes closing is a different issue.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:50 PM
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Amazing how wide spread the lack of support for music there is. This makes no sense and saddens me to know that promising talent is even more suppressed.

Ironically enough, the situation has gotten so bad here in the States in certain places that there would be no issue with the limit of 60 people. I live and have recently played in some here myself.

Again, like you say Grea - affects me none since I bailed on notion of trying any meaningful gig work years ago. But it's the people who really, really have the abilities and have no way to hone their craft.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:20 PM
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Again, like you say Grea - affects me none since I bailed on notion of trying any meaningful gig work years ago. But it's the people who really, really have the abilities and have no way to hone their craft.
I'd say there'd be fewer opportunities for those staring out. Maybe they'll hone their craft in other ways - doing YouTubes or something. Where there's a will there's a way. I think Robert Fripp was onto something when he said in the future there will be more "small intelligent units" ... they require less space and have fewer mouths to feed.

Have to admit I gave up on the scene personally - any scene - a long time ago. What turned me off is how hard it became to find a band that's not playing tra-la-la happy happy friendly music or blow your frickin head off music or I can play scales forever music. So conservative.

Something exotic and interesting and beautiful ... if anyone local knows of bands playing around the traps like that, you can make an old lady very happy :)
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:27 PM
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What the musicians need to do is every time a government function looks to hire a band is for all, and I mean ALL of them to refuse to take the gig. Disc Jokeys, bands , combos, one man bands, the works. Refuse to work any government shindig, charity event, political party, anything. If you band together you can make a very strong statement Then you need to pick a weekend, a popular, busy one and book no bars, pubs, cafes whatever that weekend. Shut them down until the Gov. catches on
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

I would be willing to support a freeze out of live music,but it would have to be a protracted action,and not a single event,that may get their attention.The same as a labor union going out on strike.Part of the reason that that is done is to also garner public support,which dosen't always work.This would mean,no concerts either.The big money market.You have to go all in or nothing.

Secondly,the numbers would have to suggest that politicians may lose votes when re-election comes around.For a politician,its ALL about votes,and politics.

Lastly,with government and business making cutbacks to survive,the first thing to go is arts and entertainment.Most people don't give a crap about live music anymore.Just look at the music programs in our schools,or more accurately....the lack of.Music is the first thing cut there as well.

I'm not even going to talk about the increasing number of bands and musicians who play for free.I'm not saying to put an end to all free stuff,but it's at a point of being unreasonable.Take a look at the New York City live music scene,and tell me I'm wrong.There was a time where you couldn't walk a few blocks without hearing a live band,getting paid for playing.That just further devalues the art.

Maybe if every single musician on the planet just stopped playing for a week or better still a month,somebody would take notice.Make the public aware that no more live music can become a reality,and computer music may be the only thing left if the current trend continues.Just my 2 cents.;(

Steve B
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:48 AM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

This is an interesting thread. I've never been to the land of OZ. Everything I've heard about the place sounds really cool, and the fact that around every corner (figuratively speaking) there is an animal, reptile, bug or sea creature that can kill you. All I know is Paul Hogan, Steve Erwin and AC/DC. But this makes me sad. I shudder to think of that ever happening here. I'd say that music is still thriving in this area and the opportunities to play a gig are many and varied. But, then again, this is LA, for better or worse.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:09 AM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
As many of you know, I've often talked about the way Sydney's live music scene was decimated by changes to the licensing laws to allow hotels to have poker machines.

Not long ago the licensing laws were changed in another way to allow small cafe-like bars (cafes couldn't get alcohol licenses beforehand because Hotels and Clubs lobby group is very powerful in NSW. A small scene of low volume music was starting to spring up in these establishments. My band has been shaping an acoustic set to see if we could land a few of those gigs.

Just saw this letter in the news:
As the recipient of this country's highest government honour for music, the Don Banks Music Award (2010), and someone who lives in Potts Point and programs live music in the area ... I am appalled at the decision to restrict small bars to 60 patrons ("Small bars will now be limited to 60 people", 19 September).

Small bars have proven to be the backbone of intelligent live music in this area and by reducing patronage the government has effectively wiped them from the stage. They cannot afford to pay musicians based on this new limitation.

The Hospitality Minister, George Souris, is ill-informed and has effectively killed live music.

Warren Fahey Potts Point
SNAFU
Please connect the dots for someone who is on the opposite side of the globe. You know, this-causes-that-which-causes-this. I infer there is a law prohibiting music at venues above or below a certain size.
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:28 AM
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Default Re: Welcome to Sydney

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Originally Posted by Deathmetalconga View Post
Please connect the dots for someone who is on the opposite side of the globe. You know, this-causes-that-which-causes-this. I infer there is a law prohibiting music at venues above or below a certain size.
Sorry. Basically the clubs and pubs lobby is very powerful and they don't want to competition for their large franchises so they have lobbies the government very hard, especially the Liberal (like Republican) Party which is in power in NSW and enjoys generous donations from pubs and clubs.

When Labor was in power an Independent somehow got a bill through allowing for cafe-type establishments to get liquor licenses and that opened up a small gigs circuit. It was a surprise, given that pubs and clubs have Labor links too.

Now the dead hand of power is coming down to make sure Sydney society remains a convenient shade of grey.

Federally the clubs lobby group - with help from the Libs and the Murdoch press - managed to prevent laws limiting the amount people could put in poker machines. Pity, any law that reduces the power of pokies is good for live music, not even counting the lives that would be improved.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:27 PM
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I read this thread & it makes me want to shake up these killjoy wankers even more than usual. Although there's still enough reasonable "pub" gigs in our immediate & wider area, there's a distinct lack of club/medium size venues, although that's more to do with general commercial/trend considerations than anything else.

Where our local government really gets it's nickers in a twist is with respect to festivals & general outdoor public gigs. Not only are the H&S wombles a total PITA, but the council itself seems to be totally enjoyment averse. Contrast that with a neighbouring council that actively encourages & backs free town music festivals/events, & it shows just what can be achieved if people concentrate on enjoying their time on this rock rather than keeping the NIMBYs happy for vote purposes. Our neighbouring council has also fully embraced the local business boost angle to being event proactive too. Even if I was to suspect their motives, local businesses doing good trade pay more taxes, & visitors put money into local council coffers too.

Wake up politicians! By being entertainment averse, you're actually only pandering to the ever diminishing pool of blue rinse do gooding crumbling gits who regard a wake as the pinnacle of their social calendar.
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