Who thought an awry Korean Bulgogi could bring down the house and affect the course of a band’s tour? That seems to be the case, as yesterday, Sydney live music venue GoodGod Small Club went up in smoke during a pre-gig soundcheck for indie group New Navy – who were booked to perform that evening.
Speaking to New Navy’s manager, Byron Georgouras, Tone Deaf ascertained that a hasty evacuation was set in motion when a fire originated in an adjacent Korean restaurant above the venue, which subsequently made its way to the underground venue. Georgouras recounting:
“The boys were soundchecking and one of them mentioned that they thought the kitchen might be burning something and I thought ‘there’s an unusual amount of smoke inside the venue… [I] walked outside into the alleyway and saw large flames licking outside of the upstairs window…[It] didn’t look good, it looked like it had really taken hold of the building, it wasn’t a small fire. Upstairs was burning, well and truly.
So I raced back inside and told the boys they need to get as much gear as they can and get out of the venue, to which they laughed at me and told me to stop joking around. I had to put my big poppa bear voice on, ‘seriously, I’m not joking – there is a huge fire upstairs and we need to get as much of this stuff out before it burns’.
So we grabbed the most expensive gear that they had there – guitars, a couple of the amps, that sort of thing – as we were grabbing it, the police stormed through the venue screaming at everyone to get out immediately.
Mr Georgouras says he and the members of New Navy were forced out “pretty much with what we had in our hands and moved to the alleyway, which was absolutely sick with smoke, big flames coming out the side of the building,” with the fire brigade arriving to deal with the blaze.
After their visceral encounter, the band later posted on their Facebook page about the event:
Due to Goodgod Small Club being engulfed in flames, during soundcheck, tonight’s show will be posponed. We tried to save everyone, but unfortunately a lone flamingo was left onstage… We grabbed most out gear, the rest is still inside. Not sure how much damage there is. We’ll keep all posted on the rescheduled show.
As for when the band can get back into the venue to rescue their abandoned gear, New Navy’s manager says: “We spoke to Police last night and they said it’s likely the insurance companies will lock the venue down to assess the damage and the property inside, so it’s really up them now – we should be able to get in there by the end of the week, but fingers crossed.
Despite the freak fire and the potential loss of their equipment, Georgouras remained optimistic and hopes that it will only serve as a minor hiccup for the band’s remaining Regular Town Tour shows at a South Gippsland music festival this Saturday and Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club the following day for a matinee. Stating: “I think we’ll definitely be going ahead with those shows – we’ll find a way.”“[It] didn’t look good, it looked like it had really taken hold of the building, it wasn’t a small fire. Upstairs was burning, well and truly.” Byron Georgouras, Ne Navy Manager
According to Goodgod’s Twitter feed, rescheduling for the band’s show and the club’s own ‘Batman Trivia’ night is already underway, but if past events are any indication, the fire at the Sydney live music venue could stall its plans and reopening for some time.
Declared on it’s website as the city’s “non-stop fun house” , Goodgod Small Club, established in 2010, has been a staple in the Sydneysider’s music diet for the past few years.
Boasting an impressive list of international guests in it’s short history, such as consistent appearances by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, as well as serving as a springboard for local artists including Seekae and Canyon, it’s safe to say the dubious fate of the venue is going to play on the nerves of passionate punters.
A similar unfortunate meeting of inflamed cuisine and live music occurred at Melbourne’s own Ding Dong in 2011, where a fire at the German Hofbrauhaus restaurant in Market Lane put the revered venue out of action for just over 12 months, eventually reopening with a new look and a Mark Lanegan-headlined gig in early July last year.
When asked about any perceived damage to Goodgod Small Club, New Navy’s manager recalls,
“I think sprinklers have gone off in parts of the venue, but I’m not sure. Obviously there was a lot of smoke in there, so I’m not sure if there was any smoke damage or anything like that.”
For the more optimistic of us, hopefully the show will go on, for both the Sydney live music venue and New Navy.
You can view a photo that New Navy took at the scene below: