Sometimes you have to wonder if we’re fighting a losing battle in St Kilda, Melbourne, a suburb once known for its bohemian flavour and vibrant music scene but today more associated with latte sipping and penthouse apartments.
On one hand there is outcry from the community when any of the remaining relics of the old St Kilda music scene are threatened, such as when the iconic Prince Of Wales hotel and bandroom were sold recently to a restaurant group who seemed at the time hell bent on turning the venue into a gastro-nightmare.
But when the restaurateurs changed their mind and attempted to showcase local musicians in their front bar the totally inexplicable happened. They got shut down following noise complaints from residents. Those same residents that presumably moved into the suburb because of the charm of the local culture.
Now the same thing is happening to local record store Pure Pop in St Kilda, which for years have been hosting free shows in their courtyard of young up-and-coming bands sprinkled with a few legendary local musicians.
And the timing of the complaints couldn’t be worse, just over a week before International Record Store Day on 21st April, a day that for many independent record stores should be their biggest day of trade.
“We’re going ahead business as usual but we have to be extra vigilant in making sure artists don’t exceed noise limits,” Pure Pop owner Dave Stevens told The Age. “In the end, we’ll have a fully enclosed and fully soundproofed band room and bring the rock back to the Pop.”
“I’m trying to look on the bright side rather than how I’m going to pay for it.”
A group of artists have now banded together to help raise money for the required soundproofing, which will take the form of a benefit concert held where else but the Prince Of Wales.
The concert will be held on May 11th and features a number of local musicians such as Underground Lovers, Ron Peno & Cam Butler, Charles Jenkins, Pony Face, Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk, Henry Wagons, Alex Lashlie, Davey Lane and a mystery headline band that won’t be announced until closer to the show.
“All the artists are donating their time and talent in support of Pure Pop and live music in Melbourne,” Stevens told Mess+Noise. “We are working our butts off so that we can exist and not disturb anyone,” he said. “I didn’t start Pure Pop to upset anyone.”
But it does raise a serious question. If we aren’t fighting to keep with culture alive in St Kilda alongside the residents, just who are we fighting for?
Tickets for the benefit gig are $50. You can buy a ticket now here.