Whether it’s the Roxy, Studio 54, CBGB’s, or the Hacienda, all of the world’s most legendary venues had and have one thing in common – community. Punters come for the music, but they stay for the sense that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

No one understands this better than the good folks behind Melbourne’s very own The Catfish and they’re hoping to forge their own special community with the launch of Club Catty, a new initiative that opens the The Catfish’s doors (located on Gertrude St, Fitzroy) to its regulars and newcomers in a whole new way.

Club Catty is more than a new gig program, it gives fans a chance to experience The Catfish’s gigs in a unique and special way. For $5, punters can experience a one-off performance, while a $10 membership grants access to any four shows in a three-month period, with lots of extra perks.

To learn more about this novel live music initiative and what fans can expect from it, ahead of the official launch on Thursday, 28th May, we caught up with Catfish booker Sam Arthur to get all the details.

Inspiration

“JJ Baker (Bandcamp hunter, venue booker) was booking Mondays at The Catfish, called ‘Formless Mondays’. Formless Mondays was an improv/experimental night that had bands such as Batpiss, Krakatau, Pikelet, and other great bands come and do a cheeky Monday show.

We noticed over time regular punters coming in every week to see the shows and had the idea of creating a members club where die-hard fans who come every week are looked after properly.

Thursday night is a weird uni student, pre-weekend type night, so we thought having a regular night would work well for great local bands who want a show, as well as punters who gig hard over the weekend.”

In Layman’s Terms

“Club Catty is a members club every Thursday night at The Catfish upstairs. You can either be a guest and pay $5 each show or pay $10 once and receive a membership pass.

Each pass has four shows you can attend in a three month period, plus for the three months’ worth of shows you receive each week’s live recordings (great if you couldn’t make it down to a show) and also exclusive downloads from the bands each week.”

Motivation

[include_post id=”422735″]”We thought it would be fun to have something people feel a part of. Often at gigs you can feel disconnected from the venue or the night, this way we invite people to make The Catfish their home, a kind of ritual into the start of their weekend of gigging.

We are in the early stages of trying this membership out and it’s been hard to organise. We don’t want people paying a lot of money and never going to shows, that’s why we created a ‘multipass’ type membership so you can go to which ever shows you want, but we also don’t want people getting flooded with spam from us, so we let punters choose if they would like to become a member.”

Expectations

“Punters can expect all types of music being played. Thursdays for a while have been electronic/experimental/post-punk/indie type lineups, but we thought, ‘Well, if punters can pick and choose, let’s put on an array of genres so that fans mix up what they want to see.

I’d say this night is for a punter who doesn’t like one particular type of sound and perhaps likes to discover new music. A lot of the bands JJ has booked are big and small, you can discover a band and reconnect with a band you haven’t seen in ages.

Coming up, we’ve got some lo-fi from Wilding and Ern Malley, some experimental and classical from Footy and Divide and Dissolve, some blues from Brooke Russell and The Mean Reds, and some alt-rock from Harry Howard.”

Outside Curation

“We wanted to create a real local community with this event, so we reached out to music blogs, websites, and labels to curate their own events. JJ runs a label called Whalesmouth, so he gets to work with a lot of bands and publicity outlets to promote his releases.

We wanted to explore this more and maybe publicise the little guys and their hard work in Club Catty, so a punter is not only seeing new bands, but learning about a new website, blog, or label. It’s about supporting the community and putting on a good, cheap show where everyone is welcome.”

Perks

“Club Catty members receive four shows for the price of two, each weeks live recordings, exclusive new tracks from bands featuring through out the month plus cheap deals on beer and steaks at The Catfish.”

Club Catty Launch

Thursday, 28th May 2015
The Catfish, Melbourne
Tickets: On the Door
More info via Facebook

Header Photo credit: Time Out Magazine