A brand new 400 capacity venue is set to open up in the heart of Melbourne’s St Kilda, with The Age‘s Sticky Carpet reporting that a new live music room is set to launch in March, with a special tribute show to fallen singer-songwriter Rowland S. Howard.
Located on Acland Street, St. Kilda’s the Memo will host the likes of Mick Harvey, Tex Perkins, Spencer P. Jones and more in a show that will double as the venue’s christening live gig, as well as a show in honour of Howard; the legendary Birthday Party guitarist and solo artist losing his battle with liver cancer in 2009, as beautifully chronicled in the 2011, Richard Lowenstein-directed documentar, Autoluminescent.
The tribute show takes place on March 1st to a sold out crowd, and the music venue’s Facebook page states the event was “carefully put together by Rowland’s Friends, family and collaborators… an event that you’ll not be able to witness anywhere else at any time.”
The Rowland S. Howard gig is set to be the first of many at the venue, which will host St Kilda Sunday Sessions weekly from 3pm with a proposed lineup of four acts filling the 400 capacity band room each Sunday. “We are giving bands the opportunity to play a big room. Friday nights at the Memo will be focusing on the large acts,” promises the venue’s promoters.“We are providing a fabulous space for touring acts, unique gigs, well known bands…”
“We are providing a fabulous space for touring acts, unique gigs, well known bands. Stay tuned for announcements,” they tease, “you will love what’s planned.”
The original site for the Memo first opened in 1924, through money raised by the community after the First World War, as a dance hall and theatre adjacent to the St Kilda Memorial Hall. By the thirties it had been coverted by Hoyts into a ‘picture theatre’ until 1958, where it dried up and was left largely unused until 2001 when it was developed into the Dog’s Bar Arts Hub, running over 220 events in 2010.
The Memo is the new name for the venue, which aims to be running “live music, cabaret, comedy, film screenings, storytelling, dancing, and other arts events… as well as big social and corporate functions & events,” according to the St Kilda Village website.
The new venue is the latest in a string of new venues that have openend in Melbourne recently. Including the curiously eccentric (and deliberately misspelt) music hotspot on the former site of Phoenix Public House called The Jewell Of Brunswick Hotel, the title taken from the winning entry of a local competition to name the venue.
It joins the equally eccentrically named venue in Sydney Road, the Rare And Reclusive, Oft Neglected, Lesser Spotted Mallard, a 300 capacity venue band room that opened last October. Joining Melbourne’s list of inner-north music sites, including Fitzroy’s The Rochester kick-starting a new 150 capacity upstairs band room, and a club named Level 2 opening just up the road from The Northcote Social Club.
Meanwhile, Melbourne’s venue bookers recently underwent a game of musical chairs, shifting roles and titles between Collingwood’s legendary pub The Tote, St Kilda’s Prince Bandroom, and Revolver.
Rowland S Howard ‘The Prince of St Kilda’ Tribute Gig
The Memo, 88 Acland Street, St Kilda
Friday 1 March
Covering the music of the late Rowland S Howard from Young Charlatans, The Birthday Party, These Immortal Souls and Rowland’s Solo albums.
TJ Howden (Hungry Ghosts)
Spencer P Jones
and more very special guests