Following on from the sad news that Melbourne’s live music venue and late night institution, Pony, would be closing its doors this December, there was a silver lining to be taken in the fact that the venue’s lease would be taken over by the owner of similarly esteemed music establishments, Revolver and Toff In Town.

Now there’s more good news for Melbourne’s live music scene, Brunswick’s Sydney Road will be getting another impressively sounding bird, following the closure of the Phoenix Public House, which abruptly shut its doors earlier this year after only six months in operation; and the new venue has an equally, impressively ridiculous name.

In a name that’s as long-winded as one of Fiona Apple’s album titles, the new venue located in Brunswick’s Sydney Road is called The Rare And Reclusive, Oft Neglected, Lesser Spotted Mallard, or simply Spotted Mallard for short (as opposed to the acronym RARONLSM).

The Spotted Mallard will have a 300 capacity band room, as well as a fully stocked bar and restaurant, and already has some acts booked in (with the full list of gigs rolling out in November), but though the Mallard was set to take flight over the weekend, opening its doors to the public on Saturday; unfortunately, according to the venue’s own Facebook page, the new live music venue suffered its fair share of teething problems.

“Bollocks!!!” they begin, “Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong… the speakers blew when they were being installed, we didn’t get the beer delivery, the tills don’t print, the ice machine shat itself and the fridge did not fit in the bar.”

As such the Spotted Mallard have been forced to postpone their opening, “so, Friday week we will do it and do it in style without running around like headless chooks,” they write. Meaning that Friday the 12th of October will now be the unveiling of Melbourne’s newest live music venue.

George Hyde from the venue, contacted Tone Deaf to let us know that they already have a launch gig planned for Saturday 20th October. The Taste Test Party will feature Sydney’s ‘Alt Blues’ act Papa Pilko & The Bin Rats, alongside the two-piece shuffle and boogie of Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk and Mathew Stott of Melbourne’s gravedigging rock-band, Howlin’ Steam Train. Best of all, entry is free.

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The arrival of the Spotted Mallard is more heartening news for Melbourne’s live music scene, which has seen an upswing in positive activity of late, including the City of Port Phillip making good on their commitment to supporting live music by rescuing the popular St. Kilda Music Festival from their own attempts to can the festival due to a gaping hole in the budget – but are now seeking government funding.

Meanwhile, St. Kilda’s Pure Pop Records announced an epic program that sees over 60 local acts tackling as many classic albums for the ‘Summer of Classic Albums Series’, with gigs running from December well into March 2013 that sees Aussie bands and artists covering iconic albums from Bowie, Hendrix, The Beatles, INXS and many, many more.

It’s a way of the record store-come-performance space putting their troubles behind them, after the owner and operator, Dave Stevens (son of legendary AC/DC frontman, Bon Scott) faced pressure from local residents and council over noise complaints; after being slammed with a compliance order over a small wooden platform erected at the rear of the record store come café.

Additionally, the closure of Pony Bar this December would have seen the end of Melbourne’s infamous ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of late night spots – namely the pronged set-up between Pony, Cherry Bar in AC/DC Lane, the newly re-opened Ding Dong Lounge in Chinatown – but the venue’s new lease holder, Camillo Ippoliti, who owns the neighbouring Bridie O’Reilly’s says that: “It is likely that after renovations live music will continue.”

The Spotted Mallard’s Taste Test Party

Featuring: Papa Pilko & The Bin Rats (SYD) + Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk + Mathew Stott (Howlin’ Steam Train)

Saturday 20th October. Bands From 9pm.


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