National SLAM (Save Live Australian Music) Day

20 February 2013


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:38): I move:

That this council—

1.Notes that Saturday 23 February 2013 is National SLAM Day, a celebration of live music across Australia;

2.Commends the endeavours of Save Live Australia’s Music (SLAM); and

3.Supports South Australian live music.

In moving this motion, I draw to this council’s attention that this Saturday is national SLAM Day, a celebration of live music across Australia. I call on members of this council to commend the endeavours of Save Live Australia’s Music and also to support South Australian live music in particular.

Members know that I have previously mentioned SLAM, SLAM Day and the SLAM rallies in this place, but for those of you who would like a refresher, SLAM aims to see the live music sector protected and nurtured so that it can prosper and grow organically in small venues, cafes, backyards or wherever people want to play and listen to live music. We are all very familiar with the big stadium concerts, but we never see performers getting to that stage of delivering those amazing experiences without nurturing live music at a local level. As Billy Bragg, who I have quoted in this place before, I believe said on Q&A (and apologies if I slightly misquote this):

You can experience a download but you can’t download an experience.

That pretty much sums up why live music is so important.

As governing bodies, and here in this council, we play a role and we can do a lot to reduce the regulatory burden and to support live music. Some states, and I certainly commend New South Wales, in particular, have actually taken the lead in this. Victoria, which has been the home of live music in this country, has given such an importance to live music that it commissioned an economic and social and cultural contribution of live music in Victoria, an analysis done by Deloitte Economics some years back, and has actually acknowledged, valued and appropriately investigated not only the benefit of live music in our community but also the potential.

I certainly urge South Australia to do that and I cannot, obviously, not acknowledge that we do currently have a live music Thinker in Residence who has been engaged and is the first Thinker in Residence to operate through the Dunstan Foundation. We look forward to seeing that report auspiced by that particular Thinker in Residence incarnation under Martin Elbourne. But more must be done; it cannot simply be left in one sector of our thinking. This council has a part to play as do local governments, as do industry bodies.

On that note of industry bodies, the local community is tired of seeing—particularly in Melbourne, but we see this also in Adelaide and around the country—the loss of live music venues due to regulatory restrictions, whether that be residents moving next door to an iconic live music pub or increased regulation or building code and liquor licensing requirements, so they are taking up the call to protect and nurture and save live music.

In Adelaide, we have seen the loss of live music venues over the last few decades and many would be fully aware of the struggles that the Jade Monkey is currently having in order to find a new venue and then achieve a licence on that venue which will enable them to continue as they have for almost 10 years to provide a live music venue in this state. It is a sad thing that the Jade Monkey will not be open this Saturday and that there will not be any bands playing on the Jade Monkey stage. However, it is a very positive thing that around our state this Saturday there will be many South Australians and interstate bands playing on South Australian stages. They are the ones you might expect, of course.

Arcade Lane will have several bands, and that is just off Grenfell Street for those who are not aware. The Arkaba will have a range of performers. The Bacchus Bar down at Henley Square will have Dino Jag. The Christies Beach Hotel will see Cherry Grind. The Forresters and Squatters Arms Hotel, which members are probably not surprised to hear is a favourite of mine, will have something that I possibly will not be attending, the Facemelters Ball, with a range of interestingly named bands such as Pain is a Narcotic, Headbore, Gorebottle, Silent Psychosis and Alkira Lacerated.

The Hotel Royal at Torrensville on Henley Beach Road will have jazz, which might be of more interest to some of the members in this chamber. The Northern Sound System, who I have got to really commend for their fantastic work at Elizabeth, will have a range of bands including Candice and the Arcade Villains and Headphone Piracy as well as Jordan Ruru and Yasmine Amari.

The Prince Albert Hotel in Gawler will have the Transit Cover Band, the Southern Districts Workingmen’s Club will have the Runaway Boys and the Barker Hotel at Mount Barker will have Kelly and The Brouhaha performing there. Down at Brighton, we have three bands playing, including Kingston Downes. The Crown and Anchor on Grenfell Street will have Ricochet Pete and other bands. The Gov, the iconic live music venue in this state, has a range of bands playing, of course. The Promethean, a wonderful entertainment venue, will have Soul Fellas. The Wheatsheaf Hotel—where I will be, and I invite members to join me—will have the Zephyr Quartet, an outstanding South Australian talent. The Tonsley Hotel at Clovelly Park will have Acoustica. The Worldsend in town will have God God Dammit Dammit, and the Edinburgh Castle Hotel will have Plus One.

South Australians will also be playing interstate, and I note that Sarah McLeod, one of our own home-grown ARIA award-winning talents, will be playing in Bulli in New South Wales. I am sure that there are many other South Australians taking to the stage across the country this Saturday. This Saturday is a day to celebrate live music, but also to acknowledge that it is under threat. It is a day to honour and appreciate what live music brings to our lives and also for venues that support live music to be supported. There is a code of conduct that goes along with the SLAM gigs around the country, and I am really impressed to see that that is something that has been an integral part of the event.

Venues are encouraged to have a code of conduct, which shows respect and appreciation to the artists who are engaged to play at their venue, by offering fair and equitable pay for the artists, either through a reasonable door deal or a guarantee for free gigs. For those members who are not aware, a guarantee is an amount that artists will get if there is no cover charge assigned to the particular gig. However, SLAM does recommend a minimum door charge that is no less than the price of a standard beer, the rationale being that the average punter who goes out to see live music does buy themselves a few standard drinks over the course of the event, so surely the band itself should be afforded at least the price of one standard drink.

SLAM also encourages original music and, in this day and age, that is certainly something to celebrate: the creative aspects of our lives. SLAM also encourages venues to organise a backline, to make sure there are trolleys and ramps available and to check if there are loading bays at their venue and, if not, to contact their local council to make it easier for the band to get the gear in and out. Again, organising a backline makes it easier for them to set up and share. SLAM also encourages venues to work with local artists and the local papers, to inform them and be collaborative, bringing promoters, musicians and punters alike together.

I would urge members to catch a gig this weekend in their local area, if they possibly can, or certainly to just support live music where they can. I note that our President is a long-time supporter of live music, and I am sure I will see him at a gig soon. I commend this motion to the council.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. T.J. Stephens.

Stay Connected

Sign Up to news and updates from Tammy.