We are very lucky at the Scenery to speak with some of Adelaide’s most productive and brightest people, that have actively spent their own time and money building up cultural institutions that do their darnedest to keep Adelaide buzzing. There have been times in my adolescent/adult lifetime where I’ve been saddened by the inevitable closure of some iconic shops/venues/magazines around Adelaide. I remember being a delinquent punk that frequently wore NOFX t-shirts and being crushed when Veranda Music closed down, or years later when I first discovered the old Tuxedo Cat, only for it to be shut down soon after. Then there was the abandonment of the Tivoli due to residential apartments being built directly behind it, troubles shared by the block away East End Exchange/Electric Light/Producers which now stands empty. The dank jazz dwelling of Fad bar gave up the ghost, to eventually become the crisp modern Gallery on Waymouth. Across the street from Veranda was Big Star which bit the bullet in 2010, and now this year saw the closure of Mr V’s Music, and sees the closure of Krypton Discs. There are many other places, and many different reasons for each of these places closing down. Some reasons were preventable, others an inevitable outcome of an ever changing economy. Regardless you still feel noticeable loss when they’re gone, and they become a part of nostalgia that you tell you children many years from now.
Bucking the trend of many was the perfectly placed Jade Monkey. It resides down an unassuming side street that links Rundle Mall with Grenfell St. You may not give Twin St as much credit as it deserves, but it houses hip hop store Clinic 116, alternative clothing store Irving Baby, a second hand book store, the odd entrance to the Adelaide Arcade, and other oddities but importantly no apartment and no residences. This allowed the Jade to operate with very little bother.
But I guess a matter of importance to some was that Twin Street, as well as the immediate western corner of Grenfell St was quite ugly, and needed some form of re development. Enter Hines Property Group, who successfully had approved a 17 storey hotel complex (no doubt a feat in itself) that would consume the current location of the Jade.
When the news reached the patrons of the Adelaide live scene an outpouring of support saturated social media. A digital petition was set up that accumulated thousands of signatures, the commercial media had news reports, the Lord Mayor made a statement, the Premier made a statement and Ianto’s Renew blog on the subject had the most hits of any.
It seemed Adelaide had finally felt the loss of what is of great importance to it – culture. The fallout of the Jade closure has had a very positive effect, but in a very Adelaide way. In that there is now many people talking, talking about live music, the future of small venue bars and the ultimate vibrancy of the city. There is even, as we speak, talk of the creation of a lobby like group that will look into the liquor licensing regulations, building codes and alleged corruption in the policing and distribution of liquor licenses and their exaggerated attention on smaller, and pop up venues. At this stage though it is all very much potential – Adelaide in a nutshell.
For now we say support you local venues that support local music, and give the Jade Monkey the send off it deserves.
On this episode we spoke to Dr Ianto Ware of Renew Adelaide and Zac Coligan of the Jade Monkey. Ianto discussed the obstacles and absurd licensing regulations that would prevent, in our current environment, anything like the Jade making a viable presence on the Adelaide scene. Whilst Zac spoke about his appreciation of the support, and the future of the Jade Monkey.
This week’s feature artist is Melbourne band Witch Hats with their single ‘In the Mortuary’.
Following the LP releases of Royal Headache and The Twerps, not to mention the work of Dick Diver, Witch Hats have followed suit in maturing their sound. We love the kind of immediate revolution that have befallen bands that debut hard, lo fi and full punk only to return thought out, conceived and comfortable. I’m not sure what that says about us, or them, or consumers in general. and i don’t care.
*note 1: while there is an actual children’s telemovie that was filmed in Perth called ‘Clowning Around’, Alex was of the firm beleif that a show or an epsisode of a show un attached to that production was filmed at Adelaide’s clowning around store BUT will contend that this may have been a created memory that he has for some reason imagined (and for some time may I tell you).
*note 2: witch hats are infact from Melbourne, Victoria. Sorry Mateo.