Welcome to Hellbourne. My name is Matt and I will be your tour guide.
Before I get into why Hellbourne (Melbourne for the uninitiated) is the cultural Mecca for punkish delights (and hereafter making it unsafe for me to travel to any other capital city in Australia), I should introduce myself properly. I shoot bands. I shoot them in the face, while they are onstage, in front of witnesses and yet I’ve never been arrested (questioned sure, but never arrested). I’ve been doing this for a few years now and after a 20 month stint at the helm of the national online punk zine Ragged Press, I decided to pack it all in and BTS foolishly allowed me to come play in their sandpit.
As a live music photographer, writer, avid punter and a part time player of anvils and ukuleles’, I have to say Hellbourne has a shit ton to offer a visiting punk.
Let’s start with the plethora of dingy, sticky carpeted venues dotted across the city. The Retreat, The Rev, The Bendigo, The Tote, Old Bar, Last Chance Rock ’n’ Roll Bar and The Brunny (temporarily closed after an impromptu installment of a water feature comprised of a Mercedes, a P plater and a fire hydrant) all offer an array of punk friendly shows on any given weekend. This abundance of venues require you to carefully plan your weekend carefully and all too often forces punters to make agonising choices about which shows to catch and which to miss.
Of course these venues would not exist without the lifeblood that is the huge variety of bands doing the rounds of Hellbourne. The sheer diversity of bands on offer has something for everybody. Want to chorus along with your ‘hawk held high and your liver hung low? Check out drunk punks Strawberry Fist Cake or west side punks K-Mart Warriors. Want to get even crustier then jump into the fray with Motovilikha. For sheer fun, it is hard to go past the alien bovine inspired 4 piece, Udder Ubductees.
Got an urge for something acoustic? Then get on board with Shadow League or the Krunchy Om-let Experience. If GG Allin is more your speed then check out The Fckups (maybe bring an umbrella,that shit gets messy, but is well worth watching). If you are more traditionalist then check out the little known Monkey Butler who channel ‘77 punk in a uniquely Australian way. Australian Kingswood Factory, Psycho Moto and Bastard North all offer up rollicking rock and roll inspired delights, while the women of Bad Batch, Body Parts and Von Stache all work to tear you a new one. Are emotions are more your thing? Come sway and cry with folk punk outfit The Suicide Tuesdays and the emo inspired Diploma.
If you prefer dancing shoes and shiny horns, Hellbourne has you covered with regular appearances by ska bands like The Resignators and Admiral Ackbar’s Dishonourable Discharge, or if Celt punk is more your scene, come and check out The Ramshackle Army.
Like I said, I’m Matt and I’ll be your tour guide. Over the next few months, the ‘Welcome to Hellbourne’ series will take you on a gonzo tour of some of Melbourne’s favourite punk venues as I run around shooting more people in the face.