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ACDC Lane and Melbourne's Musical Deadend

As AC/DC prepare to unleash themselves on Melbourne in three gigs next week, artist and metalhead Ben Couzins has created a fitting poster tribute to the rock gods. ACDC Lane (slash omitted because it apparently offended the Registrar of Geographic Names) has become a lunchtime tourist attraction for grey suits to admire Couzins' images from across the band's 37-year career. There's a cheekiness to the posters plastered all over this city lane that makes even non-fans smirk at their pomp and majesty.

The lane was reclaimed for rock in 2004 after ditching its dreary former moniker, Corporation Lane. The renaming was partly due to the It's A Long Way To The Top video that dragged the band and bagpipers down nearby in Swanston St to the confusion of 1970s Melbournians. But the ACDC Lane is a nod to Melbourne's music culture while that same culture is getting a bureaucratic thumbs down.

A crackdown on Melbourne's liquor licencing has forced the closure of the Tote, a much-loved live music venue that's been squeezed out by panic about public drunkeness. Connecting live music with street violence is like blaming a nanny for kids' behaviour when they're not there - live music literally keeps kids off the streets and breaks the boredom and frustration that leads to punch-ups. Who goes to a gig then feels like taking a swing at someone? Victoria's premier, however, needs an expensive psychological study to prove that people are more likely to throw a brick through a shop window if they're deprived of live music.

It may be too late for the Tote, but a couple of groups are organising to save live music in Melbourne. There's a petition asking for the state government to take a closer look at causes of violence while supporting a gig culture. Most significanlty there's a protest that heads down Swanston St where AC/DC from the back of a flatbed once belted out: "Riding down the highway, going to a show". The way to the top has gotten even longer.


  1. I recently came across this karaoke competition going on in the streets of Sydney and Melbourne - which you can use to sing out an AC/DC song as a tribute to the legends.

    Thank you contagious for being so helpful in finding my way of voicing my disagreement of closing down this live music venue.


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