The Lansdowne Hotel Returns

Photos by Jack Steel

“Hello yes, is this the council?”

“Yes? Hello, my name’s Mrs Snoozington and my husband and I have recently bought a house in your municipality and I’m absolutely appalled by the noise at night…Yes I’m aware that the pub next door has been an iconic home of live music for over 50 years and I’ve been here six months, but do you know how much my husband and I paid for our house? And how much tax we pay on account of his borderline criminal salary? Well, I’d like you to do something about it that’s what…”

This the sentiment that has almost single-handedly led to the death of the live music industry in Sydney as we know it (disguised as a fabricated violence problem that resulted in the much-despised lockout laws). Yuppie buys house next to pub, complains to council about the noise after dark (duh!), soft cock council enforces smorgasbord of bizarre regulations on the establishment (no hi-hats after 8:24, no smoking where people are eating, no eating where people are smoking, no seating on the street except on the third month of a leap year etc..—trying to go for a beer’s literally like playing musical chairs) until they ultimately have to close. Goodbye culture, hello beige city.

Luckily for those of us who still hope to occasionally enjoy ourselves in this once great city, the two admirable gents pictured above—Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham of Mary’s Newtown and The Unicorn fame—are taking a stand against social oppression and breathing new life into one of the fallen icons of the Sydney music scene, The Lansdowne Hotel. Together with influential bookers Matt and Dan Rule—previous owners of the formerly legendary Annandale Hotel—the gang are set to give the Landy a facelift whilst still staying true to the roots of the venue that acted as a springboard for bands such as The Living End, The Hard Ons, You Am I, and many many more.

The Lansdowne is set to be re-born on the June long weekend, and will signal the most significant opening of a live music venue in Sydney in years (not that it’s hard as they’ve pretty much all closed down). There’ll be food too, which judging by the Unicorn and Mary’s pedigree will be of the perfect variety for soaking up a skinful of whatever poison you choose, and one thing that you can be sure of is that there will be no pokies, “We fucking hate them!” says Jake. Amen to that.

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