Home' In The City : In the City - Spring - 2013 Contents With a capacity for almost 2500, The National Convention
Centre's Royal Theatre is the largest theatre in the city.
Some of the most famous names in music have played
here including Blondie, The Cure, Oasis and Bob Dylan.
Cyndi Lauper is set to perform there in August.
THE NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE
A: 41 Constitution Avenue, Canberra city
P: 6276 5200
Ask any local band to list their favourite places
to play in Canberra and they will undoubtedly
mention The Phoenix.
Owners Sean Hannigan and Kieron Clohessy
say musicians respond to the pub's friendly atmosphere.
"When bands come through they say it's very welcoming
and very supportive and there's a good turnout,"
Hannigan says. "A lot of them do say it's a special gig."
In November, The Phoenix marks its 20th anniversary
with a week-long celebration.
"20 years doesn't sound like a very long time but in the
ACT that's a long time because the changes are
so rapid," Clohessy says.
From folk to punk to gypsy deathcore thrash, The
Phoenix's line-up of live music is as eclectic as its
patrons. Hannigan says he is proud of the fact people
from all walks of life are welcome at The Phoenix.
"It's a friendly place where anyone can come in,"
"We're very diverse in our clientele. We're not a straight
pub, we're not a gay pub, we're not a metal pub --
everyone is welcome."
Reflecting on the dwindling number of small live venues
around the world, Clohessy says he's pleased to see
new live venues such as Smith's Alternative cropping
up in Canberra.
"Sadly there are so few pubs left, that era of the garage
band playing at the pub and then they go on and
become Coldplay or whomever ... that capacity for
that new history to occur is shrinking," he says.
The Phoenix was declared best live venue in 2012
by Music ACT an accolade which Clohessy counts
-- along with the pub's longevity -- as one of its
"It just goes to show a decent, dirty old pub can
still work," he says.
"I think the proof is in the pudding after 20 years."
A: 23 East Row, Canberra city
P: 6162 1581
When Nirvana were first booked to play the ANU
Bar they were yet to crack the mainstream.
Though they were touted by those in the know
as an act to watch, few suspected they would
go on to be one of the biggest bands in history.
By the time the 1992 show rolled around, Nevermind
was topping the charts worldwide, and the packed venue,
smashed windows and thousands of desperate fans
battling to get in that ensued are now legendary.
More than 20 years later the ANU Bar continues to
support those emerging artists, both Australian and
international. Bar manager Suranga Abeygunasekara says
several bands who played the ANU as relative unknowns
have gone on to great success.
"A good example is the Black Eyed Peas before they
got really famous, the crowd wasn't that big but now ...
everyone has got to start somewhere."
While Canberra is often overlooked by international acts
passing by on their way from Sydney to Melbourne, the
ANU Bar is one of the places in Canberra where they will
choose to stop. Public Enemy, Weezer and The Dandy
Warhols have all played at the university.
As well as the big names, the ANU Bar also supports the
locals with Canberra bands given support opportunities
for interstate bands.
A: University Avenue, Acton
P: 6125 3660
Since its conversion from a 37-year-old cinema
in 2003, Academy has earned its reputation
as one of the country's top nightclubs,
attracting some of the biggest names in
dance music to the nation's capital.
"Academy has been really focused on bringing the best
dance music and live acts to Canberra," entertainment
and marketing manager Jared Calnan says.
During the past few years, those acts have included
Flo Rida, Calvin Harris and Naughty By Nature. With
a capacity of 650 punters, quality sound and lighting
and a huge cinema screen -- a homage to the venue's
history -- Academy is a favourite for Canberra clubbers.
The club is currently working on renovations,
improving both the look and the function of the venue.
"We've installed new booth seating and a VIP booth
downstairs, we have a brand new state-of-the-art DJ
booth with top-of-the-range monitors," Calnan says.
He says Academy has proven to be so popular
during the last decade because there's nothing
like it in Canberra.
"I think [punters] expect good value entertainment
and an experience that you can't get anywhere else
in Canberra in terms of sound, lighting,"
Though he remains tight-lipped, Calnan says Academy
has plans to bring some of the world's biggest acts to
Canberra over the summer.
"We're spending a lot more money towards the end
of the year and early next year to really raise the
profile of Academy and also the music in Canberra."
A: 15 Bunda Street, Canberra city
P: 6253 2091
Home to the 1244-seat Canberra Theatre and 618-seat
Playhouse, the Canberra Theatre Centre has brought
some of the biggest national and international acts
to Canberra. As well as theatre, dance, comedy and
musicals, the Canberra Theatre hosts an eclectic range of live
music, with Don McLean and Salt n Pepa set to visit this spring.
CANBERRA THEATRE CENTRE
A: Civic Square, Canberra city
P: 6243 5711
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