ANU Bar Finale @ ANU Bar, Saturday June 17

Photo by Matt Sandford.

How to celebrate and succinctly sum up decades of Canberra music history? It’s tricky to plan and control it, but it took care of itself. The acts showcased the future and history of Canberra music, exposing the great, and varied, scene we have.

Highlights for the future included Jack Biilmann & The Bronze Whalers; the three-piece expanded on Biilmann’s solo shows with a more Americana/blues sound early in the day. Having previously enjoyed Mondecreen playing to a tiny crowd at Transit, it was great to experience them in a larger venue and bounce along with a few others. The brightest star for our future though is Citizen Kay. His performance had the energy and aggression of some of the heavier acts on the bill, and he’s grown in confidence since I last saw him supporting Illy. With his passion, conviction, energy and gratitude for being on the bill he garnered a few new fans from the (predominantly) nostalgic crowd.

For said nostalgists the event belonged to Tonk and Liquid. They drew large crowds and showcased the rockier side of our scene. Sitting superbly on the fence between history and future (hopefully) were Penguin and Super Best Friends. Seeing in dusk, Penguin perfectly combined musical genres, talent and banter to entertain us, and addressed the elephant in the room with their comment, “we thought we’d have to cross a picket line to get in here tonight.” Whilst there was nothing ‘formal’ to celebrate the history of this venue (I wanted old posters, historical timelines and each act covering a previous international artist that’s played here), it was the conversations amongst the crowd that celebrated the history as we discussed our favourite acts and memories of the place over our lifetimes.

As Casual Projects gave us the final ever song at ANU (and Gary called everyone out from the pool tables and bar) I danced and stared up and around this building as if I was at a wake for a loved one. Farewell my beloved ANU Bar.

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