The Death of the Palace

The Palace Theatre in Melbourne is shutting down. This is a terrible thing.

The Palace is, without doubt, one of the best live music venues in the City of Melbourne. I have seen some of the most phenomenal performers in the world on this stage, and have had experiences within these walls that I can call nothing but life-changing.

And they’re knocking it down (without the permits even clearing council as yet) to make a block of flats.

I’ve seen Silverchair here. Basement Jaxx. Foster the People. The Cat Empire (twice). Big Scary. Dappled Cities. The Lumineers. Aqua (yes, Aqua). Florence and the Machine. Sia. Tonight I’m here to see Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

The night I saw The Lumineers I sang louder than I ever have in my life. The band glowed on stage. The energy in the room was crackling.

On a hot, sticky night I saw Florence Welch accidentally kick a glass of water all over a fan in the front row. She got down on her knees to apologise, and pulled off her necklace in order to gift it.

Sia broke my heart into fractured pieces when she dropped her hand and her band started and she launched into Breathe Me.

I’ve been here with countless friends, all of them dear to my heart. I’ve gone for drinks across the road and lined up to get to the front of the stage and have staggered out, exhausted and flush with happiness at the end of some of the most beautiful nights of my life.

Music is important. To me, yes. But in society. Go and read Why Music Matters, right now. Karl Paulnack welcomed students to the Boston Conservatory with this speech, telling them:

You’re here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

Save the Palace. It is an integral part of Melbourne’s music scene. There are other venues, yes, but the bones of this place are creaking with shared joy, community, happiness.

The old girl deserves your love. She has mine.

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