Lansdowne Hotel closure: Proof Sydney is becoming a real joke

Sydney has long become a punching bag for both its residents and rival cities for its slowly deteriorating night-life, now there’s a nail in the coffin.

The recent announcement to end live music at the Lansdowne is a downright shame and you’re damn right Sydney should feel ashamed.

At a time when the music industry needed every lick it could get as we emerge from a two-year hiatus, this recent blow hurts.

And the fact the mecca for up-and-coming acts is being replaced for cheap inner-city accommodation just makes it sting even worse.

While this might just sound like another yahoo in his mid-twenties pissed off his favourite gig spot has been scrapped, the impact the closure of a venue like the Lansdowne can have is significant — and definitely represents a lot more than just a single stage being retired.

Sydney has long become a punching bag for both its residents and rival cities for its slowly deteriorating night-life.

The Lansdowne was one of the favoured beacons of the scene, offering a stellar place for bands and fans to kick it until all hours, knowing they were guaranteed a good time and would be looked after by management, who strongly believed in creating a space for art and culture to flourish.

A brilliant stage, top tier sound gear and a techie that actually cared about what he was doing are all signatures of the Chippendale venue. And the band’s green room overlooking the Broadway intersection was the cherry on the cake.

Now, it appears the owner has succumbed to the Sydney real estate bug, opting to turn the newly-refurbished spot into another floor of hostels on Sydney’s main drag.

Credit to Mary’s Group owners Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham for immediately pulling their pin on their relationship with the establishment upon hearing their project would be turned into a few dozen beds for penny-pinching tourists.

They have emerged through a media scandal in 2021 and somehow still managed to keep afloat through the roughest time for venues in recent history.

It’s sad state of affairs for musicians in Australia’s biggest city, where in a perfect world, venues like the Lansdowne could exist on every other corner.

I remember playing a show at the Gladstone Hotel, just around the corner from the Lansdowne, in early March 2020. We all wondered if it would be the last show of its kind just as the virus started to filter through the city.

A day later, widespread restrictions were put in place. I recall having doomsday scenarios running through my head, wondering if that was the last gig we’d play without looking out to masks.

Even before lockdowns, the music industry was a touch-and-go business, with many forced to work other jobs to keep a balanced cash flow in quieter times.

Whatever the case, we knew we could rely on the Lansdowne to be there to keep the neighbours up with overdriven guitars, when we finally emerged from the s**tstorm.

What a bastard that isn’t the case.

Originally published as Impending closure of another iconic venue shows Sydney becoming a real joke

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