Crystal Ballroom (Melbourne)
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The Crystal Ballroom (also known as The Ballroom and Seaview Ballroom) was the epi-centre of Melbourne's celebrated Post-Punk music era.
The venue is on the first and second floor of the Seaview Hotel on Fitzroy Street in the inner Melbourne suburb of St Kilda. The venue was run by a succession of Melbourne alternative music promoters from 1978 to 1987, starting with Dolores San Miguel (also promoter at the Esplanade and the Exford Hotels), Laurie Richards (founder of the Tiger Lounge in Richmond and the Jump Club in Fitzroy).
Dolores San Miguel took charge of the venue in August 1978. The first band to play there was JAB, who had relocated from Adelaide. On 2 September 1978, San Miguel took control of the Ballroom and opened it as the "Wintergarden Room". The first gig was headlined by The Boys Next Door (Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Phill Calvert, Tracey Pew and Rowland S. Howard). The Ballroom ran every Saturday night until it was taken over by Laurie Richards in February 1979. Richards renamed the venue the "Crystal Ballroom" (after the ballroom's ornate chandeliers) and ran it until 10 January 1981. San Miguel returned in April 1980 to run weeknight gigs in what she christened the "Paradise Lounge" on the ground floor. After Laurie left, San Miguel co-ran the Crystal Ballroom with Nigel Rennard until a falling out in September 1981. San Miguel left and Rennard ran the venue as the "Seaview Ballroom" until the end of 1983. Dolores returned in 1984 and ran it until 1986. The hotel was closed for business in 1987.
Melbourne's New Wave and Little Band Scene flourished here. The Crystal Ballroom was a staging ground for major Melbourne bands such as The Birthday Party, Models, Hunters and Collectors, as well as visiting Sydney bands INXS, The Laughing Clowns, and Brisbane's The Go-Betweens. International bands who played there include Simple Minds, The Cure, Magazine, The Members, XTC, The Residents, Snakefinger, Iggy Pop and Dead Kennedys.
In 2011, San Miguel published a book titled The Ballroom: The Melbourne Punk & Post Punk Scene. The Crystal Ballroom and its role in Melbourne music is reflected upon by various interview guests on the Dogs In Space bonus DVD documentary We're Living on Dog Food, directed Richard Lowenstein.
- Mangan, John (23 October 2011). "Ballroom blitz", The Age. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
- Wilson, Jake (20 August 2009). "We're Living on Dog Food", The Age. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
(1) Inner City Sound - Post Punk Online Music Archive dedicated to the Clinton Walker book of the same name (Birthday Party Live Recording at the Crystal Ballroom) http://www.innercitysound.com.au/BirthdayParty.html
(2) I Got Drunk at the Crystal Ballroom - Facebook Group http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=131484480063
(3) Birthday Party Song list from Crystal Ballroom 1981 http://australianmusictrade.50webs.com/Bands/BirthdayParty.htm
(4) The Cure - 1980 Tour advertisement with Crystal Ballroom http://www.cure-concerts.de/concerts/1980-08-23.php
(5) Inner City Sound - Book By Clinton Walker http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/190054
(6) Were Living On Dog Food - Documentary Film by Richard Lowenstein http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1490031/
(7) 'Never Say Die' (Story in The Age Newspaper on Australian Punk Movement) http://www.theage.com.au/news/in-depth/never-say-die/2007/05/13/1178994991863.html?page=2
(8) Concerts of The Boys Next Door http://www.nick-cave.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=29
(9) Howard Arkley Exhibition at the NGV - Punk, Primitive and Beyond http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/arkley/education/essays04.html
(10) Melbourne Weekly cover story by Debbie Kruger on Nice Cave, Post-Punk St.Kilda and The Crystal Ballroom http://www.debbiekruger.com/writer/freelance/cave.html
(11) ABC Radio National 'Hindsight' Program: "Do That Dance! Australian Post Punk, 1977-1983" - Broadcast 18 July 2010 http://abc.gov.au/rn/hindsight/stories/2010/2946088.htm
(12) IMDB - Internet Movie Database synopsis of 'We're livin' on Dog Food' documentary which mentions the Crystal Ballroom - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1490031/
(13) San Miguel, Dolores. The Ballroom - The Melbourne Punk and Post-Punk Scene. Melbourne: Melbourne Books, 2011. ISBN 978-1-877096-41-9
(14) The Ballroom: The Melbourne Punk & Post Punk Scene - Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/TheBallroomMemoirbyDoloresSanMiguel