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Another one bites the dust: Beloved Sydney venue Black Wire Records is closing its doors

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Black Wire

Beloved DIY venue and volunteer-run indie record store in Sydney, Black Wire Records, have announced that they are closing their doors. The news comes just eight months after a month-long closure while they reassessed their future.

blackwire records

Photo: Mess + Noise

Another one bites the dust: Yet another beloved live music venue in Sydney, Black Wire Records, is closing its doors after a few tough years.

Although it is currently unclear what exactly has forced the closure, its an all too familar story in Sydney, one that we continue hearing, again and again.

In August last year, Black Wire revealed that they were closing for a month amidst some “bloody stressful” changes.

A Facebook post announcing the temporary closure read:

“Hello. We are not closing. We have not quite yet been priced out of Sydney real estate by dial-a-picnic shops and pop-up-make-yr-own-miniature-hamburger initiatives. There are, however, some changes happening (bloody stressful ones) and we will be closed throughout August – at this stage set to re-open September. Mailorder will continue as normal. What effect this will all have remains to be seen, but we do have a great hope that things can be held together and, with a bit of luck, even improved (pained optimism, ha). It will definitely be the end of one era though…”

The above situation wasn’t the first time that the venue have revealed concerns about their future. In 2012, owner Tom Scott announced that Black Wire was experiencing the same issues that consistently plague live music venues in Sydney, most notably council compliance requests due to noise complaints.

Situated on Parramatta Rd, between Annandale and Leichhardt, Black Wire Records is a non-profit venue that hosts shows, art exhibitions and poetry readings, driven by a strong community aesthetic and DIY culture.

The venue was born out of a desire to create a space for young, independant artists to cut their teeth, and for the cultivation of local art and culture. Speaking with Mess + Noise in 2012, Scott said that Black Wire’s foundation was in response to a clear lack of support for local culture that he saw in his teens and beyond, “there’s always been really little that is done about supporting or even assisting actual local bands and culture and artists,” he said.

“[Black Wire is] an immediate response to that kind of culture, or lack of culture; that’s essentially where we are coming from. All our experience is from either illegal or grey-area things prior to this, so this is an attempt at creating a space that has at the very least an air of legitimacy and is able to withstand attempts to shut it down – so it’s essentially sustainable.”

However, since opening in 2009. Black Wire has been plagued by the very thing that it attempted to confront: a clear lack of support for local culture. It seems that finally, Scott has admitted defeat.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after the Newtown Social Club revealed it’s closing in April due to Sydney’s “regulatory climate”. These two venues represent a fairly large portion of the live music spectrum in Sydney, yet both are the victims of the same adversary: a city that doesn’t support local culture.

The question of whether its at a government or public level that this severe shortage of support for live music venues lies is perhaps redundant. The problem lies everywhere. Venues like Black Wire are constantly under the guillotine of council compliancy, while businesses like NSC are rendered unsustainable by a regulatory government and a city that doesn’t value or facilitate culture. And it’s getting harder and harder to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Black Wire announced their closure with a gig poster titled ‘Death To Black Wire’ – the show will be help of the 27th of April with Infinite Void, Canine and Orion filling the venue for the last time.

Get down and pay tribute to one of the most vital champions of local art culture in Sydney. And for fuck’s sake, keep going to shows. It’s the most powerful thing you can do to try to keep the cultural flame alive in Sydney.


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March 6, 2017

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