Let There Be Rock celebrates Gold Coast’s big three decades of music

For three decades from the 1970s to 1999, the Gold Coast was a hot-spot on the bucket-list of Australia’s live music touring circuit. With iconic venues like The Playroom, Bombay Rock, The Patch, Jet Club and Fisherman’s Wharf, the Coast played host to some of the hottest and most notorious international and Australian music acts; as well as some of our best local talent. From The Ramones and Cold Chisel at The Playroom, to INXS and The Go-Betweens at Bombay Rock; and Nirvana and The Violent Femmes at Fisho’s; it’s time to turn back the clock and celebrate our city’s musical heyday.

HOTA – Home of the Arts is rolling out a unique exhibition, opening 8 December, called ‘Let There Be Rock’. This exhibition celebrates the heyday of hard-core rock and entertainment through stories, memorabilia, photos and footage, some of which was contributed from local music-lovers just like you. Alongside the physical exhibition is a program of music, movies and conversation celebrating rock – past, present and future.

Opening night (8 Dec) will feature live music and a pop-up beergarden, there’ll be a show starring Nick Barker (5 Jan) exploring the story of Bon Scott, a special Pub Choir (10 Jan) where strangers learn to sing a song in three-part harmony in just 90 minutes, a screening of ‘Her Sound, Her Story’ (15 Feb), a performance and intimate conversation with Nick Cave (which sold out in an hour) and a series of three evenings of conversations in a Gallery Up Late program (14 Dec, 18 Jan, 15 Feb).

The kids are catered for as well. Regurgitator dish up a g-rated performance for kids and their grown-ups (12 Jan) as they prepare for the release of their album written especially for kids, plus there’s an air guitar spectacle (9 – 11 Jan) and workshops for making holy shirts (8 Dec) and rock wigs (12 Dec).

Let There Be Rock program highlights

Exhibition opening night: Let There Be Rock: kicking things off on Saturday 8 December, there’ll be a panel conversation with “Dog” Wiliams (of Doghouse fame) and Archie Cox (who owned the Playroom when it was forced to close) as well as live music and plenty of networking with people who are pretty passionate about the city’s live music venues. Saturday 8 December from 4.00pm.

Live + Local: Gold Coast music photography: featuring the photography of Blank GC photographers, this photography exhibition runs alongside Let There Be Rock across the same dates. It features the photography of Nadia Achilles, Leigh Kelly, Dan Maynard, Danny Santangelo, Leisen Standen and Pete Wheeler. Saturday 8 December – 17 February 2019

For the kids: there’s an air guitar workshop over three days which preps kids for a performance on stage before Regurgitator’s kids show on 12 January. The air guitar workshops, for kids 8 – 12, are a fun physical program for kids hosted by Kate Harman of The Farm. No music theory, no bossy teachers, no chords – just a whole lot of rock n’ roll head banging fun. Kids have to apply to join the workshops. If that’s not enough for the kids, there’s also a hands-on artslab making rock wigs on 12 December.

Gallery Up Late: Three nights across the exhibition will see the gallery open late for evening viewings of the exhibition as well as a series of rock talks. On 14 December, Dave Graney, Nikki McWatters and Stuarte Coupe will talk about Australian rock in the 80s and the role Gold Coast played in the national touring circuit. On 18 January, Dan Condon, Julie Solomon and Eliza Klatt (Eliza and the Delusionals) will talk about the city today – its fresh artists, festivals and music industry folk. And on 15 Feb a panel comprising San Mei, Samantha Morris, Alethea Beetson, Lincoln Savage and Jake Wilton, Chris Lamaro and Brett Selwood will explore where the Gold Coast scene is headed next.

Pub Choir: a rather large group of complete strangers will learn a song in three-part harmony in just 90 minutes and then perform it twice. No audition, no solos, no commitments, no sheet music, no worries. Pub Choir hits HOTA on 10 January from 7.00pm.

Needless to say, we’re pretty pumped for ‘Let There Be Rock’, fam.

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Let There Be Rock opens 8 December and runs until 17 February. Get the full program of events at the HOTA – Home of the Arts website.

Image: Maker unknown, Playroom neon sign c.1980-1989, neon, electrical component, steel
Collection, Gallery at HOTA. Gifted by the citizens of the Gold Coast to future generations 2017

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