There were many poignant moments watching Powderfinger streaming their first show in a decade on Saturday night, but the biggest one was seeing bassist John Collins playing (like all the band members, in isolation) to an empty Fortitude Music Hall, one of two venues he part-owns in Brisbane. The grand 3,300-capacity room opened less than a year ago, and the empty space served as a symbol of what we have lost, what we are missing, and what was at stake.
Live music is a billion-dollar industry in Australia, yet the rooms that host it run on the smell of an oily rag and are in constant danger of being run out of town by governments and developers (Brisbane is fortunate in that both Fortitude Music Hall and The Triffid were built and are co-owned by one of those developers, Scott Hutchinson, a bona fide music tragic). Covid-19 lockdowns will drive many more venues to the wall.
So Powderfinger were back, singer Bernard Fanning told us, to put some smiles on people’s faces. The half-hour gig, watched by close to 100,000 people, aided both music industry charity Support Act and mental health organisation Beyond Blue, with Fanning in northern New South Wales, guitarist Darren Middleton in Melbourne, drummer Jon Coghill on the Sunshine Coast and Collins and lead guitarist Ian Haug in separate locations in Brisbane.… Read more..