For many in attendance, it was quite likely the first time they had entered a church in a long, long while.
Melbourne’s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral was transformed into an immersive performance space for the length of Melbourne Music Week, and any doubts that were held about the ability of this space to host live music were quickly quashed.
It is seemingly becoming a motif of Melbourne Music Week to utilise unique spaces and transform them into grand, subversive hubs. In 2016, the event series took over the State Library in a marvellous fashion, and their use of the cathedral this year did not disappoint. Churches have been utilised for live music performance in Tasmania as part of Dark Mofo for some time now, and it seems as though Melbourne Music Week have taken a nod from this initiative when selecting their flagship venue for 2017. As society gradually moves towards being quantifiably more secular, spaces like churches will need to have more versatility in their use – for that reason, I’m sure this won’t be the last event we see in a Melbourne church.
There was something oddly beautiful about a group of young people dancing on pews and drinking beers at two in the morning under the watchful gaze of a looming christ on the cross. The way that the moody lighting of the venue danced on the stained glass window panes, and the way that the sound reverberated off the immeasurably high ceilings, created a surreal and transformative experience that could not be matched by traditional music venues. Artists like Sampa The Great, Fortunes and Banoffee shined in the space – the grand, larger than life music of these artists standing side by side with the grandness of the church created a stunning balance. When DJ Hell or Jacques Greene filled the space with their tunes and turned it into a club, it was thrilling and exhilarating – the juxtaposition of the debaucherous atmosphere created and the beauty of the venue was stark, and affecting. The brutal, yet beautiful drone of Taipan Tiger Girls was enormous as it thundered around the walls of one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Melbourne Music Week’s takeover of St. Paul’s Cathedral was truly a glorious thing to behold – have a scroll through our gallery to get a feel for the remarkable space, also featuring some shots from Melbourne Music Week at Melbourne Town Hall, with Loose Tooth and friendships.