For Melbourne, the closure of live music venues continues to feature as a hot, contentious and worrisome trend. You only need to think back 7 years and remember the mass protest, which saw over 2000 people take to the streets in response to the closure of Collingwood’s Tote Hotel. The magnitude of these venues coming under attack is felt deeply for, in Melbourne more than anywhere, we pride ourselves on the cultural past and the activities with which many of us locals engage. So, in response to such themes and concepts, “We Are Lighting”, places the audience in a supposed reality, where you are attending the last night of a live music venue – what is to come next for this place remains unsaid.
Four bands; the first (and main act) is your typical north-side hipsters; the second, a beyond-talent group of teenagers that lift the roof off the venue with their musical prowess; and completing this line-up is a community choir and a brass band. Not only do you traverse musical genres, but also given a slice of our local communities that cuts through generations and brings us together in solidarity.
There are some great moments that surface in this performance, moments that lift the spirit and leave you in awe, the next bring you crashing down, however you walk away with a smile upon your face, a performance with its heart on its sleeve and has the community at heart. It doesn’t feel as though it sets out to challenge or evoke strong responses, or even bring forth a new perception of the reality that our city is right in the thick of these changes. It just presents things as plain fact, and it is with this simplicity of message lie its strongest merit and success. Sure, there a couple of moments where introducing local iconography instead of having a broader or more global focus may foster stronger connections, but that’s just a suggestion. It’s quality work, and the ensemble now just need to relax and revel in the moment.
“We Are Lighting”, is a performance that reacts in perfect measure to the here and the now. Highly original, immersive and entertaining, a recommended experience, this week at Artshouse in North Melbourne.