MEMO Music Hall’s professionally-made live streamed gigs are a revelation

MEMO Music Hall’s professionally-made live streamed gigs are a revelation

Words by Tom Parker

MEMO is revolutionising the regular live streamed concert experience.

For some artists, the current live stream revolution has provided them with a unique opportunity to promote themselves in a more stripped-back, intimate manner. Taking things to the comfort of their own home has allowed them to broadcast a more raw and relatable side of themselves.

But the nature of the live stream has intrinsically taken away from the quality of the sound with some sets simply relying on a smartphone microphone as the carrier. St Kilda’s beloved live music institution MEMO Music Hall has looked to change this – in collaboration with Renegade Films, the guys behind RocKwiz, the venue has been broadcasting live concerts with complete setups from their very own bandroom in a safe, socially-distant manner. The only catch – there’s no crowd.

The likes of Kate Ceberano, Renee Geyer, The Black Sorrows and Sunshine & Disco Faith Choir have performed over the last few weeks and on Saturday May 30, revered seven-piece brass troupe Horns of Leroy will make their live stream debut when they perform alongside the inimitable thando.

For Horns of Leroy bandleader Travis Woods, watching The Black Sorrows’ performance ignited a spark. Prior hesitations around live stream concerts due to social distancing and quality were allayed as he was assured MEMO prioritised standards.

Horns of Leroy have a strong working relationship with Joe Camilleri, the horn section have featured on his last two albums – The Black Sorrows’ Citizen John and Bakelite Radio’s Rosary of Tears.

“We’ve performed with Joe many times over the years so we’ve been lucky enough to see the magic live. After watching The Black Sorrows on live stream I was immediately taken back at how well the show translated from having a physical audience versus having a digital audience. This is obviously a huge credit to Joe as a performer but also MEMO and the producers of the live stream.

“It wasn’t what I was expecting – they just had really good sound, good show, good videography, good lighting and it just blew me away in comparison to everything else I’ve been seeing where people have just been filming things on their phone in their bedroom.”

Having frequented MEMO Music Hall as a performer and punter many times, Woods and the team at MEMO quickly teamed up to secure a date. For Woods and his band, the live stream show gives them an opportunity to get back together again and do what they do best.

“It got to about last week and I kind of went, ‘Oh shit, we haven’t played together or even seen each other for the last couple of months with the lockdown restrictions in place’,” Woods continues. “So we got together for a responsible rehearsal and were straight back into it. We’re so used to seeing each other at least once every week, it was really nice to see everyone hanging out together again, and the songs came back to us like the forced two-month hiatus never even happened. It’s going to be a cracking show on Saturday.”

To have acclaimed vocalist and longtime collaborator thando alongside them ensures the performance is especially momentous. The Zimbabwean-born and Melbourne based singer-songwriter featured on Horns of Leroy’s 2020 album Big Night, has been gracing stages around Australia for several years, and with her electric presence and powerhouse vocals, she is solidifying her status as Australia’s newest First Lady of Soul.

Horns of Leroy’s performance on Saturday comes as the first of two live streamed shows at MEMO this weekend. On Sunday, a tribute to David Bowie titled Bowie: Golden Years will take place with the likes of Boom Crash Opera’s Dale Ryder, Taxiride’s Jason Singh and Tim Watson and Electric Mary’s Rusty Brown teaming up to perform some of Bowie’s most memorable hits.

In ensuing weeks, an ABBA tribute show will occur courtesy of Australia’s leading ABBA tribute band, BABBA. Then MEMO will welcome renowned comics the Scared Weird Little Guys to the stage in a rare appearance from the duo.

That’s just the start – with other shows already announced and more to follow, it seems MEMO has asserted itself as the go-to Melbourne venue for professional-standard live streamed concerts.

Horns of Leroy will perform as part of MEMO Music Hall’s live streamed concert series on Saturday May 30. Tickets start at $12 from here. Head to MEMO’s website to check out all the other live streamed gigs they have coming up.

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