The B.East are stopping at nothing to ensure their sixth birthday bash is bloody brilliant
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The B.East are stopping at nothing to ensure their sixth birthday bash is bloody brilliant

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Six to eight years ago, the Melbourne suburbs of Carlton, East Brunswick and Coburg transitioned from grubby beer-stained slurps of cool, to architecturally aware and contemporary spots with a vintage feel. The bars, restaurants, band venues and pubs that lined streets like Lygon Street had to evolve or dissolve, and these dissolutions were replaced by new hospitality offerings that satisfied a hunger for authentic, multi-faceted cultural experiences.

One such “new-kid-on the-block” to spring up six years ago on Lygon Street – between the Barkly and Edward Street intersections – was The B.East. A lush semi-vegetated facade gives way to a burger joint and bar that doubles as a band venue more nights than it doesn’t.

“It’s such a unique space because it has developed organically yet is perfectly providing an evolution from what was there before to something unassumingly contemporary that is inviting to a new generation,” explains B.East marketing and promotions manager, Pablo Andre. He’s chatting to Beat ahead of the venue’s sixth birthday celebration, which is set to feature an expanded offering of the elements that have placed the venue in a rare air: performances from Bob Log III, The Stiffys, Pam Salmon, plus drag act The Beastie Girls. It also comes combined with drink offerings from East 9th Brewing / Doss Blockos, el Jimador Tequila and Young Henrys to name just a few. Plus, as Andre explains, “there’ll be burgers coming out of the kitchen and wings and other stuff all night – the kitchen’s open real late.”

The B.East’s food offering is a thing of both pleasure and pain for Andre. It’s because in his other life – as lead singer and guitarist for local punk band Mesa Cosa –  he’s been sometimes faced with the dilemma of whether to eat his beloved Holy Cheezus burger before he goes on stage when playing at the venue.

“Don’t do it. Even if you are really hungry and think you can deal with it,” he says. “Our drummer seems to never learn, he’ll munch down a burger and then not even halfway through a set look at me forlornly and say ‘what have I done?’”

The Stiffys singer and guitarist, Jason Leigh, now chimes in that his band doesn’t eat before a show so as to leave room for all the drinks. Pressed on how many drinks The Stiffys need during a gig, the frontman of the self-proclaimed number-one party band in Melbourne has a good story on the topic.

“This year we were playing at Falls Festival on a stage that gave us as much Jack Daniels as we could handle and then more. It was just insane,” Leigh explains. “Our blood alcohol level would have been nudging 99 per cent. We had consumed so many Jack & Cokes we legitimately thought we’d wake up with diabetes.   

“So we finish playing and head to the guest bar in the backstage area and the first thing we see is Liam Gallagher standing at a coke machine.” So what did the, again self-proclaimed, ‘biggest fucking rock stars in Melbourne’ say to the biggest rock star in the world? “Nothing, we just froze. The party boys had become shy boys,” Leigh says.

With his cocksure bravado well and truly tempered Leigh concedes, “that was actually a shit story.”