There’s a new live music venue opening in Melbourne this weekend: ‘Artists will love it’

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There’s a new live music venue opening in Melbourne this weekend: ‘Artists will love it’

Odeon Richmond
Words by Sarah Duggan

From Athens to Melbourne, Odeon Richmond is enlivening Richmond's live music scene.

Richmond, one of Melbourne’s vibrant arts hubs, has long been a mecca for live music enthusiasts.

Home to the Melbourne Olympic Park precinct, where massive sports events and grand live shows unfold, and dotted with iconic venues like The Corner Hotel, this suburb thrums with life and creativity.

Keep up with the latest music news, features, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Strolling through its streets, one might stumble upon the statue of Aussie music icon Molly Meldrum, a fitting tribute in a place where music history is written daily. On a Friday night, Richmond is the place to be, a kaleidoscope of sounds and scenes that capture the heart of Melbourne’s dynamic cultural landscape.

Yet, the live music scene in Melbourne has faced severe challenges recently. The closure of some of the city’s most beloved small music venues has left a void in the hearts of music lovers. Australia has lost over 1,300 live music venues since the pandemic, a heartbreaking toll on musicians, venue owners, and the countless fans who find solace and joy in live performances.

Amidst these challenging times for live music, a new hope shines: Odeon, a new multi-purpose music venue and bar, is set to open its doors in Richmond. Spearheaded by industry veterans Eleni Tzaros and Bruce Butler, Odeon promises to rejuvenate the local music scene with a diverse array of musical nights and events, each steeped in unique themes.

Eleni Tzaros and Bruce Butler are no strangers to the entertainment world. Both are giants in their fields, united by a profound love for music. During their travels last year, they visited the original Odeon in the Acropolis of Athens, the oldest still-running venue in the world, a 2,000-plus-year-old testament to the enduring power of live performance. For Tzaros, who is of Greek heritage, this visit was profoundly moving.

Upon returning to Melbourne, they learned that POME, a beloved local venue, was up for sale, another casualty of the pandemic. Having shared many special moments there, Tzaros and Butler decided to take on the venue and transform it into Odeon. Tzaros, a renowned DJ in Melbourne for over two decades, is the driving force behind Odeon and her passion for music and bibrant energy infuse every corner of the new venue.

Butler’s experience in the music industry spans over four decades. Starting in music retail at Gaslight Records, then owned by Michael Coppel, he ventured into touring and promotions, managing various artists along the way.

He was instrumental in setting up Virgin Records in Australia in 1984 and later returned to Melbourne at Molly Meldrum’s request to help establish a record label and work on Countdown Revolution. Currently a respected educator at Collarts and RMIT, Butler’s rich tapestry of experiences and connections within the industry make him an invaluable part of Odeon Richmond’s foundation.

“The book is in the works,” Butler laughs, reflecting on his career. “My students love the anecdotes. It really helps with the teaching because they’re being taught by someone who lived it.”

Set to officially open on June 1st, Odeon Richmond will kick off with live music from Clouds’ Jodi Phillis and an acoustic set from Stephanie Cherote. The venue is designed to be multi-functional, boasting a brilliant, crystal-clear sound system and top-notch soundproofing. Whether it’s hosting a rave or traditional Greek music, the venue is equipped to handle it all with finesse.

Tzaros and Butler envision Odeon Richmond as an industry-friendly haven. With Butler’s university students using it for performance nights and artists holding album launches, the venue aims to be a hub for artists, fans, and industry professionals alike. “We’re creating a venue that, as punters, we would want to go to and hang out in,” Butler says. “I think artists will love it because we are very artist-friendly. My years in the industry mean that I am very geared towards artists’ needs, and I want it to be a place where the industry will want to hang out and see new artists.”

Odeon Richmond is not just a new venue; it’s a new heartbeat for Richmond’s thriving arts scene. As the doors open and the music starts to play, it stands as a testament to resilience, passion, and the enduring love for live music.

Odeon Richmond can be found at 267 Swan Street, Richmond. For booking, email [email protected], and you can check out their website HERE to keep up with the latest and see what’s on!