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The Tote Last Drinks Ever

with Eddie Current Suppression Ring, Guttersnipes, Kamikaze Trio, Dynamo, Bombshells, Dave Graney & the Lurid Yellow Mist, The Nation Blue, Dan Kelly's Dream Band, The Onyas, Legends of Motorsport, Beaches, Hoss, The Town Bikes, Precious Jules, The Meanies, Spiderbait, The Drones, DJ Myles
Monday 18th January 2010

Apologies to The Dacios, Spencer P Jones & the Escape Committee, Deaf Wish, Digger and the Pussycats, The Stabs, Johnny Casino, The Exotics, The Breadmakers for not getting photos as it just got too hard to get up to the Cobra Bar and get back down again later in the day.

Unlike a lot of other people who have written about the Tote, I never spent that much time in the front bar and as I live across town from Collingwood I had to plan my gigs at the Tote several weeks in advance. I was thinking the other day that now I don't really need to even get the No. 246 bus up Punt Rd any more as the only reason I caught it was to go to the Tote and I probably wouldn't get off the No. 86 tram at Johnston St either.

The gigs I had made it to at the venue have all been great and if it wasn't for the Tote, I wouldn't have had one of my photos exhibited in the Melbourne Museum last year.

I had been in on the Saturday for one last drink and wasn't sure I was going to make it as the tickets were snapped up pretty quickly on Sunday. Luckily, I was able to make it and thanked Amanda and the front bar crew by bringing them a present. Due to the high public interest, community broadcasters PBS, RRR and 3CR agreed to broadcast the last four hours from the Tote so everyone who couldn't make it had a chance to hear.

Starting off proceedings for the day, Noni Dowling, Sean Greenaway's partner made a touching speech and spread his ashes on the stage and venue's sticky carpet.

Eddie Current Suppression Ring started off the day well and I enjoyed them even before I actually knew who they were (I hadn't seen them live before.)

Guttersnipes played great even though by their own admission they were a bit rusty due to not having played for four years. I hope their guitarist found his cross at the end of the night also.

Upstairs to the Cobra Bar Kamikaze Trio went off for the couple of songs I saw them for. The performance area and band space upstairs filled up pretty quickly and I didn't want to take up too much room for people who wanted to get in so I left early.

Cheers to Phil, who handed me and a few other people streamers to throw at Dynamo at the beginning of their set. I hadn't seen them for a while and was wondering how they were doing. The streamers hung around for a while onstage, but were gone by later in the night.

I got a surprise to see Bernie who I remember from the Hybernators gigs playing with the Bombshells. It was his first gig with the band also which was great.

Dave Graney & the Lurid Yellow Mist played a good set and I said hello to Dave and Clare later in the day.

By this stage in the day I was very hungry and had to go down to Smith St for an early dinner, which meant I missed seeing the Dacios, but I could hear them on the way back.

Luckily I caught the end of the Nation Blue's set and enjoyed the lead singer throwing his guitar around as I remember from a few years ago.

Upstairs I caught the first song for Dan Kelly's Dream Band who were very popular and I hope to see them again in the future.

The Onyas were great and I enjoyed the heckles from the crowd "take it off!" and "you remind me of Jennifer Hawkins!" amongst others. I did try to get up to see Spencer P Jones, but it was already full and I ended up giving up on getting back upstairs except for taking photos of Myles DJing like I promised.

Legends of Motorsport have a new drummer it seems as I can't imagine the old one wanting to shave off his beard and afro. It was good to see them again and I will try to see them again with Barbarion in a few weeks time.

Beaches were a new band for me, but I thought they were interesting and I will try to see them again in the future. Cheers to Sophie and Ash and I hope your other gigs go well.

I last saw Hoss a couple of years ago at the Greyhound Hotel's front bar when it was actually a good venue. The audience was a bit disappointed that the band didn't play "My Pal" at the end of their set, but there turned out to be a good reason for this.

Bruce Milne's speech was inspiring and it was great to see Amanda's hard work get acknowledged over the radio and people to cheer for her and Bruce and everyone involved.

I first met the Town Bikes at the Tote where they were doing a kid's show for the "cry baby" sessions and I had come to see the band GIT. I was a really big fan of theirs for a few years after and even gave them a going away present at their Cook Off gig at the same venue the next year. Even though I don't get to see them much these days, it was great to see them perform one last time at the Tote and I got to see their new routine, which was great and took heaps of photos.

Precious Jules was a bit of a mystery until talk around the place confirmed it was a duo of Kim Salmon and drummer. Was a good set that seemed to be over very quickly.

Things started getting a bit rowdy during the Meanies set as to be expected, but everyone was having a good time and I even saw Lance Petre rush to the pit so he could join in with a big grin on his face. Link Meanie had a good crowd surf and they finished their set with their first recorded set.

Spiderbait were a last minute substitution for the Cosmic Psychos due to Ross Knight injuring himself and they played as a two piece with special guests Michael from the Guttersnipes and Wally Meanie. Everyone was happy and they got to sing along with Old Man Sam and Black Betty just like the old days.

I admit I hadn't seen the Drones for about six years but I had been following how they had been going. The room overflowed with people when they started and each song was met with a bigger cheer than the last. For the very last song of their set and the last song ever at the Tote, Joel Silbersher was called up to the stage and the starting chords for GOD's "My Pal" and it was on for young and old. It was like the sea rushing in and there was nowhere for me to go except on the stage, everyone was enjoying themselves and Joel even ended up crowd surfing while having a drink.

After they finished some people left, but a lot of people didn't want to leave and hung around until security pushed everyone out of the beer garden, then out of the band room and finally into the front bar. I was hoping to split a taxi going my way, but I ended up leaving around 2am and walking to the city, which I hadn't done since Mach Pelican's tribute night to Billy Bass Wolf a few years back.


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