Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Extinction of Pub Rock

Angus Young, lead guitarist of the hard rock b...Image via WikipediaBy Ashley A Purcell

Most people reading this article will undoubtedly know the bands AC/DC, Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil, The Living End and INXS, some of whom will be avid lovers of the music these bands are responsible for. However by the same token, most people reading this probably aren't aware of the fact that these bands all have one thing in common (other than being quintessentially Australian). Each one of the aforementioned bands is a product of Australian "Pub Rock."

For all those unfamiliar with the term, pub rock began in the 60's as the various state governments decided to reduce the amount of legal restriction relating to the sale of alcohol in pubs and other licensed venues. With this, pubs decided to put on live bands in an effort to impress locals, and so began the era of pub rock.

During this period, various pubs made a name for themselves attracting the best live music talent had to offer. In addition, due to the sheer number of pubs offering live music, bands could tour Australia cheaply, jumping from pub to pub enthralling crowds with their quintessential brand of Australian music. Although it is debatable, the prevailing belief is that pub rock was had the biggest influence on music of the period. Bands played in local pubs, which tended to be relatively small and thus, entry was cheap.

As a result, punters went there for the experience, and not to listen to "brand name" artists which typically is the case these days. The effect of this was that the bands that generated the biggest following were the best (and not the ones seen as "marketable" like the bands of today which are artificially elevated to cult status). It is largely for this reason that people can remember and still have a cult following for bands from the 60's, 70's and 80's yet largely can't remember bands from the 90's and now.

However with the advent of the "popstar" as well as an increasing love of Hip-Hop and Dance Music, pub rock gradually became phased out and replaced by the DJ. In addition to this, due to gentrification (which basically means suburbs getting more expensive) traditional pub rock venues had to close due to local government noise restrictions and a bunch of other reasons. Yet despite the unfortunate demise of pub rock, we are left with some of the most amazing bands and icons of Australian music, which still get a cheer when played by the DJ's of today, as if to salute their music predecessors.

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