It’s been no secret that 2012 has been quite a disappointing year for live music venues in Victoria.

Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen Geelong icon The Nash being forced to close due to ‘structural instability’, Thornbury’s The Prague cancelling all future shows due to a ‘difficult economic climate’, Smith Street’s Blue Tile Lounge closing after six years of music servitude; and most prominently, Melbourne’s late night institution Pony will end its operations by the end of the year, but not before a live music marathon on December 1st.

In some much-needed good news for Victoria’s music scene, a new live venue has recently opened it’s doors in Northcote.

Level 2, located on the corner of Arthurton Road and High Street, played host to local hard rockers Heaven The Axe on its opening night last weekend.

The new live music room and nightclub has a 500 person capacity, and will feature ‘Live n Local’ bands on Thursday nights, as The Age‘s Sticky Carpet reports.

The music venue is perhaps a better fit for the location than its previous inhabitants, with an adult entertainment complex formerly occupying the space, which, in an unfortunate turn of events, is located on the level above a children’s play centre connected to the property.

While still not an ideal fit (the heavy metal bands might have to keep it down a bit), we think it’s a definite step up from the strip club, which awkwardly used to be directly above the Clowning Around Playcentre on Arthurton Road.[do action=”pullquote”]The new live music room and nightclub has a 500 person capacity, and will feature ‘Live n Local’ bands on Thursday nights[/do]

Level 2 doesn’t seem to be too worried about keeping its previous tenants on the down-low, with strip-poles still obviously on display in the venue.

The new venue is just around the corner from Northcote Social Club, whose owners recently announced the opening of a sister venue, the appropriately titled Newton Social Club, in Sydney.

The proposed site for the Newton Social Club is the location of the now defunct Sandringham Hotel, which in a controversial move was sold by Bankwest, without owner Tony Townsend’s knowledge, with the former owner now saying he plans to seek damages from the bank, stating that “even though we would say the bank did not have the right to move in in the first place or to appoint a receiver, if that is proven then the whole lot of this is illegal”.

The news also follows on from the opening of Melbourne’s newest (most eccentrically titled) live venue, with The Rare And Reclusive, Oft Neglected, Lesser Spotted Mallard (or the catchy acronym TRARONLSM) beginning operations earlier this month, along with North Melbourne’s Public Bar, which is being resurrected by owners of fellow live music hot spot, Fitzroy’s Old Bar, after rescuing it from the market as a potential residential development.

The new owners also hold a 15-year lease on the pub, as well as following the model of its sister bar by hosting live music from Wednesday through Sunday every week. Co-owner Liam Matthews saying, “we hope to have live music every day that we trade – same at The Old Bar. We will start by opening three or four days a week until we find our feet then blow it out as much as we can handle. I’d suggest we will end up at some point being open seven days a week.”

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