As previously reported, Aussie rock legends continued the fight for the legendary live music pub venue The Sando by taking the fight to the very doorstep of the bank that’s forced The Sandringham Hotel into receivership with another musical rally to show their support.
Fronted by Doc Neeson, former singer for The Angels, the self-styled Dynosaurs – featuring Mark Gable of Choirboys on guitar & vocals, Steve Edmunds, Mick O’Shea on drums and Mark Evans (AC/DC) on bass – joined forces to perform outside the Commonwealth Bank’s Headquarters in Sydney’s CBD yesterday afternoon – touted as the ‘Eve of the Sale of the Sando’.
Neeson and the Dynosaurs led the gathered protestors in a singalong of The Angels classic “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again”, punctuated by chants for the bankers to “get fucked, fuck off” (and you can view some footage of the event above).
The event, which was given the go-ahead by local authorities and council, took place at 4pm yesterday the band took to the back of a truck, recreating the performance from the August 27 rally for the Sando, to perform in protest at Commonwealth Bank Australia’s head office located at 48 Martin Place, called the Money Box building.
Why the Money Box? “Well this building was the symbol of good, honest and responsible banking for decades,” writes organisers behind Save Our Sando, the group that’s been spearheading the protests to rescue the legendary live music venue from potential financial ruin following some allegedly shady business practices by Commonwealth Bank – who are forcing the venue out of business by raising the monthly mortgage on the venue from $14,000 to $48,000 a month.
Joining the supergroup’s performance was a selection of speakers, who were simultaneously broadcasted live by Tilt Vision over the internet. The talks illuminated on some of the practices that have led to the fragmentation of The Sando’s business structure as well as the damaging knock-on effects to Sydney’s live music culture.
But reports from the venue’s Facebook page today suggest that the planned webcast was scuppered by “a jamming device”. Allegedly, “a jamming device was set-up near the right side of stage near the Tilt Vision broadcast centre and the operator posed as a journalist.”
Adding that, “we have footage of the person involved and we now have legal advice regards and the charges and jail term that applies for this sort of activity.” The venue is now seeking the individual to charge them, “if you were there yesterday and saw a tall thin man with a odd looking device on a tri-pod please send us your images or footage the more the merrier.”
They also openly wonder: “who or what company would want the speeches removed and any reference to names or why we were there removed from the international transmission?” No prizes for guessing.
The story has ballooned ever since Commonwealth Bank purchased the now defunct Western Australian brand BankWest – who originally showed up at the venue without warning with the news for the venue’s owner, Tony Townsend, to pay the remaining $3.6 million of the loan within a week or else both Townsend’s and The Sando’s assets would be liquidated to pay for the loan.
According to The Sando’s Townsend, the bank’s actions are said to be part of what it called ‘Project Magellan’ – a program set up by BankWest after it was taken over by Commonwealth Bank to reduce their debt risk and move marginal businesses outside their lending guidelines.
Of course BankWest see things somewhat differently. “This customer continued to be in default throughout 2009 and 2010, including non-payment of interest on the debt and also non-payment of Land Tax to the NSW Office of State Revenue,” they told Tone Deaf after last month’s Save The Sando rally.
Things took a very ugly turn last week, when Townsend accused the bank and receivers of personally attacking his family. “My very sick sister ‘Louise’ and her secure dwellings are now under attack. As such her life is now under threat due to these arseholes’ behaviour.”
“This is a despicable act and so damaging to her (both the receiver & bank are aware of her issues), she could in fact end up re-admitted to hospital if they don’t back off,” said Townsend in a statement.
“It’s no joke this is hideous behaviour and spiteful action by Ferrier Hodgson/BankWest which was ultimately under taken to impact on me,” he continued. “This is totally unacceptable. We all need to realise Commonwealth Bank is very, very big, we are so small. Together however (in numbers) we are equally. Stand by us please.”
The fight to save The Sando has an emotional resonance over the potential loss of another live music venue in Sydney, coming amidst a backdrop of massive changes to the liquor and live music industry in Sydney, since issues surrounding the industry came to a head following the death of teenager Thomas Kelly in a senseless attack in Sydney’s King Cross in July.
The issue of alcohol-related violence has now become a political platform for pokie-lined pub venues and politicians alike, with the New South Wales Premier keen to reintroduce either a 1am or 2am lock out in the CBD.
The move comes amongst other measures to crack down on licensed venues, such as a ban on glass and the sale of RTDs and shots after midnight. Also part of the new restrictions, on Friday and Saturday nights venues will not be able to sell alcohol in the hour before closing.