What is up with all the cool venues closing?

Those of you who are new to all this won’t necessarily know what I’m talking about. But people from the old guard will know that Pretoria has lost some of its best live music venues over the last couple of years. What I am talking about here is not the Square. I am not disputing that that little corner of sin lives on in continuous debauchery, hopefully for many years to come. But the Square cannot be the be all and end all of good party places in Pretoria (I know some of you will disagree with me, but give it a year and we’ll talk), and it seems all the other ones are disappearing. Speak to anyone who is a Pretorian, who has lived here for more than two years, and they will have the same complaint I do.

In my head I trace it back to the loss of Zeplins. Zeplins was a kind of circus of rock and roll. A Mecca for every kind of stranger. It was one of a kind, and nothing since has even come close to recreating its magic. Then we had Hotbox Studios, a modern day secret garden, a hedonist heaven, an alternative cave of wonders. Hotbox had the best parties in town, for a while. They still have the occasional party there, little tributes to lost glory, but it’s hardly the same. Then, Tings and Times, the home of hippies and reggae, the resting place for the high and the happy, closed its doors. And while a version of Tings (bastardised, without the live music element, less cool, but still pleasant) lives on in the Eastern suburbs, it cannot compare to the original. Even Cheeky Monkey Lynwood, which was the reigning live music venue for a while, bit the dust.

What survives, what we are left with, is a single awesome live music venue, Arcade Empire, and one or two not so great ones.

So, what is a poor boy to do? Shuffle between Arcade Empire and Aandklas, with the occasional foray into the Square proper? I have no problems with any of these places (everybody knows I practically live in Aandklas), but there was a time, a very short time, where most of the venues I mentioned were open at the same time. And this made Pretoria a great place to party. The choice of being able to rock out at Zeplins or chill out at Tings, or of seeing Yesterday’s Pupil at Hotbox on the same night as Tidal Waves are playing at Tings is what made it so cool. I fear (the horror!) that Pretoria might be losing its cool.

Here is what I need: I need someone to open the next great Pretoria venue, a venue that someone will write about one day, with the same frustrated nostalgia that I am using now. A venue that you can stumble out of on a Friday night after watching your favourite band and say, “that is the greatest place on earth”.

Until that happy day, we’ll have to make due with what we’ve got. In the meantime, read the Perdeby. Read out interview with Die Antwoord. As always, they were charmingly zef. Read all our reviews. Read the article and then go onto the website and read our preview of tonight’s Varity Cup game. Ag, read all of it, just to be safe.

And then go party.

Original music, for original people

Beyers

PS if you know about a venue that I don’t, a secret venue, undiscovered and unnoticed, let me know @PerdebyEditor.

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