When I dropped in last night the Chain Gang art exhibition in the cavernous spaces above King O’Malleys was already going off the hook with a huge crowd in attendance (as pictured).
We’re hearing reports there was a near riot with security and police trying to shut proceedings down.
Anyone in attendance want to fill us all in?
Pics and reports to firstname.lastname@example.org or just leave it in the comments.
UPDATE 1: TripleJ’s John Barrington made this engimatic Tweet last night:
Saw a #punk almost #riot in #Canberra! Got some #Assassins88 after bouncers intervened then we left quietly #police
UPDATE 2: Bloviate had this to add:
The event was going great, although we just got way too many people, and various things that come with massive crowds were hard to control and we ended up getting shut down. The security unplugged a band mid song, which led to some pushing and shoving. The cops came shortly afterwards and we all eased our way out.
UPDATE 3: The event’s facebook listing has been removed, we’re trying to find out what’s happening as it is an excellent art exhibition.
UPDATE 4: The rest of the exhibition has now been cancelled. Well done ACT Government, the first victims of your new laws has been an art show.
UPDATE 5: Culturazi has provided this account of proceedings:
It was with mixed feelings that I left the Chain Gang show above King O’Malleys last night. For those that haven’t heard, lurking above the Kingo is a large auditorium with an even larger rooftop space adjacent. Formerly a church of the happy clappy variety, it was recently bought by the Kingo and the owner, Peter Barclay, has been shopping around for a use for it. Incidentally, the CMC was interested in taking on the lease but was beaten to the punch by a firm of accountants who’ll be setting up shop there in the new year. In the meantime, Barclay apparently offered it for use to the Canberra School of Art and so was conceived Chain Gang, a multi arts show with visual art, live bands and electronica.
I heard it said that it was ‘not like a Canberra gig’ by a fellow with a jaundiced view of the local scene, but it certainly was a bit of a stand-out show, the novelty of the environs, the variety of entertainment and the demographics of the audience (where do all those young hipsters hide normally?) added up to a fairly thrilling critical mass of youthful exuberance not often seen. And then, depending on your point of view, there was either an appropriate climax or a disturbing denouement. With midnight fast approaching, security guards began attempting to shepherd punters downstairs. Meanwhile the last band was set up and ready to play and the auditorium was filling up. Enter the security guards, exit the power plugs from their sockets and commence a bizarre scene, apparently including some unwarranted biffo from the bouncers, and ending with the security retreating from a testosterone charged mass of bellowing youf. The band started up again, but it was short lived, the arrival of a dozen or so police signalling the end. The ensuing exodus took about ten minutes.
To the uninterested observer, it was all very entertaining I’m sure, but for those with an interest in building a viable music scene in Canberra, it could be seen as not entirely helpful. One would expect Peter Barclay to reconsider patronising the arts in future. Oh well, you get that.