Finding MEMO on Acland Street

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By Daniel Wilson

St Kilda’s Memorial Music Hall has re-launched with a bang, and a new name MEMO. Headlining the launch party was the fabulous Jazz Party Band with special guest singers including Rebecca Barnard.

Located in the St Kilda RSL, and run in partnership with Caravan Music Club, MEMO Music Hall is an iconic performance venue in the heart of St Kilda. They promise to deliver a diverse program from classical recitals to theatre to down and dirty rock ‘n’ roll. The successful formula that has seen the Caravan Music Club at the Oakleigh-Carnegie RSL flourish will be applied to MEMO.

Caravan Music Club founder Peter Foley explains, “the secret to Caravan’s success has been the way we make people feel, they take something special away from the gigs we develop and we have a big community following. It’s not the normal rock model. We plan to create the same warm vibe here in St Kilda.

“I consider myself primarily a music fan and like to be blown away and awestruck by the gigs I programme. Taking risks, keeping it exciting and unpredictable is what you can expect at MEMO.”

Vin Butcher, Secretary/Manager of the St Kilda RSL said, “The St Kilda RSL is very happy to be in partnership with Caravan Music in MEMO and is looking forward to promoting community awareness about the use of the venue and espousing the RSL ethos through its program of activities.”

Sam Roberts, Chairman of St Kilda Memorial Hall Trustees said “We are delighted with the new partnership and look forward to some very good entertainment at MEMO and a long relationship with the two groups.”

MEMO has had a colourful past since it opened in 1924 as a dance hall. It went on to house The Memorial picture theatre from 1927 to 1958 and TELEFIL recording and film studios from 1961 to 1965.

Amongst its claim to recording history fame is its location for Normie Rowe’s recording, “It Ain’t Necessarily So”, released in April 1965. It was the first number one record in both Sydney and Melbourne, by a Melbourne-based artist.

In the 1980s and early 1990s Pan Pacific films were based at MEMO where it was used for filming and as a rehearsal space. The 2003 film ‘Ned Kelly’ starring Heath Ledger was rehearsed here. MEMO continues the tradition of being home to rehearsals, recording and live performances.

The new era at MEMO was best described by Partnership and Venue Development Manager Richard Mitchell, “MEMO is like a beautiful turn of the century cruise liner inviting us as passengers to come aboard and share the next stage of the journey with this grand old lady of St Kilda. The venue has a unique history and deep soul and we respect its place as an integral part of the diverse, eclectic and culturally rich community that is St Kilda.”

MEMO is located at 90 Acland Street St Kilda and has capacity for 400 people.

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