If you're looking to soothe those post-Sydney lock out laws with a bit of a boogie, we've got the perfect tip for you. Launching tonight at Foundry616, Harris Street Late Night Sessions promises to be the hottest new after-hours dive in Sydney's CBD, playing host to some of the finest funk, soul, disco, jazz and nu-groove bands on the East Coast every single Friday night. To see what all the fuss is about, we hit up Harris Street Late Night Sessions MC and bona fide groove lord Danny G Felix for the scoop on what to expect from the new music night.
Tell us about the Harris Street Late Night Sessions - who’s involved, what influenced you to start it and where can we catch a show?
Harris Street Late Night Sessions is a series of gigs happening every friday night from 11.30pm at Foundry 616. Foundry616 is the top jazz venue in Sydney. Late Friday nights bring the freedom and unpredictability that make jazz exciting to a younger audience that may not be into jazz.
Harris Street Late Night Sessions spotlights some of the best neo-soul, funk and jazz Sydney’s got to offer. Melbourne is renowned for its own neo-soul scene; what does Sydney’s own scene bring to the table that makes it different?
It's true Melbourne does have a great scene. Local music, culture and the arts in Melbourne are really celebrated. Sydney has a huge amount of good music and top musicians - just as much as Melbourne, if not more. It’s just that in Sydney we have fallen behind a bit in our cultural identity and how much we value good local original live music. That's why nights like this are so important!
What we are showcasing here in the late sessions is a real mixture. There’s funk, soul, groove, electro and even avant-garde jazz elements but all of the bands have their own individual styles. At the end of the day, good original music is simply that. People can enjoy it and make up their own minds as to what it means to them personally. Our aim with the late night sessions is to entertain and inspire audiences, and to reignite a sense of pride in our local original live music scene.
You guys don’t kick off till 11.30pm. How would you recommend for performers and punters to keep themselves up and about till those wee hours? Do you offer any food or drink specials to keep us rolling through?
Foundry 616 has great shows on beforehand starting at 8pm, and they also offer meals and a full bar. So it's up to the people whether they want to come check out the earlier gig or go somewhere else first and just catch the late night session. The late night session is only $10 and Coopers will be shouting the first 50 customers. There are also other drink specials. If you’re only coming for the late session I’d suggest you rock up at about 11pm.
Although they’ve recently been lifted, Sydney’s live music scene is still coming to grips with the effect of those pesky lockout laws. How did you see the scene change in that time?
Yes, the lockout laws combined with the ever-present pokies and the screen culture unfortunately did have a very big impact on our live music scene. I watched our city turn from a hive of social gatherings, live music and nightlife to a very boring city. I used to consider Sydney to be one of the best cities for live music in the world. Now I feel we have really fallen behind largely due to all the restrictions and closing down of venues combined with modern technology that has generally made people more anti-social. The saddest part is that it's actually affected people’s values - there doesn’t seem to be the same hunger for culture that there used to be in Sydney.
On that note, how important are events like these for venues, as well as young musicians playing in Sydney?
Very important, on all kinds of levels. Live music inspires sociability, enjoyment, energy and appreciation. Foundry616 always puts quality music first, and has an established reputation going back decades because of the passion and integrity of its owner and director, Peter Rechniewski. Peter and I are building the audience, presenting new young talent in more contemporary genres.
A regular night where musicians have the opportunity to get paid for playing their original music and which brings a competitive pride in an emerging Sydney scene is what this city is crying out for.
Tell us a bit about the first few bands playing Harris Street Late Night Sessions.
The sessions will showcase an array of exciting bands from Sydney and also some from Melbourne. First up we’ve got Space Buoys, an electrified side project of Sydney funk collective The Regime, then on the 21st we’ve got Antiphon coming up from Melbourne, which is live jazz house followed by the piano trio Brekky Boy on the 28th and then Kyoshi on the 6th of March.
How can a band get in touch if they’re keen to play a show for Harris Street Late Night Sessions?
They can contact Foundry616 or me directly, my email is email@example.com
Head to Foundry616's website to find out more about Harris Street Late Night Sessions today.