‘Massey Hall’ revival is gothic bonkers

Picture it: there’s a fortnight-long festival on, double the usual. Crowds clap and hoot along to a 90-minute show featuring the exuberant Australian country-pop of Leesa Thompson and John Overpark – and then get…

‘Massey Hall' revival is gothic bonkers

Picture it: there’s a fortnight-long festival on, double the usual. Crowds clap and hoot along to a 90-minute show featuring the exuberant Australian country-pop of Leesa Thompson and John Overpark – and then get their minds boggled into the maybe-horror-of-things moments of late-period Jane’s Addiction and New Order. Then there’s Ween, the cult underground band of the mid-‘90s, launching a one-off gig in this new venue right before a full house of almost 2000. Nobody’s complaining.

This is the rebirth of the Massey Hall, a venue whose reputation was stretched to the limit by concert-goers treating it as a bomb shelter during the days of the late 90s H1N1 epidemic, that rapidly scrubbed the venue of credibility as a major music venue. It’s now not so much a reinvention – more a renaissance: it’s about time we pulled this thing together once again.

The status quo at the venue will be changed on Friday 11 November: the trust behind the refurbishment and refurbishment, which has just taken over the site, isn’t aiming to rebuild the old Massey Hall, an architectural splurge which boasted the majesty of gothic arches and soaring staircases. It’s gone. The new Massey Hall will be a multimedia one-off, where the open-air stage acts as a punch-line to a private joke: whichever way you lean, it’s out of shape and misaligned and on the wrong side of the street.

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