This year's Melbourne Music Week is truly blanketing our city with good vibes. From November 14-23, the festivities are taking over the Queen Vic Markets, there are shows on trams, in laneways, and even jumping in and surprising you on random city elevators. And to follow suit in this full-blown takeover, the Carlton is inviting you onto a whole undiscovered level of their iconic and exotic watering hole.
Just when you thought you'd figured your way around the giraffes in jewellery, watchful elephant heads and tree-lined rooftop spaces, they throw another thing in the mix. For six nights, the Carlton will be opening up an abandoned space that lies above the main bar but below Hasti Bala. Through labyrinthine corridors and hidden little rooms, you'll be treated to an array of secret gigs and intimate "plastic-coated" raves featuring a load of surprise acts. I know that's a whole load of craziness to hear with little to no context, but it's all we've got at this point. This very hush hush event is mysteriously titled Swell.
"There's an appetite for discovery in the Australian music scene," says creator Janenne Willis. "People buy tickets out of curiosity... Now is the time for a fresh take on the live music experience."
Though we may not know who will be playing on each night, we do have some insight on the people behind it all. We know that the space is being designed by New York-based architect Brooks Atwood and the music is being coordinated by local DJ Edd Fisher. With these details we can expect very, very good things.
"The format of Swell is not the traditional headliner and support acts," says Willis. "We can reveal that the lineup will be a surprising and astounding mix of genres, including contemporary improvised jazz, cutting edge beatmakers, dreamy soundscapes, vocal harmonies and more."
If you feel like taking a chance on this big bag of mystery and good times, snag an early bird ticket for $25 from the Melbourne Music Week website or support the cause with a $55 fundraising ticket via their Indiegogo campaign. If they're going to coat this space in cling wrap and deck it out for a full-blown rave, they're going to need a little help.
Swell will be at The Carlton Club every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night form November 14-23.