GLAM I AM
393 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC
(03) 9419 6380 or www.glamoramabar.com
Story: Christopher Holder
Apromoter, a tour manager, a venue manager and an event booker walk into a bar. They look at each other and say, almost as one, ‘we’ll take it’.
The venue in question has transformed into Glamorama: an upstairs bar, restaurant and nightclub in Brunswick St, Fitzroy.
Most of the cadre of partners already have another small bar under their belt (Prahran’s Less Than Zero) and were looking to use Glamorama to fill a niche for which they had a passion and considerable expertise — electronic music.
There was nothing like it in the inner north of Melbourne. And with all the in-house professional experience, Glamorama could potentially bring in high-profile artists and DJs, here and abroad, without the usual additional promotion and management costs.
The guys were intent on doing Glamorama properly. The bar offering is perfectly curated. The food is exemplary. And to present electronic music in all its formidable power you have to push the boat out on the audio investment. With all their collective experience, the owners knew this instinctively and after due diligence pulled the trigger on a Funktion-One PA with Adam Ward of Full Throttle Entertainment providing the audio design and installation services [see the audio box item for more]. As, Jeremy Koadlow, one of the venue’s directors put it: “The audio was the single biggest expense. But it needed to be.”
venue sat down with Jeremy Koadlow to talk some more about the Glamorama launch and the unique challenges of running such a venue.
“The reason we took this space is because it’s a hard space to take.”
“It’s a unique space with a unique license that creates a unique set of problems and a unique array of opportunities. But that’s what we specialise in.”
Hmm, still confused?
Glamorama is perfectly positioned in a vibrant late-night precinct full of creatives and people who care about quality performance and quality sound. Saying that, it is upstairs and a little too easy for people to walk straight past.
Glamorama has a 5am license, which is solid gold and virtually impossible to win on any new application. Perfect. Saying that, it is surrounded by refurbed warehouse apartments full of locals who would rather not have sub 50Hz sound rolling through their conversions like a subsonic tsunami.
I think I see what Jeremy is saying. Glamorama is perfect, but also perfectly challenging. A little like a surfer’s perfect point break, you have to be prepared to die on the rocks to paddle out to the ride of your life.
GLAM ROCK: AUDIO INSTALL
“Spending a lot of money on expensive whisky doesn’t mean you necessarily have a bar full of amazing whisky, just expensive whisky,” reflects Glamorama director, Jeremy Koadlow. “In the same way, we could have potentially bought an even more expensive PA, but we chose Funktion-One because we felt comfortable that Adam Ward knew our business, which made us confident that not only were we getting an expensive PA but a great PA.”
The PA is a doozy. A left/right combo of Evo 6 full-range three-way cabs and BR221 21-inch bass reflex subs. Funktion-One’s founder, audio guru Tony Andrews, is famous in the audio biz for his work with hornloading. These subs are front firing boxes. Full Throttle’s Adam Ward explains: “hornloading is great but can take some distance for the the lows to fully develop — perfect for festivals or rock concerts but not a luxury smaller venues have. So the BR221 was developed and has been a very popular box as a result.” It’s the first BR221 sold in Australia.
The PA is extraordinarily capable and when combined with the MC2 Audio power amps can be run monstrously loud. Glamorama has neighbours that ensure the system only ever purrs away. Saying that, the distortion-free, smooth sound is most certainly powerful — the smoothness belies the true sound pressure, much like an enormous audiophile hi-fi.
The MC2 Audio power amps and XTA speaker processing are racked conspicuously in the stairwell entrance, providing a statement to patrons: we take our audio seriously.
Elsewhere, Funktion-One F81 surfacemount speakers are dotted about, split into three zones. Next, 12-inch subs will soon supplement the F81 sound. The smaller install subs will fill out the room sound when the venue is in restaurant/cocktail mode when the big-arse subs are barely ticking over.
The DJ booth is given due reverence, as you’d expect for a venue that takes its music so seriously. A pair of Funktion-One R1 two-way monitors supply foldback. The booth itself is suspended from the ceiling to negate mechanical vibrations from the dancefloor. Lead shot and a concrete slab under the decks ensure stability.