Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, Vol 6, No 2 (2019)

Archaeology, Heritage and Performance in the Perth Popular Music Scene

Sean Winter, B'geella Romano
Issued Date: 16 Mar 2020


The city of Perth, Western Australia, has a long-running local popular music scene. Music is performed live in pubs and clubs, but it is often only a secondary reason for the running of these venues – consequently, the physical heritage of this music scene is often forgotten, with little memorialisation of the places and people involved in it. Archaeological investigation of one of these longer-running venues – the Fly By Night Club, a music venue from 1986 to 2015 – recovered a range of material culture that largely provides evidence of social encounters within the audience rather than of the many performers who have played at the Fly. The material evidence challenges the notion of modern music as capitalist commodity, including the idea of audiences as passive entities that exist in a subordinate position to performers, who occupy a privileged position within the paradigm of live music. Instead, the audience is shown to have considerable agency in the way it enhances its own enjoyment of live music, and to be an active participant in the social process of live musical performance.

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DOI: 10.1558/jca.36005


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