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After a tragic fire, Bombay Rock is back and better than ever

The iconic music venue has risen from the ashes to enliven Melbourne with the very best rock’n’roll.

In a time where many of the country’s pivotal venues are on the brink of closure, it’s a welcome miracle that managers Asher Trainor and Kacey Knoodle have managed to bring Bombay Rock back to vibrant life.

For Trainor and Knoodle, revitalising the Sydney Road venue after the tragic fire that occurred in 1991, drew a lot of support. “A lot of people are really keen to see it come back,” says Trainor.

“We’ve had a lot of the older crowd say they’re happy to see it back,” adds bookings manager Knoodle. “They think it’s cool that the next generation get to experience what they experienced.”

Entertainment is rolling out of Bombay Rock quickly, Trainor and Knoodle started off running acoustic shows in the back bar of the venue, before moving performances into the front bar and featuring local bands.

“We’ve had a few interstate and internationals in that room,” says Knoodle. “The top room upstairs will now be for bigger ticketed shows, but downstairs will always be free. We’ve got a lot of heavier shows coming up,” adds Trainor. “But we’ve had jazz stuff, folk stuff – pretty much any good music, we’ll play pretty much anything.

“We had Power perform a few weeks ago with their EP launch which was massive, a lot of regular bands come through. We’ve got the bands running until midnight and then DJs on regular rotation until 4 or 5am.”

The excitement doesn’t stop there. Trainor and Knoodle are anticipating the massive A Shot in the Dark book launch, a live music extravaganza to celebrate the launch of the rock’n’roll photo book compiled by Matt Gleeson of 3 Chord Images.

“Matt’s been photographing around the scene since 2013,” says Knoodle. “He’s an awesome photographer.”

The book features 66 great Australian punk, thrash, ska, folk, punk and hard rock bands in full colour over 128 pages.

“His first book last year, the profits for it all went toward mental health awareness,” says Knoodle. “That was amazing – he’s expanded from that. We’ve got 16 bands playing on the night.

“Topnovil have just got back from a European tour and they’ll be launching an album so they’re headlining, The Bob Gordons from Western Australia are launching their album as well.”

A music extravaganza across every medium it seems, and you can expect nothing less from Bombay Rock. “Our two levels will be going all day from 4pm onwards,” says Trainor, “There will be copies of the book available for purchase and of course, all the band merch as well.”

Take a sneaky look at the event page on Facebook and you’ll see the likes of Ferocious Chode, Shadow League, Pegbucket, and K-MaRt WaRRioRs on the bill for the show – the skill of putting together a diverse lineup is not lost on Knoodle who has also tried her hand in the festival market.“The last four or five years, I ran a festival called Nevermind The Warp’d Tour,” says Knoodle, “That’s how we met Matt, he came out to photograph.”

The graphics and imagery produced by Gleeson is enticing as it is, but put it all alongside the imagery, artwork and collection of battered and bruised posters at Bombay Rock, the sleazy ‘80s rock‘n’roll vibe is just the welcoming icing on the cake.

“It’s totally like our teenage bedrooms combined into a place we can sell alcohol,” laughs Trainor. “Everyone that walks in here tells us it’s pretty much like being at home – they walk in here and feel like they’re home.”

Bombay Rock is open Friday and Saturday nights at 303 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Head to the venue website for info on gigs and other events.