A massive restoration project at Abbotsford Convent means Shadow Electric’s bandroom, which has hosted the likes of Mac DeMarco, Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett (her first sold-out show), will close this weekend.

Abbotsford Convent will restore its Sacred Heart building (unoccupied since the 1970s) to house office spaces and artist studios after receiving a federal grant for the project. Construction will surround the bandroom, making it unsafe until work is completed in 2017.

“Once the building work is finished we can work out what’s happening next,” says Abbotsford Convent CEO Maggie Maguire about the band room possibly returning once construction is finished.

“Live music is a really important part of the cultural landscape, and Abbotsford Convent is a cultural space dedicated to that. We would love to see its return to the space.”

Shadow Electric opened its bandroom permanently in 2014 after hosting a series of pop-up gigs from 2012. The mid-sized venue, surrounded by the grandeur of Abbotsford Convent, has a capacity of 300.

Shebeen, another mid-sized Melbourne venue with a capacity of 200, closed last week due to noise complaints.

Melbourne musician LANKS (real name Will Cuming) says the closure of both venues will have an effect on Melbourne’s live-music scene.

“The Convent is not just another bar, it’s a really interesting space for artists to play in,” he says. “So many incredible acts have gone through that room.”

He says Shadow Electric provided a middle ground for artists moving from smaller bandrooms to venues such as Howler (capacity 400) and The Corner Hotel (capacity 800).

“It’s nice to have a couple of different options when you’re moving up the ranks,” says Cuming. “Shadow Electric is an achievable size for small bands, and they get a really eclectic line-up because of it.”

The Shadow Electric’s annual summer outdoor cinema program will be moved to a new location. It is also in the process of organising arts and music events across the city.

The Shadow Electric bandroom will host its last gig this weekend – a showcase from local record label Temporal Cast from 6pm featuring Cale Sexton, Kangaroo Skull, Jamal Amir and Chiara Kickdrum.

shadowelectric.com.au