Music venue both fact and fiction
NIGHTCLUB owners told Luke Whelan to “bugger off” when he tried to book a venue for his 19th birthday because he was not an event promoter.
Six years later, Whelan and co-director Alex Paioff have opened a 450-person live music venue in Northbridge.
Among the artists on the opening night were Michigan act JMSN, Fremantle’s Koi Child and Perth’s Dream Rimmy, which Whelan said attracted 1100 people to the Aberdeen Street venue earlier this month.
Whelan said Jack Rabbit Slims, a fictitious diner in the cult movie Pulp Fiction, inspired the 1950s-style music venue.
“We started spit-balling ideas about incorporating a small-bar feel into a live music venue to bring the best of both worlds together and Alex came up with the name Jack Rabbit Slims while watching Pulp Fiction for the millionth time,” he said.
The diner, offset from the stage and main bar, serves eight different types of fries and five milkshakes, in keeping with the retro diner decor.
“The guys from the Village Bar in Subiaco make all the sauces and seasoning for the fries,” Whelan said.
“Because we’re a live venue, the food needs to be quick, easy and something you can enjoy when you’re drinking,” he said.
Whelan said he and Paioff, both 25, had a passion for live music and always wanted to open a live-music venue.
“We started off at university throwing parties for the social club and eventually we started doing these club nights and festivals.”
Whelan said Perth’s small-bar scene was great, but there was a lack of mediumsized live venues.
“Live-music venues in Perth are a dying breed. Live music hasn’t been getting the coverage and exposure it needs and deserves to get,” he said.
“It’s important to make sure you’re helping out the new guys and bringing in the old favourites to keep it fresh and exciting.”
Whelan said visitors to the venue, formerly Parker Nightclub, could expect a bit of everything.
“You could see anything from a producer to breakthrough artists, comedy cabaret, DJs to all different types but we’re definitely focusing on live music.
“We had a Spinning Top record label party last week and Mark Ronson and Theophilus London were here. They’re quite big names, so hopefully we can get big names like that coming through.”
Luke Whelan from Jack Rabbit Slims.