After almost a year since the famous Las Vegas-inspired cocktail bar closed its doors, a ‘secret mystery band night’ saw Perth’s hottest venue open up once again. But this time – with a little bit more of a spin. On March 21st 2015 the ‘doors of hell’ were shut for good. Notorious for their funk-inspired bands, Fringe Festival involvements, multi-culture atmosphere, go-go dancers in cages and exotic cocktails, Devilles Pad was certainly something different. And everyone loved it.
It’s safe to say it was a disappointment when the announcement came through. Devilles Pad offered it’s customers a devilish time. Attracting a fan base from all walks of life, it’s closure was part of a trend in the industry that saw many great live music venues in Perth, including YaYa’s, The Bakery and Fly by Night Club shutting their doors. And then just like that, Devilles Pad was gone too.
The Venue: Introducing Badlands Bar
Transforming into one of Perth’s most popular live music venues, Devilles Pad was reopened for one night only last Tuesday to give locals a taste of its renovated setup. Due to reopen for good in the coming months, Badlands Bar is the new Devilles Pad…and it’s impressive.
Named after the rocky outcrops of the Badlands National Park in South Dakota USA, the rebranded venue still breathes a very similar vibe to the one we’re already familiar with. But there’s a few killer changes! Moving away from being a cocktail / restaurant inspired venue, Badlands Bar is shifting the focus to be more about the music. The venue fit out remains largely the same with a few tight-twists to maximise patron comfort and experience.
Whilst Devilles Pad was particularly supportive of live music, Badlands Bar brings in an even stronger focus of it for touring and local acts. Renovated by music lovers for music lovers to ensure the best possible site lines, the stage at Badlands Bar has boomed into one that flaunts that ‘wow’ affect.
Moving the famous d-floor volcano to the cave-inspired courtyard out the back, the stage has doubled in size to give live music acts room to move and offers that super impressive effect. The intimate booths are still there, as is the almost-tacky decorations that make the venue look deliciously entertaining. With a 400 person capacity, Badlands Bar still stays true to the Las Vegas hell-themed thrill renowned to Devilles Pad in the past.
Massive upgrades have also been made to the PA to maximise customer and artist experience, because good live music needs to come out with a bang! Post-gig good times can be expected for punters once the bar has reopened permanently, with cool tunes until 2am on Friday and Saturday nights to keep all those late night groovers entertained longer.
“The venue is tiered to ensure maximum viewing from all angles, including booths with unparalleled views of your favourite bands, coupled with the state-of-the-art sound system which makes for a supreme experience not seen in other venues of this size. Free entry to the venue after gigs giving punters the chance to hang out in Perth’s most unique party bar, hitting the dance floor to awesome real music and a refurbished beer garden with a designated smoking section for the post-gig analysis will keep everyone satisfied too”.
WA’s music scene is recognised as being one of Australia’s strongest. Since the closure of Devilles Pad, along with many other great venues, the scene was really under threat for while. But thanks to the opening of some exceptional new homes to live music in the last 12 months, including the recent transformation of Devilles Pad, the local scene has positively boomed once again.
The ‘mystery bands’ at the secret show on Tuesday night featured an Australian support and an international superstar act to give music enthusiasts a taste of whats to be expected once Badlands Bar opens its doors permanently.
Ben Abraham from Melbourne kicked off the live tunes playing a solid mix of originals and covers, including a stripped back version of Rihanna’s Stay. His mesmerising vocals captured the slowly growing crowd and set the tone for the night as patrons explored the new surroundings of Devilles Pad. Ben worked wonders in creating a circle of music lovers drawn to the stage to sit back and take it all in, in the most intimate of settings.
Swinging into style next was the highlight of the night, Calexico – an alternative funk-folk band from Arizona. The Tex-Mex crew who have been around for 20+ years were absolute rockers, bringing that ‘big band’ effect that oozed talent, roots-infused rock and genuine happy vibes. Launching into Stray, frontman Joey Burns and co. whipped the crowd into a frenzy of musical excitement that was simply contagious. And there was none of this ‘let’s wait a few songs before dancing nonsense’ – this audience were tearing up the d-floor instantly.
Falling from the Sky, a catchy track off their 2015 album Edge of the Sun was a winner and got the crowd going. Showing their true diversity as individual musicians with various instrument changes, one of the beauties of Calexico is their mishmash of sounds which makes them an exciting band to see live. Still staying true to their strong Tex-Mex musical ties though, other memorable tracks from the set included Deep Down, Moon Never Rises and the very fine number Guero Canelo.
Scott Colberg’s double bass skills were fiery whilst John Convertino’s percussion and Jacob Valenzuela’s trumpet vibes were attentively trendy. As a band Calexico were tight, and got the audience grooving to their sultry beats and feel-good rhythms. Closing off the set with a number of encores including World Undone, Esperanza and Miles from the Sea, Calexico created a party-fuelled energy everyone was feeding off. An energy that was perfect to tease the locals enough as to what this new live music venue will be all about. And if you weren’t tied up last Tuesday for the secret show – you would’ve witnessed the local music scene at its finest.
Photo Credits: Special thanks to Gavin Partridge for the use of his images. For more gig photos, make sure to check out the Toward Music gallery.