Hunz @ Ric’s, 13-03-10


I recently blogged (in a backlog blog from last year) that one of the highlight’s of the Big Sound Conference gigs was Hunz’s show at X & Y Bar.  It seems to be a bit of a fallow time for bands in Brisbane at the moment so it’s always really good to discover something ‘new’ (he’s done two albums but was completely under my radar until his second album, which he recorded in 28 days as part of the PRM Challenge and made available for free download).

Walking into Ric’s tonight to see his first show of 2010, supporting Polaroid Fame at the ‘New’ Ric’s support band strat time of 7pm, I had to do a a double take, thinking that I’d somehow walked into the wrong place.  Ric’s has changed in the last couple of weeks since I was last there (for the Vegas Kings).  The wall opposite the stage is now a wall of mirrors, the whole place has been wallpapered in fancy red and gold wall paper, the backroom has been refitted with seating around the edge, the only posters for upcoming shows are on the wall behind the stage and mood lighting has been installed around the bar.  Sadly the art looks like it’s gone – it was free to exhibit art at Ric’s and my first Brisbane photo exhibition was there in 2006 and the Galaga machines have also gone from the backroom (although it looks like there might yet still be a place for them at Ric’s).

When i first moved to Ric’s I spent the majority of weekends there; a constant supply of free bands and it seemed to be the centre of Brisbane’s music scene.  Everytime you went in there you would see the same faces and most of the people I know I probably met at Ric’s for the first time.  But over the years it noticeably deteriorated as a place to spend time.  The atmosphere completely changed, and not for the better.  It was a constant source of annoyance;  the place was such a potential goldmine but so poorly managed that I ended up with a ‘What I would do if I owned Ric’s’ list in my head – both short-term and long-term plans.

The short term plan included  extending the serving area on the downstairs bar so that there was more than 50cm in which to get served and getting rid of the stools at the bar.  From a business point of view, the aim is to serve alcohol and having such a tiny serving area was ridiculous, particularly when they kept increasing the price of drinks, probably to make up for the fact that they weren’t selling the number of drinks they needed to.  I would have drunk a lot more in Ric’s if I could have but most of the time it was too difficult to get served, especially when a band was playing.  Getting rid of the barstools served two purposes; firstly they seemed to be used largely by the bar staff’s friends to chat to the bar staff, something I didn’t consider part of a good business model if I was paying wages to staff, and secondly they caused a massive bottleneck in the place.   My longer term plan was to change the whole layout – put the bar where the stage is, knock through kitchen area, open the whole place up and put the stage where the backroom is.

It’s good to see that some of these things have already been done by the new owners; the bar has been extended and the bar stools are gone.  Selling Toohey’s Five Seed cider, meaning that there is something other than the-battery-acid-better-known-as-Mercury Dry is an added bonus.  Although it looks like the art exhibitions might be gone for good, the Galaga machines have been moved out the back and it looks like the new owners, who also own RG’s the pub next door are also redeveloping the back of Ric’s into an additional outside drinking area.

The original plan tonight wasn’t to take any photos, just see Hunz’s set before heading over to The Zoo for The Mess Hall and Bridezilla but I just couldn’t resist taking a few quick shots.  During one song (I forget which one) he spends a lot of time leant low over his keyboard, with the very little light in Ric’s lighting him up really nicely.  However, by the time I decide that I will take a few photos, get the camera out the bag and turned on, the song has just about finished and he doesn’t spend much of the rest of the set over his keyboard.  Tonight is just old songs and although I don’t think he’s done the RPM Challenge this year I’m looking forward to hearing some new songs from him soon.



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