A few months ago, before the opening of this brave and ambitious venture, I met up with talented country music duo, Patsy Toop and David Baird, better known as The Long and Short of It at their new project, The Mantra Studio Kitchen and Bar at Yarraville. Patsy and David kindly took me on a tour of their combined function centre, cafe, bar and studio in the arty and trendy little village of Yarraville. They told me about the history of the place, part of a factory that once housed the famous Dickies Towels, as iconically Australian as Vegemite and Holden Cars….
Other than their musical talents, Patsy and David have had, like most Indies, other careers. With Patsy’s legal background and David’s work in signwriting and painting, they did a lot of the basics in this joint venture. There are some stunning Asian pieces, from doors to furniture and the green wall feature and modern design make you wonder about the massive transformation from the historical building to the modern highly functional and aesthetically pleasing structure.
There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that has gone into this labour of love. The menu has evolved in the kitchen, with beautifully presented, pleasing to the palate meals which cater for people with all tastes and food preferences. The staff are musos and artists which fits into the character of the venue and into the ideas of the people who created the place.
Independent Musicians from all genres have appeared at the venue already, which holds about 65 people comfortably in the “music area”. People can eat in one area and venture into the other. David and Patsy are eager to host other acts that would like to appear there. The modular stage holds solo artists, duos and trios. Contact the Mantra or David or Patsy for details.
I caught up again with David yesterday at the now opened venue and the cafe was pretty full. Everyone was enjoying brunch or coffee and the place looks fantastic. There are still a few things to do in the recording studio, but once that is fully operational, it will be a great place for Indies to record their music.
The Long and Short of It have been attending music festivals and have been doing gigs at The Mantra and elsewhere, with upcoming dates at Dubbo, pending confirmation and Music in the Mulga. With these gigs and running and constructing the venue, they have been too busy to put down some new tracks but I am sure that in the near future we will be hearing more from this talented duo.
If you are in Melbourne, head off to Yarraville and catch up with David and Patsy and enjoy a meal and a beverage and some music at one of the most unique venues that you will find. Thanks to David and Patsy for your time.