For those who aren't familiar with the venue, Bennett's Lane is one of Melbourne's few jazz clubs. It has hosted everyone from Prince - who has held at least two secret gigs there - to Herbie Hancock. It's been a great supporter of Australian jazz, too, presenting people like Katie Noonan and Renee Geyer among many others.
The gig that stands out in my mind is The Cat Empire. Held as part of their 10th anniversary tour, this gig had their usual broad brass section stacked up on stage, tearing the house down. Alternated with the Empire's more subdued, soulful songs, it was a nearly spiritual experience. I was sitting at a table so close to the band I could have caught the tiny spray of spittle from their horns.
Another memory that will stay with me is the first time visiting the place. Before the lighted sign was put up, the only way you could find Bennett's Lane was to know exactly where it was and which door to open. We wandered down dead-end alleys smelling of garbage for about half an hour before we found it. To enter that room of dense sound was like going through a magic portal.
Bennett's Lane will be missed like a gaping wound on Melbourne's music scene.