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Death in the Valley: Young Franco On Queensland's Upcoming Lockout Laws

The producer says that the upcoming laws could have serious and destructive consequences for emerging Brisbane musicians.

If you thought Sydney’s lockout laws were bad, shit’s about to get a whole lot worse for Queensland. From July 1, the Sunshine State will have the toughest lockout laws in the country. This means last drinks at 2am, no takeaway booze after 10pm and no high-alcohol drinks after midnight.

For people like Young Franco, young musicians who earn their chops playing early morning club slots, the lockout laws are restrictive and potentially damaging to their developing careers.


Businesses and night life in places like King’s Cross have already suffered under the NSW laws; it’s hard to imagine how these tougher laws will affect Brisbane entertainment precincts like Fortitude Valley, where Young Franco began playing shows as a teen.

Following the release of his recent banger "Drop Your Love (ft. Dirty Radio)", we caught up with Young Franco (who does look uncannily like a young James Franco) to find out how the new laws will affect him and his home turf in the Valley.

Noisey: What’s an average night out for you in the Valley?
Young Franco: An average night out for me has definitely changed over the past few years. I pretty much started playing in clubs as soon as I was legally allowed to. I was lucky enough to get noticed early on, particularly by Benji and the rest of the crew at Bowler Bar (now The TBC Club). I'm very grateful to have made some of my closest friends from that time. I started out doing mostly closing slots (3:30am-5am) on Saturday nights. I think this was a pretty critical time for me as I was able to gain a local following, watch some pretty inspiring people (Ajax being one of them), as well as make a reasonable student income while studying full-time. It really shaped my early idea of what a club should be.

What are some of your favourite venues and places for live music and hanging out in the Valley?
Oh Hello is also one of my favourite venues. The team over there constantly put on some of my favourite acts, as well as some of the most well run events/festivals in Australia (FOMO being a MAJOR highlight). I’m actually playing my next headline show here, and it's already looking to be pretty good.


Now that I'm not playing as a local DJ anymore, I'm out whenever an interstate or overseas friend is playing in town, or an act which I've been recommended by friends or someone I've been dying to see is playing. These days it's pretty much every weekend.

How will the lockout laws will affect the Brisbane scene? Will it create more underground or house party-type shows?
At this point in time, we can only speculate the full repercussions of the lockout laws. We’ve seen Sydney be affected greatly by them with a stack of music venues that I’ve played over the years and the surrounding business’ close down and I just hope to God this doesn’t happen in Brisbane. I'd like to think that young people are the best at adapting. If we can take a shitty blanket law and turn it into something positive I think that's the best outcome. I think it will definitely encourage people to go underground and do more house-party shows. I also think that it will encourage events to be more daytime oriented. A great example down in Sydney is Summer Dance, which is one of the most well run events I've seen come out of Sydney post-lockout.

I certainly would love to see more daytime events and I think there's plenty of incredible smart and talented promoters that will be able to take this hurdle and come out stronger, pretty much the best fuck you to the lockout laws and casinos.

Will club music be the most affected by these laws?
Club culture throughout Queensland will definitely see a shift from the laws, the extent of which only time will tell. I wouldn't want to speculate as I don't have the statistics on the numbers employed in bars throughout Queensland but just like Sydney, there is no doubt we will see a significant change. I just hope this doesn’t deter any producers from experiencing the introduction in to club culture that I had.

Having said all this I do think there needs to be a shift in the way Australia approaches drinking. I think there's not just a pressure to drink, but to drink in excess, as well as ignorance towards what constitutes a safe intake of alcohol in Australia. I hope these laws do not encourage that mindset and people don’t feel obliged to drink more before going out.

“Drop Your Love (ft. Dirty Radio)” is available now via Of Leisure.