Audiences will get a front row look into some of Australia’s greatest rock music moments when the latest exhibition, Rock ‘n’ Roll City opens at the Ian and Pamela Wall Gallery on the rooftop of Her Majesty’s Theatre this weekend.
The new exhibition features more than 50 iconic images of many music greats including Bob Marley, INXS, Jimmy Barnes, The Clash, Talking Heads, The Psychedelic Furs and Midnight Oil, taken by photographer Eric Algra from the front row of Adelaide’s pubs, clubs, and stadiums.
Curated by Adelaide Festival Centre’s Performing Arts Collection, Rock ‘n’ Roll City brings to life the golden age of Australia’s post-punk and pub rock concerts through lively black and white photographs and projections. Highlights include images of The Angels at Adelaide Uni, INXS at the Shandon Hotel, Midnight Oil at Underdale Campus and The Divinyls at Tivoli.
Algra, born and raised in Elizabeth in South Australia, was the main photographer for Adelaide’s first music magazine, Roadrunner which started in Norwood in 1978 and continued for five years under editor Donald Robertson.
Eric, who has also published a book based around the iconic photos to be released in January 2022, said: “This exhibition and the book are a wonderful opportunity to share work I’m very proud of. Most of the photographs have been hidden away in boxes and negative files for forty years. Revisiting them was great fun and involved a few surprises.
“To be able to exhibit these photographs in such a fine venue is a privilege. I hope the exhibition brings back memories of an exciting time in the Australian music scene as it played out here in Adelaide. It rocked!”
The exhibition will also feature former Roadrunner magazines with original merch and ephemera and some special images by guest photographers, Scott Hicks, John Altree-Williams, Victoria Wilkinson and Jodi Hoffmann.
Donald Robertson said he hoped the exhibition would help people reminisce: “If a photo captures a moment in time, this collection captures a period, a time when Adelaide seemed to be the centre of something, a rock’n’roll city with a small but vibrant music scene that the rest of the country and the rest of the world was happy to come and play in.”
The immersive exhibition also features a curated Spotify Rock ‘n’ Roll City playlist, which will help bring the pictures to life and patrons will also have the opportunity to purchase their favourite prints.
Curator Helen Trepa from Adelaide Festival Centre’s Performing Arts Collection said: “It all started with an intriguing photograph I spotted of Blondie (Deborah Harry) standing in Hindley Street with what looked like a bag of potatoes in an article about Roadrunner music magazine.
“We thought this is a great untold Adelaide story and we want to help tell that story, so we contacted editor Donald Robertson, who put us in touch with Eric Algra. We worked closely together to bring this exhibition to life, which really catches a time in Adelaide’s history when live music fuelled this city.
“And if you want to know why Blondie was in Hindley Street with some spuds you can find out by visiting the exhibition.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll City
Exhibition dates: December 18, 2021 – May 20, 2022
Venue: Ian & Pamela Wall Gallery, Her Majesty’s Theatre Grote Street
Open every Saturday from 11am – 3pm plus 45 minutes before and during performances
(Excluding Public Holidays: Dec 25, Jan 1, Apr 16)