Ask any street art buff to name a location where one can experience the iconic Melbourne street art scene that the city is globally renowned for and AC/DC Lane is sure to strike a chord. Paying tribute to Australian rock royalty, Corporation Lane in central Melbourne was renamed AC/DC Lane on the 1st of October 2004. Christening the lane, Lord Mayor John So proclaimed:
"As the song says, there is a Highway to Hell, but this is a laneway to heaven!"
Due to the legislative restrictions, the trademark lightning bolt in the band’s name was omitted from the sign. This sent a jolt through the hearts of fans who thought this is 'Ain't No Fun'. One of those fans, local artist #Knifey, decided to rectify the injustice by taking the matter (and a hammer!) into his own hands. Using the same sheet metal that the street sign is made of, #Knifey created a customized lightning bolt sign and nailed it above the new street name. The transformation was complete and things were official 'Back In Business'!
As much as it pays homage to the band, AC/DC Lane is also internationally famous for music-themed street art and graffiti. It is one of the few locations in Melbourne where street art is allowed in a public place without a permit. This appeals to both existing and upcoming artists who use the lane as a platform to showcase their work, grow a fan base and make a statement.
AC/DC Lane flows into Duckboard Place, which is teeming with epic murals worthy of taking the title of the 'Money Shot'.
Let's check out some of the pieces with a couple of street art hunters who know this location like the back of their hand. Vasso and Adam (founding members of @thestreetarthunters) and Pat a.k.a. @streetartmelbourneandbeyond, join me, @virusfreak79, to explore this street art hotspot. 'Are You Ready?'
More than 40 years after his death, the legacy of Bon Scott lives on!
Bon Scott jailbreaking through the brickwork!
In March 2018, as part of the State government's 'Rockin' the Laneways' funding program, local artist and AC/DC Lane regular mural painter @mike.makatron created a larger than life metal, plaster, and concrete sculpture of AC/DC former lead singer Bon Scott. The sculpture portrays Bon busting out of the brickwork and pays tribute to both the band and the music industry in general.
Photo by @virusfreak79, Art by @mike.makatron
Have you really been on a street art tour in Melbourne if you have not taken a selfie in front of the sticker windows in AC/DC Lane?
Windows into the soul of AC/DC Lane
One of the most recognized features in the lane are these heritage windows on what was once a live-music venue called Cherry Bar. The windows have traditionally attracted a range of paste-up and sticker artists that showcased their creations in this spot. After a long stint in COVID-19 lockdown, the windows were given a new lease on life, completely refreshed with new stickers, featuring a large number of local and international artists including @louijover, @amorkillz, @thestreetarthunters, @thepostman_art, @lionia.artist, @nancywantsart, @v_is_4_vasso, @onskiworld, @girllovesgraffiti, etc. The work was curated by two passionate fans who re-invented the windows as a focal point in the laneway.
'Meet you at the windows!'
Photo by: @thestreetarthunters
Malcolm Young - We Salute You!
"If there was a wrong note, it didn't matter as long as it was rocking." -Malcolm Young
Following the tragic passing of Malcolm Young in November 2018, two murals in his honor went up overnight in AC/DC Lane.
Malcolm was not only AC/DC's co-founding rhythm guitarist, songwriter, and backing vocalist, but most importantly, he was the heart, soul, and pulse of the band, alongside his younger brother Angus.
The artwork was created by an anonymous Australian street artist @lushsux, whose murals of popular culture attract an international cult following.
Photos by @virusfreak79, Art by @lushsux
Cover You In... Murals!
In 2018, some of the city's most renowned street artists joined forces and transformed AC/DC Lane with a series of murals depicting influential musicians and their album covers. The artwork generated not only a pilgrimage of visitors to the lane but also sparked much discussion to identify the bands and albums featured. Here are a few snapshots of the murals you can see throughout the lane:
Black Sabbath (Born Again)
Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here)
The Clash (London Calling)
Joy Division (Unknown Pleasures)
Rage Against the Machine (self-titled album)
Jimi Hendrix (Purple Haze)
Judas Priest (Defenders of the Faith)
Frank Zappa (Sheik Yerbouti)
Photos by @streetartmelbourneandbeyond and @thestreetarthunters
Art by @mike.makatron, @p_o_r_n_o_g_r_a_f_f_i_x_x_x , @heesco, @putospaint, @dvate, @lingerid, @lukepresto, @christopher.hancock, @chuckmayfield.
It's A Long Way To The Top!
The most prominent artwork in AC/DC Lane is tucked away at the very end of the laneway. Towering four stories high is Fintan Magee's breath-taking mural of a man carrying a tree trunk through the urban landscape. Dubbed 'Australian Banksy', Magee's large-scale realism works are world-renowned and typically explore the politically-charged subject matter.
Photo by @virusfreak79, Art by @fintan_magee
The street art in AC/DC Lane is ever-changing. You are bound to find unique pieces every time you visit, so make sure to keep your eyes open as you explore. Whether you are visiting to experience the street art subculture or to get your music fix, AC/DC Lane ain't a bad place to be! To all the photography and music lovers, get out there and 'Shoot to Thrill!'
'Till we meet again!