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'DJ Albo': Anthony Albanese hits the right note at Melbourne's Corner Hotel

DJ Albo knows how to throw a party and it's a total time-warp.

Donning "It's time" T-shirts and drinking stubbies of Melbourne Bitter, Labor loyalists came from all corners to watch Anthony Albanese's gig at Richmond's Corner Hotel on Wednesday night.

The crowd was a motley crew of silver-haired rockers, suits, bearded hipsters and young unionists who jumped with reckless abandon to the sounds of Iggy Pop, the Skyhooks and Jet.

Labor stalwart Anthony Albanese's 'DJ Albo' alter ego has become something of a cult figure since he first hit the decks several years ago, with an infamous photo of a young Mr Albanese now simply coined "hot Albo".

The rock star reception for the Member for Grayndler shows just how popular the Labor politician is. More than 300 people bought tickets to the charity gig, raising $10,000 for Reclink, an organisation that promotes arts and sports initiatives for the disadvantaged.

The crowd erupted when Mr Albanese hit the stage at around 9.30pm, chanting "Albo" as their DJ queued up a playlist of Melbourne bands on Spotify – an amateur move that didn't seem to offend anyone in the slightest.

What started off as a relatively tame set grew progressively louder as the night went on. Groupies flooded the stage, dancing around Mr Albanese in what would be a security issue for any politician less humble than Albo.

The 53-year-old loosened up as the night grew late and the Melbourne Bitter flowed. What started out as an awkward shimmy evolved into a complete rock star performance. Not bad for a man who spends his days "fighting Tories" in parliament. 

Speaking to Fairfax before his set, Mr Albanese insisted DJ Albo was "part of who I am" and not a ploy to win young voters.

"A lot of the music is oriented towards when I was younger, in the sort of '80s and '90s in particular," he said.

Ignoring the behests of his younger staff, he also chooses his own music.

At the request of Reclink, all of the songs Mr Albanese played were from Melbourne artists, including Painters and Dockers, Skyhooks, Kylie Minogue, Jet and Paul Kelly.

For a career politician, the 53-year-old is certainly skilled at working a crowd. His final songs – including Jet's Are You Gonna Be My Girl, Kylie Minogue's Spinning Around and Iggy Pop's Passenger – had punters wildly dancing around the old pub.

No, Iggy Pop is not a Melbourne artist, but one Twitter user told this writer Passenger is Mr Albanese's favourite song – and who are we to deny him?

One song was dedicated to his dog, Toto – "I love my dog!" – while the end of the night was about what Mr Albanese does best: having fun and fighting Tories. And the audience loved it.

"It's a good thing to have fun as well as fight Tories. And Greens," he said to his loyal followers, who erupted with bolshie cheers.

"Ten days to go. Ten more sleeps until we get a decent government. A Labor government."

Only Mr Albanese could enrapture an entire Melbourne pub with just a Spotify playlist and tales of battling conservatives.

For this audience, $25 was a small price to pay for a trip back in time to Labor's glory days and a damn good dance at the pub courtesy of one of our nation's most colourful pollies.


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