DATE: Sunday 21 June
This was our first visit to Lizottes in Newcastle. I had always wanted to get to the Central Coast venue as they always had great things, but just never got there. So, I was very excited one opened in Newcastle - in the old Kings Theatre. I had never been there before - not really into that awful dinner/theatre stuff, but the theatre itself is stunning and I could not imagine a more perfect venue for a club like this. In fact, if I had money - this is EXACTLY what I would do.
Entering the building I felt immediately at home (a feeling I rarely get - except in my own home and in Manhattan and Melbourne), Man said I looked very happy. I think possibly bordering on embarrassingly happy, but she will live. The entrance is a nice little coffee/bar area with gorgeous old style lounges/sofas in dusty pink velvet and then you enter the main area (there is also upstairs seating). Tables in the room, not too close, all seating a good view of the stage. Dark walls, covered (but not too much) with fabulous art (sultry, curvaceous women etc), scrabble letters spelling out words (d'uh), vinyl and lots of actual musical instruments. We did not eat (I have heard the food is good but overpriced), but Man had a cocktail (Pina Colada - she said it was divine, as good as in Hawaii) and I had the house Merlot - very smooth. The service was great and Brian (Lizotte, owner, chef and brother of Mark aka Johnny Diesel) came around to each table to say hello, which I thought was a nice touch. There was music playing in the background, while some people ate etc but you could still have a conversation. The people there were between 30 and 50, with some younger and older, they all looked like my type of people - eg not bimbos or bogans - woo hoo, a first for Newcastle!!!!!
(yes I am a rock snob and also a rock venue snob!)
Amanda knows the bass player in the band, which was why we were there. Grant Walmsley used to be in The Screaming Jets and wrote Better - eg, he was the soul behind the band. The new band were bluesy rock, with ranging influences - early Stones, Dylan, Waits, early blues, boogie woogie - you get the picture. Grant played a multitude of percussion and guitar - sometimes simultaneously, he had fabulous rhythm and great ability to do so I thought. The bass was a double bass, impressive playing also as was the keyboard player - he did some amazing blues/boogie woogie riffs. The other vocalist played the Saxophone and harmonica - again impressive - and was none other than one of our favourite local actors, Rod Ansell, or Rodney as he was addressed on stage. He came out channelling Steve Van Zandt (in E Street Band mode not Sopranos mode!!) and was funny in the right kind of way besides playing a mean blues harmonica.
They mostly played originals and I was impressed, I will be back to see them again and most certainly back to Lizottes.