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Here's why you cannot miss the Radiators and Spy V Spy at WBH

If you love pub rock, then you cannot afford to miss the Radiators and Spy V Spy in their upcoming double-billed show at Warners Bay Hotel.

For those who remember, Aussie rock once dominated the Newcastle pub scene. There was a live band on every corner, an eclectic mix of home-grown bands and visiting artists - often including Spy V Spy and the Radiators.

In a recent chat with Spy V Spy, front man Michael Weiley told AHA the band had been performing with the Radiators in a string of shows across the country and in many ways, bringing Aussie rock back to its roots - by playing in pubs.

Now the two bands have once again joined forces, and in keeping with that theme, are bringing their show to Warners Bay Hotel on Saturday, 2 June 2018.

While the Spies' Michael Weiley has a direct link to the area, having grown up in Port Stephens, Radiators drummer Mark Lucas says he too thinks of Newcastle as a second home, despite having never officially lived here.

"There's always been a lot of love for the Radiators in Newcastle and in many ways it has always felt like a home away from home for us..."

"There's always been a lot of love for the Radiators in Newcastle and in many ways it has always felt like a home away from home for us," Mark says.

"There's been some great pubs and live music venues around Newcastle, like the Cambridge, and we've always loved coming up for gigs. We've played so many great shows, especially at the old Newcastle Workers Club where we played with White Snake and other bands like Rose Tattoo and The Screaming Jets."

But while Mark says he still loves playing shows in and around Newcastle, there is one venue in particular that remains close to his heart. Unfortunately, he will never be able to play there again.

"Back in the 80s and 90s there was the Palais and it was such an awesome gig," he says.

"It feels like we used to do that gig once every month, and I remember we would go on at midnight. The place would be packed with at least 1,200 people in there. It would be steaming hot, the humidity was wild - it was a rock gig."

It is these kinds of memories that quickly remind you that the Radiators are this year celebrating their 40-year anniversary as a band.

As such, they call themselves one of the few survivors of the rock and roll highway, which according to the band's bio - is indeed littered with the corpses of starry-eyed hopefuls, wannabes, one hit wonders and jaded if onlys...

It is certainly a title they deserve.

Having first debuted as a band in 1978 in Sydney, the band went on to play more than 320 gigs in the first 12 months of their formation.

"The place would be steaming hot, the humidity was wild - it was a rock gig..."

Soon afterward they came to the attention of major record companies and were signed to Warner Brothers late 1979. The release of their debut album Feel the Heat in March 1980, was much anticipated by their many newly won fans and they created history by being the first Australian band to have advanced pre-sales on their debut album.

Six thousand copies had been sold before it was even released and Feel the Heat went on to achieve Platinum status and a Top 10 position in the charts.

After the band’s first album Feel the Heat had become a Platinum selling classic, with such gems as Coming Home, 17 (I Wish I Was) and Summer Holiday, they then released the controversial song Gimme Head and Fess’ Song on a four-track EP entitled You Have the Right to Remain Silent which also went Platinum.
The band’s fourth album Life’s a Gamble was written during a three month stay in LA in 1984 and produced two Top 40 hits including A Bit of Pain Never Hurts and Life’s a Gamble. During this time the Radiators consistently toured Australia promoting the album and entertaining audiences with their dynamic and over the top live shows.

Unfortunately the band then experienced a not uncommon problem, running into management issues.

After parting ways with management, the Radiators worked with different companies and also released a six-track EP entitled Hard-Core, financed by the band and released independently. The self-titled album was released independently in 1994 and they made their way overseas, with sales in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, France and Italy.

After going on to create another EP entitled Stone, which included the single Skin Deep, a successful studio album entitled Smoke and Mirrors, and Radiology a 25th Anniversary anthology released by Warner Brothers, the band eventually signed with management agency ITIS and have continued going from strength to strength.

"We were never really the flavour of the month type of band. We've always just been around and that's worked in our favour..."

According to Mark, the unconventional secret of sustaining a 40-year career as a band is remaining unpredictably unfashionable.

"We've never been fashionable," he says.
"We were never really the flavour of the month type of band. We've always just been around and that's worked in our favour because if you look at the musical styles the Radiators have been through, and that are gone, even punk in the 70s, I think not being fashionable has kept us going."

It seems another secret to the longevity of the Radiators, is the legacy created, and being passed on, by a generation of Australians who love pub rock.

"These days at gig you look out and there's a new audience looking back at you," Mark says.
"There's people there in their 40s and 50s sure, but there's also kids in their 20s. They're hearing about the band through older brothers, sisters, cousins, and mostly their parents. Often they'll say to us, when we were kids all we heard was Radiators, Radiators, Radiators, we grew up listening to your music...
"So it's great to see 20 and 25 year-olds out there now mouthing all the words to our songs."

No matter what your age, if you love Aussie rock, The Radiators and Spy V Spy at Warners Bay Hotel will be a great night, with both bands playing all the favourites. Tickets are $22 and available from

Nikki Taylor is the Australian Hotels Association - Newcastle Hotels Representative

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