LIVE MUSIC PUBS FEATURE
Known as the cradle of original live music in Newcastle, The Lass O’ Gowrie is not your average pub. And the reason for that, is because it’s not run by your average hotelier…
For the past 26 years Ian and Sharon Lobb have been at the helm of the Wickham-based Lass O’ Gowrie Hotel and for Ian, a 67-year-old self-proclaimed fossil, fogie and advocate for old-school ways, there is no place he’d rather be.
“I don’t do social media, I don’t have email and I don’t even know how to turn on a computer,” he explains with an unmistakable hint of pride.
“I’m old, I’m a fossil and that’s how I do things. If you want to talk to me, then you call me, that’s it. But in saying that, I do understand the value and importance of social media and we have someone here who makes sure we have a presence on Facebook and Instagram.”
“I’m old, I’m a fossil and that’s how I do things. If you want to talk to me, then you call me, that’s it..."
The couple have lived upstairs at the venue since 1992 and without intention, Ian has sewn his passion for individuality and separation from conformity into the fabric of the venue. It is undoubtedly this sense of freedom and acceptance that has seen young bands and music lovers flock to the hotel for more than 20 years.
“They’re safe here,” he says.
“There’s no pressure to perform and no judgement, it’s a safe haven. There’s also all different kinds of people and music and everyone can come in and share in that. It’s a wonderful atmosphere.”
According to Ian, who prior to taking on the hotel was a beer delivery driver, original music had never been on his radar until he and Sharon came to the Lass.
“We were from Sydney and Sharon was a singer. She’d been on television on Saturday Date and I drove for both Tooths and Carlton & United Breweries. At the time, this was the cheapest freehold in the state and when we got here I realised every second or third kid in Newcastle was a muso. There was so much talent and I thought maybe we could cultivate that. Right away we started putting on three or four bands a night so everyone would get a turn on stage. And that’s how the Lass became a cradle of live music. This is where they come to have a go, to gain confidence and show what they can do.”