Back in 2009, Lizotte’s Newcastle opened its doors with a bang.
The glorious art-deco theatre in Lambton, formerly the Kings Theatre (and myriad other ventures) threated punters to a mammoth bill that featured Diesel, Beccy Cole, Deni Hines, Benjalu and Jason Lowe and the Tassie Horns.
And the party hasn’t stopped since.
The venue is gearing up to celebrate its auspicious 10th anniversary next month and owner Brian Lizotte told Newcastle Live that he couldn’t be more proud.
“Kincumber [Lizotte’s former Central Coast venue] turned ten a couple of years ago, but this one has always been the most special because it was the second one, we did it with much more fanfare,” he said.
“Also because of the history of this joint – it’s a really special place and to have that tenth year roll on, my head is really spinning to think that we have passed that milestone.”
Now the venue is gearing up to celebrate the milestone with a mammoth blowout on Sunday 2 June with a dinner show featuring Australian musical icons Glenn Shorrock and Doug Parkinson, backed up by Newcastle’s own Ty Penshorn.
While that event is on the cusp of selling out, the venue will also open its doors during the day for a free celebratory open day that will feature a slew of entertainment from the likes of the Rehab Brass Band, Piper Butcher, Avalon Circus, James Bennett, Lachlan Edwards. Dexter Moore, Ty Penshorn and more.
Over the years, Lizotte’s has become synonymous with providing Novocatrian live music fans a steady dose of some of the best acts Australia and the world have to offer.
Everyone from Mick Fleetwood, Macy Gray, Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis, David Hasselhoff, and Jimmy Barnes and Ian Moss have plied their trade on the Lizotte’s stage – with many artists clambering over themselves for a repeat performance at the unique venue.
“The first time that an artist walks in is the most fun I think because they’re just blown away with the space,” Brain said.
“We know we’ve got a special venue when an artist says: ‘This is one of the most special venues I’ve ever been in for its size.”
Given the level of local, national and international talent that has darkened those historic doors, you could forgive Brian for finding it hard to pick out his favourites. However he did have a few standouts.
“I always go back to Mick Fleetwood – I mean for him to play in a 200-seat restaurant is just incredible. Also, to have him sit with me until 2 or 3 in the morning drinking red wine is something I won’t forget in a hurry.
“Jimmy [Barnes] obviously, whenever he comes in it’s always a highlight Also, being able to host my brother [Mark Lizotte, aka Diesel] and getting the chance to see him more often is always very special.
“But really, I think some of my favourite highlights have been the local events – the high school kids coming through year after year. Seeing them go from Year 10 to Year 12 and then returning back on the stage for one of our Live and Local nights as a fully-fledged musician and to see how Newcastle embraces their music, is just great.”
At its core though, Lizotte’s is a restaurant and Brian said that the quality of food had played just an important part in the venue’s success as the music.
“To be a restauranteur, you need to be about the food, first and foremost,” he said.
“I’ve got a very loyal team in there in the kitchen – my chef Rocco Spagnolo has been with me for nearly ten years now and I’ve been lucky enough to have the most incredible team in the kitchen over the years.”
The Lizotte’s Open Day Extravaganza is on Sunday June 2 from 11am to 3pm.
The 10th Anniversary show with Glenn Shorrock and Dough Parkinson is almost sold out so get your tickets now