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NEWCASTLE 2018: Our favourite gigs, songs, events, eats & moments

So here it is…. Our yearly wrap up of all our favourite things. 

This year we’ve collected everyone’s nominations and put into one bumper post for you. 

Enjoy, and we’ll see you in 2019!



By Grace Turner

Dan Beazley – Newcastle Live

I get a new favourite song every other week. This was one of them, but it turned out to be much more than that for me. This has become the first song I listen to when I have myself a little “me and the headphones” time. The lyrics are the work of a poet, it has a rock that gets me moving around the lounge room and Grace’s voice (and how she sings each line) kick me right in the soul. It’s easily my pick for song of the year and is undoubtedly a song I will listen to for years to come.

Ben Leece

Spencer Scott – Newcastle Live

Ben Leece really hit his stride in 2018. The Newcastle-based singer/songwriter found his sweet spot; serving up slices of Australian-tinged alt-country with his knack for honest songwriting shining through. ‘Rebel Alone’ opens his debut album No Wonder The World Is Exhausted; and is some damn fine rock ‘n’ roll that finds the middle ground between The Replacements and Jason Isbell


Bigsound (Brisbane) – September 2018

Dan Beazley – Newcastle Live

It’s was pretty special to stand down the front of a packed Crowbar in Brisbane and watch as BIGSOUND, Brisbane’s famous annual music industry conference, fell in love with Newcastle band RAAVE TAPES. The small bar was at absolutely capacity with a lineup out the door and the band, despite a small glitch with Joab’s effects pedal monster, nailed every number of their short set. A true live music highlight of the year.

Bar on the Hill (UON) – July 2018

Mel – Newcastle Live

My first official gig as a Newcastle Live-’er’ and it most certainly was a memorable one. The humble “hall” that is the Bar on the Hill was heaving, the production and accompanying light show were spectacular and Kira Divine – just wow. ‘Go Bang’ it did. Honourable mention: The Kids Xmas Party at The Cambo (December) – a free rock and roll show to ensure the love of live music is healthy in our youngsters. Bunny Racket were kickarse and my 2 year old loved it!

The Church and Simple Minds
NEX and Sportsground No 1 – November 2018

Martin (I can’t chose a favourite) Contempree – Newcastle Live 

It’s a rare thing to have the chance to wander from an outdoor show at Sportsground No1 by an iconic international act (Simple Minds) to see a seminal Australian band still near the peak of their powers at NEX (The Church). Tonight was that night and, as much as Simple Minds hold a special place in my heart and delivered a nostalgic set, I was won over by the sonic wall and exceptional light show that cocooned me amongst songs that have informed my musical DNA for three decades. Showmanship, instrument mastery, lyrical brilliance and familiarity combined to create numerous unguarded moments. Just brilliant.


Wickham Park – November 2018

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What a day. We're not done yet though…#sceneandheard

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Dan Beazley – Newcastle Live

It was the moment many of us realised we had crossed over – Bands we loved from our youth were playing on a retrospective bill at a new festival, Scene & Heard, at Wickham Park in Newcastle. And while it stung, no one cared and all the old fans and a bunch of new ones soaked up the bill of a warm day in Wickham Park. They also forgot to tell headliner, The Living End, about the retro aspect as they peppered their set with tracks from their new (kick arse) album.


The Falcon

Dan Beazley – Newcastle Live

Come for the jambalaya stay for the margaritas. This place has quickly become my “go to” when catching up with friends in the city. The Falcon’s margarita is one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tried and the whole bar is stocked with purposefully selected bottles that are used by well-skilled and friendly bar staff. There’s something for every taste and budget without losing it’s vibe too – It’s the perfect place.

FIND IT: 10 Pacific Street, Newcastle, New South Wales 2300

Bao Brothers

Mel – Newcastle Live

Not new in 2018 but improved (is that even possible?) with the approval of their liquor licence and addition of a seriously intriguing drinks menu in 2018. It’s all the little details that keep me going back, almost every week…a pickled this, a house-curated sauce, the perfectly seasoned that. If the chicken ribs are on as a special when you go – get them, always order more mushroom springrolls than you think you “need” and wash it down with a tinnie of something slightly oddball from Garage Project brewery.

FIND IT: 701 Hunter St, Newcastle West NSW 2302

A little bit of everything

Martin (Still can’t nail a favourite) Contempree – Newcastle Live

Newcastle culinary offerings continue to evolve and impress with increasingly diverse and innovative. Standouts in my dining diary this year include – Reserve Wine Bar is sophisticated, atmospheric, succulent and don’t get me started on the wine selection. The Kingfish at Honeysuckle for sensational fresh seafood, exceptional house-made sauces, relaxed ocean-side dining. Frankie’s Lan Zhou Noodles – superb hand-made noodles, delectable dumplings and exceptional broth keeping it real at the old Antojitos site in Carrington. Meet – a mouth-watering Brazilian barbeque experience, fun staff and great atmosphere. Vegetarians fear not, you are very well catered for as well.


The removal of Queens Wharf Tower

Dan Beazley – Newcastle Live

We’re still coming to terms with it, hell some people even wrote a song about it and made bottle openers. And while it still stings, we’re sure we’ll look back at our big phallic friend with fondness for years to come. RIP Dick Tower.

A LEAGUE Grand Final
McDonald Jones Stadium – May 2018

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A heartbreaking finish to a wonderful season #NEWvMVC

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Mel – Newcastle Live

Yes, I am very aware that the Jets didn’t secure the trophy on this occasion. I know the ticketing was a little dicey too. But, a home grand-final! The thing that made this an extra special “Newy moment” for me was sharing the excitement with my husband who has been a Newcastle football tragic right through the KB United and Breakers days. Plus, we could walk home after.

Written by Newcastle Live

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