I’ve made a few visits to the Torquay Pub this summer (Spiderbait/dinner) and it’s kinda weird stepping into a place I’ve been going to since I was 16 (hint hint… back in the seventies).
In many ways, the pub hasn’t changed much. It still has the pokies, beers, nice fire and windows with a view of Bells Street. The heavy security and eye scans for band gigs is a new innovation. Nothing like the old days where you would go a few days without shaving and try to look older than 18.
Probably the best thing about the pub is the live music program they have been putting together. It wasn’t so long ago that local residents (a block away) were complaining about noise from the pub (and it wouldn’t be a pub if it didn’t have bands and noise) and the owners decided to stop having bands for awhile.
Sanity has prevailed and the new owners have not only expanded the band room in the public bar (very old school), but put in a decent-sized stage and speakers. Booking some cool bands helps the cause too.
I was stoked to get tickets to see Spiderbait before New Year’s Eve at the Torquay Pub and I will be back in a few weeks to catch The Sunnyboys who probably played at the pub in the eighties when they were at the height of their popularity.
Great Aussie band Australian Crawl also have a few connections with the Torquay Pub. Back in 1984, they sponsored the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach – probably the first and only time a rock band has sponsored a surfing contest. On Easter Friday that year, they filmed a music clip in the pub for their iconic song ‘Boys Light Up’.
Four nights later they fronted up again with cameras in tow and filmed their live performance at the Rip Curl Pro presentation night and things got a little out of hand. Once word got out around Torquay that Australian Crawl were performing at the pub hundreds of ‘youths’ gathered outside trying to get in. Beer bottles were thrown, shorts were torn off backs and the cops were called in… you know the story.
Anyway, you can check out the clip on YouTube… a window into a time when heaps of bands toured up and down the coast during summer… accompanied by the odd pub brawl and fight. The good old days!
Written by John Foss