Port Kembla Golf Club back in the swing

Back in the 1980s, the Port Kembla Golf Club was a hot spot on the Wollongong live music circuit.

Lee Mellor, who is now the club licensee, remembers going there to see bands long before she started working there.

"It was packed every Friday night," she says.

"I remember we went there for a friend's hen's night 32 years ago - I think the band was called Mamma Cass. The place just used to be packed week after week."

Now, after a 25-year hiatus, the Port Kembla Golf Club is making a return as a live music venue with Wollongong band the Villains - an '80s revival band - playing there on Friday night.

Port Kembla Golf Club vice-president Gary Olliffe says the return to live music is about attracting new people and showing off the range of facilities at the club.

"We want to show the public that we are more than just a golf club, more than just somewhere to come and play a game of golf.

"We are a fully functional club with a restaurant, poker machines and gaming and a good atmosphere, whether you want to watch a band like the Villains, or book a wedding or have a corporate function."

Olliffe says the Villains are a natural fit for the club.

"I have seen them many times at a few different venues and they are great," he says.

"We are trying to see whether this is going to work for us and the Villains were the perfect act to start it off.

"We're interested in [attracting] 35-50 year olds, and the Villains play the typical music of that age bracket and it's an entertaining show.

"If there's a band in the Illawarra that's going to pull a crowd it's them."

Villains founder, manager and bass player Andrew West is looking forward to Friday's show.

"Wollongong needs more live venues," he says.

"It's a good room, and playing at a golf course is so different."

The Villains have been together for seven years and pull full houses whenever they play.

West puts the band's popularity down to its ability to deliver a guaranteed good night out.

"We do two one-hour sets and lots of the songs that we all grew up with - all that '80s English New Romantic stuff, all those songs we haven't heard for 20 years."

Friday night's show will also feature a half-hour set by support band The Jethros - where the Villains band members swap their Hollywood bad guy costumes for "torn overalls, buck teeth and fake beards" to play hillbilly versions of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and other favourites.

Olliffe is hoping live music will become a regular feature at the club, but says that depends on how Friday night goes.

"Personally I'd like to see it on a weekly basis, but I can't say that that is definitely going to happen," he says.

"Once it's analysed we'll see. It may start on a monthly basis, but really we need to understand how it is going to perform."

The Villains practise their putting ahead of tomorrow night's show at the Port Kembla Golf Club.

The Villains practise their putting ahead of tomorrow night's show at the Port Kembla Golf Club.


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