Rock venues around Rockingham

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Main focus is on places where you can dance!
There are many bars offering what I call Sunday Session music on a Friday and Saturday night that I don't follow, as I want to dance whenever I go out!

Vat 116 and The Chase (Baldivis)

These have been the mainstays of rock music in Rockingham since the very first national Covid lockdown.
They both have very helpful management who send me details of their gigs a month in advance. Because they have music you can dance to every Friday and Saturday night, they therefore feature prominently in Rockingham Gig Guide!

Vat 116

Vat 116 won the Rockingham Gig Guide trophy for Best Live Music Venue in 2022. It had a four piece band playing once a week. Which must have been hard financially for such a small bar! Probably due to the expenses of developing the Encore entertainment venue upstairs, recently Vat 116 has used duos and solo artists, many of whom do a great job of getting the dancing going! The Vat 116 has regular artists such as Beat Street, Rewind2Play, Billy Neal, Jammin with Charlie, Iband Duo, Aaron Fitzpatrick, Sax on The House, Calico Duo, Aaron Fitzpatrick, 2 Stroke and more.
Vat 116 has a great wooden dance floor, and, being small, once a handful of people start dancing, suddenly the dance floor gets crowded quickly.
Nate Lansdell has played twice now at Vat 116, but I think he will soon be a regular! Excellent, I thought. Also has his own band playing at Nannup Music Festival, Applejack and Moonshine. He went to Tranby COllege, so presumable Nate is still a local, too!
Vat 116 also has Sunday Sessions.
The new live entertainment venue, Encore, above VAT 116, which used to be Vibe Nightclub (I'm still a life member!) is open Wednesday to Saturday.

The Chase Bar and Bistro, Baldivis

For the past few years, The Chase has been the premier live music venue for 4 and 5 piece bands in the area.
Great for discerning music lovers who like authenticity with no backing tracks.
A large stage previously owned by the band Filthy Habits has really helped! Decent sized dance floor, too!
Always look out for a great crowd in particular for Dirty Little Secret who play monthly and do great promo themselves to get the crowd numbers up, with 3,500 followers on their FB Page.
First Friday of each month is normally a DJ, otherwise they have Rock music every Friday and Saturday night.
Some of the bands you can expect to see here include Dirty Little Secret (five piece band with keyboard and Fox the front woman with personality plus), who play monthly, 33 degrees, (four piece band who now play monthly at The Chase it seems to me, formerly a crowd favourite at Vat 116 before they stopped having bands), PowerPlay (3 or 4 piece with the great vocalist, Mell B Cos), Diamond Road (duo to four piece), Goodstock (trio when I saw them) with occasional visits from Rusty Bullet Hole, Atomic, Minutes to Midnight, Cherry Bomb, and more.
What The Chase do well is put their gigs in advance on their facebook page, @chasebarandbistro or 'The Chase Bar and Bistro. So many venues only promote gigs on the day or the day before, which is too late for inclusion in the weekly Rockingham Gig Guide, which I like to publish mid week so people can plan their weekends!
The Chase has a unique atmosphere where many are socialising outside, able to look through spacious window to see and hear the band and see the dance floor.

The Chase also has a popular Sunday Session 1pm to 4pm, with some regular performers such as Dylan Hutchins and James Wilson.

The Syren Street precinct

Syren street should be going off! Mandurah has The Brighton Hotel and Murphy's Irish pub close together, both have bands and they feed off each other, and attract people from outside the area. Syren Street has the potential to do the same, but so far The Piper's Inn has done all the heavy lifting.
The Piper's Inn has live music every Friday, karaoke on Saturday, and probably has the most affordable drinks menu in town. A small but very popular bar. Friday night live music tends to start a little earlier here. Also has open mic nights, I think once a fortnight on a Wednesday.
Sound Brewing Company did make an effort to become a live music venue, but it didn't take off well, and now has new owners. May not be keen to repeat previous management mistakes. These included not having space for people to dance, a pretty elementary requirement for Rock n Roll bands. I do so hope that they can make a success of live music at some stage.
The Sporting Globe has a superb area at the back, but it has a concrete floor. Stick in a wooden dance floor and this would be a great venue as not close to a residential area! Went there to see The Gunners (Gun's N Roses Tribute Band). Terrific potential.

Hanks Bar

Live music with duos generally, Fridays and Saturdays, featuring the likes of Rewind2Play, Beat Street, 2 Stroke etc. If the name is not familiar, it was formerly The Nags Head.

Port Kennedy Tavern

Has a lot of solo or duo artists in the bar areas. Has a great function room for bands, but not used that often at the moment. Have seen bands such as 80's Underground and Filthy Habits there. A wooden dance floor and people would be queuing to get in!

Whistling Kite, Secret Harbour

I have just been once, on a Friday evening as chauffeur to someone's 18th birthday. It is clearly the biggest disco drawcard in the area, attracting the under 25's from miles around!
It was like a queue to get into a nightclub, except that this was around 8.30pm. With no nightclub in Rockingham, this is the goto place for young people. It has probably been like this since The Leisure Inn stopped having its Thursday night disco in the Bali Bar and Bar Indigo way back in 2020 after the national covid lockdown in 2020. I went about a year ago. If anyone has feedback or an update, please let me know
Clearly the place where young people like to socialise, with a LONG bar for fast service!

The Warnbro Tavern

Some will remember this by its previous name of the Last Drop Inn
Has entertainment and karaoke, went there once, nice place, but don't know much about their entertainment schedule. Feedback is welcomed!

Pipers Inn

Already covered under heading 'Syren Street'. Has open Mic Mondays from 6pm, live music Fridays from 7.30, karaoke Saturdays from 7.30, and Sunday live music from 3pm. Keen beer prices, happy hour all day Wednesdays, $8 pints including Guinness and Kilkenny. You can't argue with those prices! The Pipers doesn't send me details of gigs, probably because they don't need to! I think they already have enough regulars!

Encore

The live entertainment venue above Vat 116, which opened in early February, with entertainment Wednesdays to Saturdays, Comedy and Magicians as well as live music.

Generally Comedy is every Wednesday, although a magician is also scheduled.
Due to the terms of their liquor licence, they have to charge an entry fee, which can be just $10 for some nights. See their website for a comprehensive gig guide for the month in advance. What's on at Encore. They also have a FB page more regularly updated, 'Encore at Vat116

Clubs

There are many clubs offering live music. Drinks are cheaper, usually there is a cover charge, which is usually more expensive for Non Members.
There is regular entertainment at the Port Kennedy RSL and the Mangles Bay Fishing Club (where the Krissy Smith Band is popular).
The Cruising Yacht club has ticketed music events from time to time, and has a good sized dance floor, albeit carpet. Usually a solo performer on Friday nights, no cover charge.
The Rockingham Bowling Club has a live band after every six week dance class for jiver and rock n rollers, and occasionally other events. Tends to start a little earlier than other places, with meals on hand.
The Rockingham Golf Club, from what I can gather, has live music every second Friday.
Safety Bay Bowling Club and Safety Bay Yacht Club I know nothing about.
Then there are sports clubs such as Rugby, Soccer, AFL, Hockey who may have music events they would like to publish on Rockingham Gig Guide.
Feedback most welcome on clubs!!

The Leisure Inn

What can I say? Before Covid, the Swinging Pig, Bali Bar and Bar Indigo were the mainstay for music and dancing in Rockingham! During the national Covid lockdown, management must have decided its BWS bottle shop was making more money than the pub. Otherwise I can't see why they cancelled music. The Thursday night disco in the Bali Bar was the biggest night SOR!
Indeed, the decision to stop having live music in The Swinging Pig on Fridays and Saturdays, together with the closure of the Rockingham Hotel, which had bands on Saturday as well as Liquid's nightclub, that prompted me to start Rockingham Gig Guide to help revive the live music scene in the area! I didn't realise that there was already a FB group called Rockingham Gigs, which is another way to find out what is happening around town.
The Leisure Inn has occasional ticketed events in the Bar Indigo, but The Swinging Pig is more of a bistro these days, with dining tables on what used to be the stage.

Some ticketed events at the Leisure in in 2023 included Eskimo Joe, Hell's Bells (AC/DC tribute with Sal Abate on vocals, (also with The Gunners), supported by Powerbaby (Baby Animals tribute performed by Powerplay), Katchafire, Never Ending 80s, No Scrubs.
With the opening of Dan Murphy's sometime this year, having two bottle shops will probably mean that regular live music is unlikely to return to The Swinging Pig, in my opinion. I hope I am wrong, but it is now four years since the music stopped.

I further note that the Liquor Commission of WA approved the Dan Murphy outlet in 2017. This was appealed by the Commissioner of Police and overturned in 2020. A second application was made in 2021. Date of Hearing at the Liquore Commission: 20 August 2021 and the Date of Determination: 17 January 2022. By this time you will note that live music had already stopped for 20 months.
I further note in the application, first made in 2016, included this:
'The Applicant acquired the Premises in 2007 and has increased the venue’s appeal and customer base since that time. The improvements implemented by the Applicant have resulted in the Premises becoming a well-run hotel catering to around 5,000 people per week, largely attributable to
popular live music and food promotions.'
The second application was successful, based on a false premise. The commitment from the owners to provide 'POPULAR LIVE MUSIC' has gone out the window, much to the detriment to the entertainment and social life of the local community. Police had argued against having two bottle shops in such close proximity as it would encourage alcoholism. Another opponent was Laurie E Smith, who I believe is none other than the former Mayor of Rockingham, Laurie Smith OAM, and Honorary Freeman of the City of Rockingham.
If you have a few minutes, I invite you to have a read of the court's ruling in favour of the hotel redevelopment and Dan Murphy application, (opens in new window) which was based on the Leisure Inn providing POPULAR LIVE MUSIC!
I believe it is time to remind the Leisure Inn of its initial application to provide POPULAR LIVE MUSIC, which it has subsequently distanced itself from!

There were strong objections to the Dan Murphy's by the Executive Director of Public Health and the Commissioner of Police. The Liquor Commission decision is well worth spending a few minutes to read. I share the concerns regarding increased alcohol consumption and the effects that has on drink driving, road crashes, trauma at the Emergency Department, DV and other assaults and sexual assaults. Be very careful what you wish for.

Here is another excerpt from the application:
'14 The Applicant points to previous examples of hotel upgrades it has undertaken in Western Australia as evidence of the successful application of its business model which involves the preserving of existing hotels and adding to the services and facilities resulting in increased patronage and sales.' It reads ADDING TO THE SERVICES! Not taking an important service, live music, away!
And here is a beauty:
'the impact of the current Premises under the ownership of the Applicant has been minimal'
Killing the live music in Rockingham is a minimal impact? Extraordinary! Never heard so much garbage! And another excerpt:
'The current entertainment facility will be also remodelled to improve flexibility to host functions when the designated entertainment area is not in use. Further, the type of entertainment and music will be “customer friendly” and more mainstream, consistent with the current theme to cater for a wider trade catchment area.' The entertainment area of the Swinging Pig is now NEVER in use! In which universe is having no live music 'Catering for a wider catchment area'?
Under a heading for tourism, there is this:
'the Premises will provide various live music and entertainment services which will draw visitors to the region.'
It is not going to draw visitors to the region if there isn't any live music! What a farcical sick joke!
And there is this:
'Entertainment Industry (G) As noted above, the upgrade of the Premises will allow the provision of live music and entertainment services for patrons. (H) This will also align with the secondary object of the Act in respect to the performance of live original music (section 5(2)(a) of the Act). '
So what happened to the live music?
And another excerpt:
'It was submitted that the upgrade and redevelopment is supported by:
(A) an expansion of the target market from its immediate neighbourhood to the greater Rockingham region and in particular the locality, which has a population of around 75,000 people;
(B) overwhelming support from members of the local community;'
I am pretty sure that support from the local community for stopping live music is totally UNDERWHELMING!
I say shame on the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group for putting profits first, second, third and fourth, and the interests of the local community a distant last.

The Lakelands Tavern

The Lakelands has a good illuminated sign in house promoting gigs. However, its FB page is not so good at promoting its gigs to the rest of the world. I went there to see Dirty Little Secret. Has a good stage and dance floor and no residential area nearby. Whenever you go that way or to Mandurah, always use Google Maps on your return. You get warned of speed cameras. The speed limits keep changing 100, 70, 80, 100, 70, hard to keep track, and I have been pinged twice in two years at the Port Kennedy traffic light revenue raising camera!
The Lakelands will host Velvet Edge, a Bunbury band that used to play at Vat 116, on February 24 and April 20

More venues still to come!

Brought to you by Arthur Galletly, editor/admin of the FB page, Rockingham Gig Guide