The Thunder Files: The Bellagio.

The Bellagio.

By Mitch Thunder Lees.

Image @wedge_former

Monaco, Mykonos, Miama, Ios, Ibiza, Las Vegas, Barcelona and Nelson Bay.
Some of the most iconic hotspots for nightlife in the known universe and one’s where dreams can manifest into reality.
The Bay was blessed with some of the most potent piss-dives along the eastern seaboard of Australia.
There’s one local venue that rose above the rest and without fail every occasion turned biblical at this den of debauchery.

It was the Bellagio.

A three-bedroom, one bath quaint little coastal cottage conveniently located diagonally from the local servicemen’s club.
It was home to three of Box Beach’s bastard sons and one where the only thing more piss-soaked than the teens who frequented it was the shag rug carpet.


The Bellagio was a regular haunt for some of the true surf hunks and heroines of the Port Stephens region.
Always bolstered with plenty of brews thanks to a few of the local crew working at nearby Bottlos.
It was like the piss just fell off the backs of trucks right into our laps.

Somehow, during the Bellagio years the local crew finally got their shit together enough to start Port Stephens Bodyboarders Club.
It was an iconic association which basically ran anytime the committee wasn’t too hungover to get out of their crypts.


I recall the president of the day rolling out of bed one morning looking like his head had just been nuked in a microwave, peering out of the window to see it was overcast and rolling back into bed to call off the comp.
It ended up being fucking pumping but most of us missed the session as we all had a severe case of the Gary Busys.

The Bellagio and PSBC went hand in hand.
A club for our friends and a house for the fiends.

The PSBC and Bellagio saw some heavy hitters roll through both institutions and it was during these years where a few lads from the Newcastle scene were welcomed warmly into the fold.


The usual goons that pissed everyone off would still roll into town when Boxy was on to blow waves and smoke out of each other’s arses.
All of the Port Stephens surfing community and our fellow Newy frothers hated those cunts.

There were several occasions when the mite of the Bay and Newcastle’s youth congregated and congested the Bellagio bachelor bunker.
It was a place of many firsts for the younger generation rolling through the PSBC at the time.
If you applied a black light to any piece of furniture in the joint it would have ignited a supernova.
The fold out futon was aptly declared the “DNA couch” and it’s believed to be the breeding ground for any number of pandemic inducing pathogens and immaculate conceptions.

Anyway, one particular evening after the final PSBC comp of the year there was going to be some local and Newy bands playing a show at the school hall.
The pre and after party was always going to be you know where.
Dallas took the top tier of the cake in typical Dallas fashion that year in the Open division and the amber started flowing from mid-afternoon.

As maxi-taxis filled to hit the hall a number of pissed players were already blowing chunks.
This was going to get messy.

At the hall the bands set-up and the deviants of the region started rolling in.
Only a couple of hundred or so.
The line-up included some notable talent that would go onto play in some iconic hardcore bands like Dropsaw, The Dead Walk and Every Word.
It’s going to seem like I’m blowing my own bugle here but even my shitty band that night would go on to secure the Triple J unearthed act of the year and get invited to play at Luna Park.
Pretty crazy for kids who could barely hold their liquor and riffs at the time.

As that night progressed the scene in the school hall became more and more hostile.
Beer, sweat and testosterone were in abundance and something had to give.
It all came to a head when the front man of one the bands jumped into the crowd and started throwing skin hammers at vexed local surfers.
A quick all-in ensued with claret flowing across the dance floor.
It was the last band of the night and the evening was appropriately called earlier than scheduled.
Next thing you know the whole gig is back at the Bellagio with the bands and brawlers all broking peace over another million beers.


The moon set, and the sun rose as closed windows and gyprock walls sprung aeration holes and syrup sucking soldiers fell one by one.

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