Batley to host music stars again at 'more intimate version' of Variety Club
Batley Variety Club brought the likes of Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey and Roy Orbison to the town in its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as comedy legends Morecambe and Wise.
Now a new era of live music and entertainment is set to launch at Origin bar, on Bradford Road.
The man behind the venture, Nick Westwell, was previously the manager of The Frontier (formerly known as Batley Variety Club).
He is aiming to hark back to the golden era of the iconic venue with this new programme of live music, bringing international names to Batley for the first time since The Frontier closed in 2016.
The shows will take place on the ground floor at Origin before its popular club events begin upstairs at midnight.
In an effort to make the venue accessible to a wider range of audiences, the venue is extending the dancefloor, building a new stage for live performances and offering an eclectic programme of live music, comedy shows and bingo nights.
Nick said: "Things change, people's requirements change, people's needs change, so we’re changing the venue from a party bar into a live venue before midnight.
“This means we're making some dramatic changes, like building a stage and extending the dance floor to make it more adaptable to different audiences.
"We’ll be doing 70s shows, 80s shows, hosting international artists, comedy acts, the very best tribute acts available as well as rock, mod and open mic nights. We’ll also be running an event called Boogie Bingo, an alternative to Bongos Bingo.
“This is all going to happen early doors before midnight ahead of the nightclub opening upstairs, so they will be operating as two completely separate venues.”
Nick, who was the former general manager of The Frontier until it closed its doors in 2016, opened Origin just a week after its closure and has since invested half a million pounds into the venues.
With this new venture, Nick promises to offer the people of Batley and beyond an intimate take on the world-famous Variety Club.
To pay homage to The Frontier, Origin will be installing the original sign inside the venue.
“We're constantly investing in new technologies and new ideas, and this is just one of those,” he said.
“After so many people have been locked up for the past couple of years, we feel that they want more than just music and dancing; they need entertaining and that's what we propose to do.
“With Origin Live we are investing in the venue and in the town. There's a lot of people of all different ages that need entertaining and we're trying to facilitate that while also becoming part of the community.”
Origin Live will launch on Saturday, October 30. with a special performance from the R&B legend and Northern Soul star, Alexander O’Neal - the last act to play the iconic venue The Frontier before its closure in 2016.
Billed as the "Batley Frontier Reunion", O’Neal will be performing some of his biggest hits from the 80s and 90s, including "Criticize", "If You Were Here Tonight" and "Fake".
“I can’t wait to be back on stage in Batley again,” he said.
“Last time I was here performing at The Frontier, the crowd was phenomenal and I’m sure it’s going to be even better this time around.”
The venue will also be bringing the celebrated comic Billy Pearce, Britain’s Got Talent star DJ Murray Mint and the renowned tribute bands Abba Revival, Complete Madness and Oasish to Batley over the coming months.
Tickets for the launch of Origin Live on October 30 will go on sale at 9am on Friday, October 1 and will be available via ticketmaster.com