Saturday, 19 January 2008


The problem with responding to an article that you don't agree with is that you end up giving the thing even more exposure. That said, the Manchester Evening News took it upon itself to make an appeal for new vibrant clubs in 2008 as, by its reckoning, 2007 was pretty rubbish.

Firstly, it's worth bearing in mind that this was published at the beginning of January: a notoriously quiet time in the clubbing calendar. So there's a whiff of 'space filling' hanging around those supposedly impassioned words.

And, while noting the likes of Clique and Keys Money Lipstick, it has also overlooked some other great clubs hosting quality parties in recent times. Naive Melody, Micron, Up The Racket, Prostitutes and Policemen, Sex With Robots, Sequence, Locked, Soundscape, Prime Numbers, Sound Minority, Electrode, High Voltage, El Diablo's and Contort Yourself were always enthusiastically championing the freshest quality underground music.

Meanwhile Electric Chair, Tramp and Get Girl also ensured that they went out with a bang via appearances from upstarts including Toddla T, Buraka Som Sistema, Pilooski and more. The likes of Stylus and Development found freshness in new forms of house music. Sankeys delivered on a promise to host those less obvious names (including some Bugged Out line-ups that shifted from techno to bass-heavy 'fidget'). The Warehouse project brought - as Luke Unabomber observed - 'idosyncratic club music to large amounts of people'. Saki had the kids dancing over in Rusholme. The floors at Joshua Brooks and The Attic twisted and turned through dubstep, breaks, minimal, electro and indie. The Northern Quarter bars were soundtracked by an equally wide range of quality local DJs. There were the after-hours parties. The various festival events. Notable one-offs in boozers like The Salutation. Arty happenings at the Islington Mill. Even a 'sit-down disco' and a 'clothes swap'. The city's scene also managed to produce a number of club-friendly bands that could not give a flying fuck about some old disco called The Hacienda. In terms of 21st century production, we had Trus'me, Andy Stott, Kevin Gorman and Shadow Dancer gaining plenty of international recognition.

The way we see it, 2007 was actually pretty good.


kingy said...

that evening news article linked to is a total joke. the warehouse project alone made manchester the most important clubbing city in the UK. id be astonished if 'richard hector jones' stepped foot inside a manchester club in 2007 the guy seems utterly clueless

James said...

Well said. RHJ normally has his head screwed on too, but that article is just rank. While I concede that there's probably a few too many 'uniform' electro/nu-rave/whatever nights in Manc right now, there's plenty of other stuff to go to. I'd be out every night if finances weren't a problem.

Look at next weekend for example: you've got the Electric Chair swansong at Music Box, Juan fuckin' Atkins at Prime Numbers at Roadhouse, Clique's first night at the Mint Lounge, plus the likes of Aficionado, Naive Melody, that Paradise Factory re-opening palaver and probably loads more that I'm missing. Manchester's clubbing scene is in ruder health than ever as far as I'm concerned.

Badgerina said...

Richard Hector Jones generally knows his stuff and he's been writing (often astutely) about the Manchester clubbing scene for years. We're lucky in Manchester to have so many clubs celebrating their birthdays - it means that great clubs are finding the loyal crowds they deserve.

However, I don't think he's right in saying last year was a wash-out. Moho and the Northern (especially the Trus'me album launch party, which sold out in about half a second)are great new venues, the Warehouse Project ironed out the kinks that irked us at the Boddingtons and smashed it up, and there have been some great nights popping up - all the ones in the list above are worth checking out.

2008 is looking good too. Just because nights like Development, Bugged Out! and so on continue to pull some great lineups out of the bag doesn't mean that there's not plenty of fresh stuff going on. Nights like Prime Numbers and Detroit Public Radio, for example, are far more exciting than, say, checking out yet another Keep it Unreal, while the opening of The Club (aka...) and Area 51 mean there's plenty coming up too.

It seems to me that this article isn't actually about the lack of new nights and small, fierce clubs opening up. It is more than likely that actually, all RHJ is trying to do is entice new promoters to send him through listings and press releases so he can be sure of being on the button. All part of the job and nothing to get your knickers in a twist about.

It's just unfortunate that the way he has gone about it makes him look out of touch with the material he's meant to be covering.


I agree with something that Badgerina says about promoters sending through info about their new events. That whole "we just wanted to start a night for us and our mates" has become a bit of a cliche over the years, but there are, in fact, a lot of young promoters with fresh, inventive ideas that could actually draw a bigger crowd if they just sent a short email with some times and prices and a quick summary of what they're trying to do.

Personally, I'm always speaking to people who are active on the scene, collecting flyers wherever I go while still needing to trawl various forums and MySpace accounts to keep on top of what's going on. And stuff continues to slip through the net. Yet that's very different to saying "there's been nothing new going on and we're bored".

Oh, and I love your profile Badgerina.

i am sam said...

as a promoter of a small night i was very lucky to get support from RHJ in the MEN with picture and all - helped us just about break even!

on another note, after initially doing a feature and listing us 1 month he then ignored our listing request the next ???

i went to the opening of the paradise garage and it was a bit gash to be honest. moho's is rubbish i think and the NQ in general is going really downhill - i was djing ina packed bay horse on saturday to mainly big old fat skinheads with the jumpes withe bird sewn into them.

where is the creative hub in manchester? who is pushing things forward? as a southerner who moved up here about a year ago i have been blown away by some really cool things but then utterly shocked at some of the shite aswell.

also there is a cliquyness about promoting in manchester - how am i supposed to compete with the bigger clubs (and i mean contort yourself/naive melody !!!) when their flier/poster monkeys rip ours down to make space for them. all this AND we were find by the council for putting 1 poster up on oxford road.

fundamental facts are that there is a lack of quality venues, lack of quality marketing ops (NN excluded pretty much) and the competition is massive.

all i can do is to keep getting quality music and hope the club night grows but at the moment it's running at massive financial loss.

croft said...

i am sam is so right, it's getting very clicky in Manchester (again) and NQ isn't what it used to be.

Intended or not, Richard Hector Jones comes across as well out of touch.

Anonymous said...

RHJ is very very out of touch with this in my view. The view I share with some other promoters when we discuss media is that he tends, through naivity or bias, to regurgitate the same info on the same nights (interestingly often with a link to Pic Records - eg El Diablos (which is a fairly decent night with a small but loyal crowd and has good guests on from time to time..) or his old mates from Bugged Out) [the clique comments above are very true!] without really looking at Manchester Clubs afresh. I get the impression he hasnt set foot in many of the nights he tends to favour for years, and never been to the ones he ignores, but harps back to memorys of good night in there in the distant past.

We do not bother sending MEN any promotional info now. Its a waste of time..

The Metro, Guardian and online sources such as Northern Nights and Dont Panic are much better bets. Fairer, fresher and more appraised of what is actually going on. A focussed piece, decent pleasant relationship (without feeling the need to grovel and question the journo's intergrity) and getting the info in on time all help.

Sometimes we get listed, sometimes we dont - but at least if we dont, I can hand on heart say its because there were plenty of other great nights to choose from for those journalists, and not feel its down to bias by RHJ giving editorial space to a mate who's got a bar gig somewhere...

Note to MEN Editors: either give RHJ a decent expense account and send him out to have some fun, and visit nights like what I Am Sam is promoting, that would benefit from some focussed attention in MEN, or headhunt a journo from The Metro or Marc Rowlands, who will do just that in an unbiased fashion.

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With regards to getting nights listed: both The Guardian and Metro use Press Association listings so if you want your night featured in their What's On guides, you need to send the info through to For Northernights it's northernights at [I actually use the Northernights events as reference for Metro editorial content, oddly enough] and for the M.E.N.'s City Life section, it's