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The Station Hotel, Dudley, 15th March, 2004.
Yet another cracking night at The Station. Numbers well up over the 100 mark again, and hopefully swelled by the article in The Dudley Chronicle (See separate article). Music was again a nice mixture of Oldies, rarities and R & B with two excellent guest spots from Steve Wileman and Dude. Lots of big name guests lined up for later in the year as well.
Heavenly Blocked, The Atlantic Grand Hotel, Weston Super Mare, 16th March, 2004.
Dead easy to find, just follow the M5 to Weston, drive to the seafront, and turn left, and youíre there. The promoters said this was a quite one (A bit of Prestatyn hangover, and saving money for the big Mod weekender the following weekend), but there were still in excess of 170 Souls in the place. And what a venue it is, superb room, with a fairly big dancefloor as well. A rather difficult crowd to please though, however by the time I went on at midnight, and started with a few Oldies to get people moving, it was a full floor throughout the hour. Thoroughly enjoyed myself and would happily go back again, if you live within travelling distance and havenít been yet, get yourself along there.
Fishley Park Country Club, Pelsall, Nr Walsall, 20th March, 2004.
A new venue for Martyn Bradley, Paul Cross, and Des Parker, and didnít it go well. There must have been almost 150 people in the place, and when I asked what the music policy was I was told to entertain. So thatís what I did, the music was mixed between Oldies, R & B, and rarities, all of which filled the floor. I must give a special mention to Mark Bicknell though. In the week that he lost his father he managed to come to the Midlands and play a frighteningly good set. Monster rarity after rarity, all of which filled the floor. Well done mate. Overall, a really successful night which unfortunately we had to leave early to get to Birmingham.
The Pavilion Allnighter, University Of Central England, Birmingham, 20th March, 2004.
Fantastic new venue, out of the city centre, set in itís own grounds with security on the car park. Unfortunately there were three other allnighters on tonight, and the numbers were desperately low. In fact the Modern room struggled to reach double figures most of the night and was very cold as well. The Northern room had just about enough to make it worthwhile, and all the people there enjoyed themselves. So, I know there will be another niter here, but it really does need support.
Notts Union, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 2nd April, 2004.
Keith Money, and Kenny Burrell made the long journey down from Scotland, so Col Kidson and I made the considerably shorter journey from Dudley to the Notts Union Soul night. Surprisingly numbers were well down on the packers they have been in the past, perhaps that was because itís now a No Smoking venue and you have to go and stand on the balcony for a quick ciggie. Although Kenny has a collection of monster rarities, it was always going to be Keith that stole the show for the man just has immaculate taste in music. Derek Allen, Mick H, and Sid from the Lime St Soulnights were also all on form. Overall, this was, for the second weekend in a row, pure Rare Soul at itís best. Thanks to all the DJís you did your job well and everyone who I spoke to had nothing but praise for the quality of music being played.
The Benn Hall, Rugby, 3rd April, 2004.
At first I thought the numbers would be badly affected by the Half Time Orange running at Leicester the same night, and although the Modern room was affected by Soul Essence, the main room was only slightly down in numbers. Those that were there though made up for it in enthusiasm. The dancers made their presence felt really early on, no doubt forced onto the floor by Derek Allenís first set. I followed Derek, and with a set of storming Oldies kept them there. Matt Smart came on to do his second set at 10pm, now I donít remember if Iíve mentioned Matt before, but heís still in his teens (I think), and has the right attitude, and the records, heís even started using the microphone as well now ! Karl Boddington kept the mix flowing nicely, Derek Allen returned, having shot over to Leicester and done a set there in between, and then I finished the night off with the usual mix of R & B, rarities, a few Oldies, and then twenty minutes of Beat Ballads that took us through until 2.15 am. I can only recommend this venue again and again, I really enjoy myself every time I go.
Lou Pride at The 100 Club, 8th April, 2004.
Not only did you get a Sixties and Seventies soul legend singing in front of a very tight band, with an awesome horn section, but it was John Westonís 40th Birthday that night as well, and he was DJing. Now regular readers will know John is a good friend of mine, and will also be quite familiar with some of his, shall we call them Ďadventures with alcoholí, So I thought I couldnít miss this night. I didnít tell John I was going to turn up so that was the first surprise for him, and the second surprise was he stayed sober. Wearing a T Shirt that said ĎIf abandoned please return to Dave Rimmerí (A Birthday present from Janine and Chalky) he did himself proud. Onto Lou Pride. Iíll be honest, I was so busy taking photographs that if you asked me what his set running order was I couldnít give you an answer. I know he sounded great, his chat between the songs was confident and funny, and not only did he enjoy himself, everyone I spoke to after the show also enjoyed it. In addition, Lou was very happy to chat to people and sign autographs throughout the night. All in all a very enjoyable night. Thanks also to Jo and Paulo who provided me with a bed for the night.
The Ritz, Desborough, 10th April, 2004.
Iíd never been to Desborough, but had always heard good things about it, and as soon as I walked in I knew why. The venue itself is absolutely perfect. Itís almost as though time has stood still. I can remember attending Clubs in the Seventies that were similar in dťcor and atmosphere to The Ritz, but this isnít tacky. Everything is clean, well maintained and decorated. Thereís a big dancefloor, with panels of coloured flashing lights set into the ceiling above it (Which were actually turned off as the dancefloor got busy), pleasant and efficient bar staff, and lots of dancers. Musically it covered the whole range, so when Karl Boddington said play what you want, I took him literally. Not only did some of the lesser known things still fill the dancefloor quit a few people came to the decks to look what they were. Just one final point, a quiz really. Which venue promoter forgot to bring any of their own flyers ? Hereís a clue, itís a good job that Karl Boddington and I remembered to bring some (Now where have you seen those two DJ names together recently ?) Hi Sian !!!!
Bar Lorca Allnighter, Brixton, 10th April, 2004.
Back Door Kenny from the 100 Club was on chauffeur duty to get me to Brixton from Desborough, and after a two hour white knuckle ride we arrived safely just after 3 am. I discovered to my joy that the bar was still serving, so a couple of pints quickly settled my nerves. Both rooms were fairly busy with dancers coming and going onto the floor through the night, although the venue itself is just the right sort of size for an allnighter these days. Well done to Kev Moore for having the bottle to give it a go, not everything was perfect, but Kev said that he was on a learning curve, and would get things right next time. Iím looking forward to it.
The Station Hotel, Dudley, 16th April, 2004.
Another busy night at The Station, especially as there were two other Soul nights on locally. Musically it was a bit of a mixture, ranging from Stompers from both Wigan and Stafford, R & B, and some nice midtempo. The two guest DJs this month were Kenny Onions who quickly got into the groove with the dancers, and Guy Hennigan, who despite playing some of the Stafford rarities he is known for, struggled for the first half of his set. He got the floor full then though. You canít really criticise though because there was something for all Sixties Soul and R & B fans during the course of the night.
Lifeline Allnighter, Sherridans, Dewsbury, 17th April, 2004.
Another full house for Andy Dyson and Mick H. Rarity after rarity, one off after one off, probably 90% Sixties, with a few í70s thrown in for good measure from Soul Sam. This niter really is the business ! The right music, the right DJs, and the right venue, combined with the right people make this my second favourite allnighter of the moment, after The 100 Club. More power to you lads, youíve got a winner that I think will go from strength to strength.
Goodyears, Wolverhampton, 23rd April, 2004.
From a night of upfront rarities one weekend, to Oldies that next. That said, I love doing the odd Oldies night a couple of times a year, itís like returning to your roots and refreshing the system. No matter how many times youíve heard some records, especially Oldies, when you hear thm for the first time in a while, they still sound so vibrant and alive. After all, it was this sort of music that got most of us into Northern Soul. Having said that, I played a couple of tracks in my spot that I knew wouldnít have ever been played at Goodyears before, and to their credit, the dancers stayed on the floor, so perhaps things are moving on a little even at Goodyears.
Bridgwater Social Club, Somerset, 24th April, 2004.
A brilliant venue, with a nice sized crowd in as well. The music ranged from out and out stompers through to Motown classics, and in the last hour quite a few rarities, but it was the R & B stuff that really got the floor moving. I really enjoyed myself because itís nice to visit different parts of the country and chat to people who you donít see that often. Keep your eyes open for the dates of this one, itís just going to get bigger.
Tonge Moor Conservative Club, Bolton, 30th April, 2004
A new venue, promoted by Stevie Z and John Mills. Guest DJs were Mark Bicknell, Eddie Engel, and Bernard Lowe, and yours truly. Unfortunately, despite this being a really smart venue, with a great dancefloor, there were almost more DJs than punters. The music throughout the night was great, but the Club have said that there werenít enough people to justify running another, so thatís the end of that.
Nottís Union, Nottingham, 7th May, 2004.
As always, a really enjoyable night out, with good company, and great music. Roger Banks and Andy Dyson were the two guests tonight and provided a really nice contrast to each other, one playing R & B and Sixties Soul, the other Sixties Soul and Crossover. Derek Allen, John May, and Mick H covered the other spots in their own excellent style, although I did feel that some of the later tracks played srayed into Disco a little bit too much. My only criticism of this venue is that you end up feeling like a naughty schoolboy when you have to go and stand on the landing to have a cigarette (At one point there were nearly twenty people out there) because of the venueís No Smoking policy.
Yateís Club, Pelsall, 8th May, 2004.
Another venue for ĎSoul Incorporatedí (Martyn Bradley, Des Parker, and Paul Cross), only this one is monthly (and coincidentally, on the same road as the Fishley Park quarterly venue). The music policy is to continue in the Albrighton tradition and play a bit of everything. Nick Marshall and Keith William were the guests, and I canít ever remember hearing Nick DJ before, but he played an excellent set, mixing rarities in with cheapies to good effect. Keith Williams is one of the most underrated DJs in the country, and consistently produces good sets. Martyn, Des and Paul werenít too shabby either, so overall a good night.