Pulling together some of the biggest names in dance music has been no mean feat for Colours promoter Ricky McGowan, but there's method behind the madness: he aims to educate as well as entertain.
Words: Leon McDermott
‘There’s a big sheep factor in Scotland,’ says Colours organiser Ricky McGowan. And no, he’s not talking about this country’s relationship with fluffy animals that make nice jumpers. ‘People want to be educated, to an extent, when they go to a club, but they don’t want to put any effort into it,’ he explains. ‘They just want to go along to a night and hear all the big tunes of the moment. What we’re trying to do is provide people with that, but we also want to open their minds a little.’
To this end, the Colours Fall ’99 event is covering almost every musical base. In the beautifully designed and expertly engineered setting of Bathgate’s Room At The Top, the five ‘Studios’ on offer will feature everything: in Studio One, Bedrock, there’s epic trance voyages courtesy of hard house pioneer John Digweed and man of the moment Ferry Corsten aka System F; Trevor Nelson, Radio One’s champion of R&B, brings his Rhythm Nation north of the border for the first time in Studio Four; and the percussive garage of the Constipated Monkeys, otherwise known as DJs and producers Jose Nunez and Harry ‘Choo Choo’ Romero, headline the Subliminal Records party in Studio Three. Two New Jersey natives who have both worked with Subliminal Records mainman Erick ‘More’ Morillo, and with a clutch of releases on Strictly Rhythm (both together and with other collaborators), Nunez and Romero are out to experiment with the confines of house, mixing up funk and filtered disco with solid four to the floor grooves.
Their appearance is something of a coup for McGowan. ‘We’ve been working on organising this event for six months,’ he says. ‘We’ve always had a good relationship with Erick Morillo, and we wanted to have a Subliminal room at Fall ’99, so getting the Constipated Monkeys was something of an added
'l'm in this for the music, that's why I do it, and if not playing it safe means not getting the busiest nights then I'm not Klass and Jon Mancini- bothered. It at least opens things up.’ Ricky McGowan, Colours.
From Rennaisance to Room At The Top, he's everyone’s fave: John Digweed
extra.’ McGowan is hoping that Nunez and Romero will educate the crowd as much as they rock the dance ﬂoor, saying that ‘there’s no point in playing it safe; you have to try and cross boundaries and open people’s minds a bit. You might get a bigger crowd if you play it safe, but this isn’t about business; I’m in this for the music, that’s why I do it, and if not playing it safe means not getting the busiest nights then I’m not bothered. It at least opens things up.’ Not that Colours doesn’t cater for the less experimental fans; with Fall ’99 also featuring a tenth- year anniversary party for Streetrave, featuring Jeremy Healy, Allister Whitehead, K-
McGowan knows that ‘people can really relate to hands-in-the-air tunes’ and that Healy and Whitehead are two of the finest at persuading crowds to reach for the skies. With John Digweed at the controls with Bedrock, and the M8 party, featuring Col Hamilton and Michael Kilkie, house diehards will be better than well served, but they’d be well advised to drop in on the Subliminal Party. Monkeys, constipated or otherwise, don’t appear behind the decks too often in what is, reckons McGowan, one of the best clubs in the country. ‘People might look down at Room At The Top, but it’s amazing; the design is brilliant, the sound system is second to none, and it’s one of the biggest clubs in the country.
The Colours Fesitval is at Room At The Top on Sat 4 Sep.
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Last week of late licenses, people, so get out there. Homelands Technically not a club, but so chock-a-block with DJs and live acts that we just had to include it. See feature, page 20. The Royal High/and Centre, Sat 4 Sep. Colours Dance Festival This one’s definitely in a club but has such an immense line-up that they're calling it a festival. See preview. Room At The Top. Sat 4 Sep.
Anything At The Honeycomb The rumours are true, it‘s been sold and you have until Sun 12 Sep to enjoy the likes of Taste, Substance, Atomic Baby, Higher Ground and Streetlife before it's all over, red rover. The Honeycomb, see listings for individual C/Ub details.
Twisted Admitedly not everyone’s cup of tea, tonight offers three rooms — bouncy Scottish hardcore, full on techno and gabba, and techno and trance. The proceeds are going to charity and it should attract legions of youngsters coaching it in from all corners. The Venue, Sun 29 Aug. Platinum He begged, he pleaded then he bribed us so his night is here on the Hit list. See how it works? Anyway, Detroit techno star Kenny Larkin will be dropping by to wow the crowds like he has pretty much all decade. A must see. The Vaults, Sat 28 Aug.
Rebel Waltz Your chance to experience the deep house delights of Murray Richardson as he hosts Craig Smith and Adrian Milarski from In Demand Records at this top label showcase. City Cafe, Fri 27 Aug.
Streetlife Yogi Haughton brings one of R&B's most famous Dls, Trevor Nelson. Get down early and show your appreciation people. The Honeycomb, Fri 27 Aug.
26 Aug-9 Sep 1999 THE LIST 57