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Despite continual whining about the dominance of techno and house in Scotland's club scene, pockets of resistance remain scattered around the country - groups of people who frequent a world where the beats are far less regimented and the only true fashion that is followed is the continual search for quality music. Testament to this is Big Beat, suppliers of all that is jazz and dance since 1993. Taking the finest platters around, whether they be of Latin, Afro-funk, soul or even Brazilian bossa-jazz decent, Big Beat has become arguably Scotland’s premier jazz dance club night.
Now on their sixth anniversary, founder and organiser Simon Hodge reflects on how the club has developed. 'T he idea was always to push back musical barriers to keep the club as interesting as possible,’ he explains. 'Part of the key to our success has perhaps been that we don't rely only on old music. Of course we play tunes from the 605 and 70s, but we play contemporary tracks as well and that, I think, keeps things fresh.’
Starting off at La Belle Angele. the club moved to Cafe Graffiti, giving them not only more punters, but also more space for live bands. This is one of the distinctive elements about Big Beat - the frequency and quality of live artists. In keeping with a tradition that has seen appearances from performers from all over the world, the organisers have decided to celebrate in style with a Scottish exclusive: a live set from jazz funk legends The Blackbyrds.
Born out of the classroom of acclaimed ethnomusicologist and jazz legend Donald Byrd in 1973, the band was formed as an aside to the more regular jazz playing he was doing at the time. They issued out
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of a need to build an outfit of jazz players who were willing to push the fusion angle, a development which many of the established players were incredibly resistant to. They have continued to progress with their individual sound, one which has been frequently played over the years at Big Beat.
The booking of the band for the club’s sixth birthday party is viewed by Hodge as a real coup. 'When we started the club, we would sit around in the pub pondering over who we would book, if we could, to appear. We’ve had some real quality names who we managed to get, but The Blackbyrds weren't even a consideration, they were right out of our league. It's going to be quite a night.’
Despite the near definite closure of Cafe Graffiti on Hogmanay, Hodge is optimistic about the club's future. ‘We’ve had six years so far, so if the interest is still there, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t run for six more.’ (Mark Robertson)
mixture of deep house, techno, hip hop and assorted breaks. The QM Union has been selected as the venue because of the management’s enthusiasm for the project (David Lang of Glasgow Uni is a Bugged Out! veteran and has been trying to get them up for ages) and also because it’s relatively neutral. 'If we'd held it at The Arches there was a danger people would see it as Bugged Out! visiting Slam, which it isn’t. This is a joint venture and that's how we want it perceived,’ explains Crae Caldwell from Slam.
Bugged Out!’s pedigree is unrivalled in British clubland. What started in 1994 as an antidote to the handbag vs anorak schools of clubbing has always managed to retain something of the wild innocence of early acid house; the
Slam And Bugged Out Present
It makes perfect sense if you think about it: Slam and Bugged Out!! joining forces to put on a new night in Glasgow. As is the case with Slam at The Arches and Bugged Out! at Cream, the idea is to provide an arena for a large open-minded crowd to get
02 THEN 7-21 Oct 1999
o on him: Dave Clarke
down to some of the world's best - but not necessarily biggest - DJs and producers.
And Glaswegians should be throwing their hands up in delight at the prospect. The first night’s line up is indicative of things to come: Felix da Housekat, Dave Clarke, Orde, Adam Freeland, David Holmes, Rob Bright and Paul Cawley will kick off with a
emphasis is very much on ' ’avin’ a laugh,’ to quote‘lohn of Bugged Out! on why he wants to work with the boys from Slam.
The select mix of big names and residents from both clubs playing next to lesser known DJs will no doubt entertain the punters well into the winter months. Quality music, a diverse crowd and happy vibes: ideal. (Violet) l Slam And Bugged Out! Presents is at Queen Margaret Union, Sat 9 Oct.
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WE HELD A round-table interview recently with various venue managers, owners and promoters regarding the tumultuous state of Edinburgh's club venues. See Agenda, page 17.
LIKE THE HIROSHIMA bomb, the fallout from the sale of The Honeycomb is still settling. First things first; Festival Inns have lost no time at all in opening the refurbished Peppermint Lounge on the site. Touted as the place where ’the party continues' after The Three Sisters (which they also own), it is already doing exceptionally well, and we expect mayhem there when the students discover it. Premier garage club Substance are currently planning a series of one-offs before they pick a venue to reside in, while Euro house/trance club Atomic Baby will be starting a monthly residency at Eden from Saturday 6 November, with pretty much the same line up and music policy as they had at The Honeycomb. For info on Substance, speak to Craig at In Demand on 0131 225 5062; for info on Atomic Baby, call Uber Disko Records on 0131226 2134.
WORK IS WELL underway by the First Leisure group on two new ZOOO-capacity clubs in Scotland, each worth £5 million. Eros & Elite, a twin club being built at the Fountainbridge Complex in Edinburgh, is due to open on Fri 19 Nov. It will be 'constructed on two levels with five differently themed bars, based on the elements that sustain/create life, water, wind, fire and earth, an exclusive VIP bar and an American-themed DJ diner.’ Destiny on Cambridge Street in Glasgow will also have two levels, seven themed bars, a VIP room and diner. Due to open with a ’glittering VIP launch' on Fri 26 Nov, the club will be open six nights a week. Bet you can't wait.
STOP PRESS LATE listing: Psy Phi/Witches Brew hip hop night at the Sub Club, Thu 14 Oct with the Fat City All Stars, MCing from NY’s Aboriginals and Paul Cawley and Alex Horton, Psy Phi residents.
Plans are afoot Craig Smtih and Craig Wood from Substance