Groovesville Soul Club Opening Night Jan 2009 Lookback
I have copied a couple of reviews from the opening night of Groovesville Soul club
The next night will be Sat 18th April same time same place, book your tickets early as we will be opening the R&B room for the first time
Andy Kempster & Toby
GROOVESVILLE SOUL CLUB
Despite the 'Small' setback of my 'Clamping' encounter - resulting in me actually being out of pocket on a night that should've seen me going home 'In Profit' this 'First Night' for Andy & Toby under the auspices of the, all new, 'Groovesville' banner.. was (quite simply) 'EXCELLENT' !!
Centrally located but conveniently on the peripherals of Hitchin's town centre, this 'New' promotion can be found within a club called 'Remix'. A name which (really) belies the amazing and, truly, 'ideal' venue that greets people as they ascend the short staircase and enter (through the double-doors) the 'Main Arena'. Alternatively one could, instead, opt for a different set of double-doors through which you find yourself in an 'annexe' type bar & lounge/seating area - which also enjoys the audio action from the main hall piped in. With no need for concern about missing out on any of the musical selections offered up over the six-hour session.
With it's own 'base' atmosphere - already (pleasingly) ensconced within the wonderful character and layout of this superb 'made-for-entertainment-purpose' accommodation, it serves as a perfect accompaniment with which to enhance that 'Uniquely SPECIAL' atmosphere - derived and created, ONLY, as a direct result of the correct mix of ingredients (but perfectly measured) of both the 'Soulie-Peeps' type attendees blended perfectly with the incessant onslaught of (nothing but..) out & out 'Quality', 'Top Drawer', and (all) 'Class', 'Rare Soul Music' tuneage - thrown to the mercy of the dance floor aficionado's courtesy of the extremely capable band of Music Managers employed for a promotion that (I believe) could, very easily, find itself a success story of phenomenal proportion.
Instead of a reputation-life being one (forever) of 'Dome-Comparison'- and, if the formula employed for their inaugural 'Soul Nite' forms the cement for the foundations of Groovesville's long-term 'Ethos', I predict the (very welcome, & refreshing) emergence of a future 'Rare Soul Music' promotion that will surely witness an 'ultimate' status rise, and earn the title (in it's own right) of that very tiny minority held, 'Elite' level, of 'Icon' !! (Wow !! - I've, all of a sudden, become psychic !! Incredible, that !!)
Overseeing the Door-Tax collecting and Rubber-stamping duties for the night was another 'Icon' of our wondrous Soul Music 'Sub-Culture'.. Back Door Kenny. Who performed, with an eloquent excellence - in a style that only Ken can proffer, to a level of complete competence (I think it is, actually, Ken's 'Forte'.. His 'true' calling ?!?) Perhaps you should give total undivided attention if them 'voices' says anything at all to you Ken, lad. It could (just possibly, maybe - perhaps..) lead you on to that road, you know - made of gold. That, that there (Could he have been, actually, the 'Original' - 'Dick Head', maybe ?? ) young-fella-me-lad, Mr Whittington, kept prattling on about !?! (Or was that his pussy of an accomplice.. ?? I'll have to 'MEWS' over that one..).
After my initial arrival, and after having escorted and placed my boxes of vinyl thing-a-ma-jig's within the safe boundary confines of the stage (with able assistance from a geezer I'll talk about, in more detail, in a mo) Chris and I then headed back to the entrance to partake in another ciggie. Soon, I espied (from the corner of my eye) 'Dr Chris'.. All of a sudden wearing a rather 'Pickled' complexion . Looking (I thought) as though he would make an excellent 'movie' extra - as an 'Expectant Father' !!) No wonder he was outside having a puff. I also overheard some mutterings, of seeming gibberish, emanating from within his vocal chord region, too (I wondered for a moment if, perhaps, he too was maybe looking at a change of vocation ?? To one of 'Ventriloquism'.. Bit 'Drastic', 'Innit !?! I pondered..) and something about being 'Up on-stage' (upstaged, maybe ?? - I dunno..). Followed with a couple or three 'Very soon',s - and an 'In a minute' was DEFO orated by him at least once or maybe, even, twice !! I was just hoping - whatever it was - that it weren't 'CATCHING'.
After following him inside, about 5 minutes later, it quickly dawned on me exactly what Chris had actually been doing outside - 'cos, once back inside, 'his time had come' and he had just taken control of the decks. He must have been 'SHI**ING HIMSELF when having his last fag - I thought. And with the imminent arrival & fast approaching 'Start Time' of his set no more than just a few hundred seconds away - that 'nerves' thing was taking it's toll on his Psyche. 'Glad I ain't the ONLY one' I very quietly muttered, under my breath, to myself - just as I caught those around me looking, very 'strangely' at me. As though I'd changed colour, or something !?! And was talking to myself.. !!
Due to the Clamping saga I totally forgot about the re-arranging of the DJ times (to accommodate the result of the Karl & Marco 'Is he, or isn't he ? If so, which one ? When ? - or is it both ?' scenario) following Karl's recent health scare. So, there I was.. still in the belief my set was to start at 10 pm. Just as well I thought to confirm - quickly seeing it was now a 9.30 kick-off for my bit !! Even then I had to ask if the Doc would mind just 'playing on' should I not make it back in time (with the few minutes I had left before the scheduled start of my set) from getting my car unclamped and re-located to enjoy some 'Clamp-Free' time in the public car-park a few hundred yards from the clubs entrance. As it happened I arrived back up on stage only a couple of minutes after I would normally (a-huffing & a-puffing, after my jog back from the car park). Chris had announced the last spin of his set and, as his 7" of vinyl made the rounds on it's allotted deck - I prepared for my first 45. Just managing to have it cued-up with only enough time for me to pick up the microphone to immediately launch my usual 'Spiel & Waffle' to the attended.
I enjoyed my spot. (I always do, anyway.. but some are far 'better' than others, for me) and I was happily contented.. Feeling I had contributed sufficiently to aid (over-all) assistance toward the successful achievement of the assembled DJ's objectives. Objectives that he or she automatically, and unequivocally, undertakes upon accepting invitation to be one of the selected 'Music Masters' for a promotion. It isn't always easy to get it right each & every time, either !! We can, but only try.
Although I was unable to concentrate (as much as I would have liked) on Chris's 45mins I could hear the majority of his offered spins. From his first selected 45 onward - he churned out a very worthwhile plethora of good, fresh, soul dance music of quality - to satisfy the thirst now being experienced by those that came to 'strut their stuff' on the nicely sized dance floor. I was pleased, too, to be following after Chris - believing 100% that his tunes would suit, nicely, how I wanted to lay out my stall at Groovesville. He didn't fail at THAT, either. Well Done, Chris !! Top job and I can't wait 'till you start to get the sort of time slots - and at the better attended, 'Mainstream' venues, your DJ prowess ( I believe) deserves. What was the price we agreed for all this 'Big-Up', again, Chris.. ?? was it a straight ton, did we say ?!?
Well done, in fact, to ALL the DJ's - each one added to the mix something different (I felt) to one another. Ultimately contributing to a totally all-round brilliant night. Steve G followed me (again) with a super 60's set which gave me my 'Record of the Night', the superb Sheepherders on the Sounds International label (I think.. - I hope !!). Don't often get to hear that played out.. Cheers Mr G. Unfortunately I didn't get to catch much of Marco's set (gutted !!) due to having to sort repayment of the debt I'd unwittingly incurred earlier - courtesy of 'The Clampit's'. Karl did his usual bizness - I, for one, was pleased he stayed with 'His' (normal) type spins as, at one point (earlier in the evening), he seemed to cast a slither of doubt as to his potential reception from the floor. I put this (uncharacteristic) 'glitch' down to his health issues and, as he proved very early on, he had no cause to be concerned in the slightest. Top Stuff - which we have now come to expect from Karl, anyway.
Andy & Toby certainly made a lot of 'right' decisions in putting together Groovesville's First Night - to put Pete on for the last hour this evening, I think, was 'Pure Genius'. He delivered up one of the BEST ever spots I've heard him perform. As I said to him at the time.. 'You are the first DJ, in over fifteen years, to succeed in keeping me on the dance floor for THREE consecutive tunes' !! If I owned a hat - I would take it off to you in respect, good Sir. You weren't playing out of Chrissie's excellent little 'box of tricks' were you, Pete !!
It capped off what was an excellent over all start to Groovesville's journey towards inevitable success. The April one is gonna be 'A MUST DO' with the line-up planned. Again, some of the country's Top 'Up & Coming' (step forward 'Mr Stuart Cheetham'), and 'Current', DJ's (Mr D. SO deserved - and worked for, too).
In addition to the positive vibes felt about the good Doctor (Chris), I was also really 'made-up' in the knowledge Top Man DJ Karl Heard was to be in attendance as the Headline Guest. AND the fact he still made the journey (along with the wonderful Karen) despite his current, below par, health status. Needless to say (& feeling quite certain I speak on behalf of many others) Sincerest wishes to you for a very speedy and full return to a state (and with a long-life, too Karl..) of good health.
The great friends, and fellow soulies, too (quite a few, even, who reside in areas closer to Karl's part of the country) - who also made both the effort and the long journey south to Hertfordshire (home of the original 'Garden City'). All were particularly welcoming sights to my little peepers. As too was Flanny, (another 'Right Up There' geezer AND DJ) - who is one of the Top 10 DJ's (IMHO) - of both the 'Moment' & 'Future' along with & accompanied by, Debbie his delectable & always 'gorgeous' looking, good Lady & wife. With them making a terrific contribution for, and doing the Northwest region proud.
Whilst on the subject of gorgeous - a pleasure, also, to find young Tracy in attendance at a venue in my part of the world for once. As it was, too, with Chris & Marcelle, Mickey Cruise and his delightful companion (apologies, but I haven't committed the young lady's name to my memory yet - or 'phone book..).
A lot closer to home - I was also very pleased (and surprised) to see Barry Giles in attendance - someone else that has always had a good ear for a class (& rare) tune .. As well as having had, indeed STILL having, some Top Draw tunes !! Rod Keith's 'It's Done, It's Over' being a very reflective 'current' example (well, for the moment anyway..). Tunes the likes you would (only too willingly) do absolutely ANYTHING !! to obtain ownership of a copy !! It's been at least six, seven - maybe even eight years, since we last saw one another (a Wilton 'niter - early Y2K) and he only lives 15 minutes drive from me !!
Marco - Another person who's reputation travels before them. Although we didn't get properly introduced until just after the close, and outside.. it was a REAL pleasure to meet your (albeit, brief) acquaintance.. I look forward to the possibility of doing some business together and developing a long-term, mutually beneficial, friendship. Which leads me quite nicely on to that south coast 'Duet of High Jinx', the 'Terrible Twosome' of Dave (Abbott) & Russ (Vickers). So much respect for both these geezers. Toward the tail end of 2008 (courtesy of the 'Main Man', Dave) I was presented with, what turned out to be, thee (ABSOLUTELY & beyond ANY doubt) 'BESTEST' CD I'd been given all year. I'd taken delivery of around 60 in total - with a few 'Right Corkers' amongst them, too (kindest regards and eternal thanx for those, Brad.. An education - to say the least). Mr Abbot's gift to me of his compilation CD - that I now refer to as 'Every One's A Winner' - is (quite literally) exactly that. Each and every track (for me) is 'dynamite' to my ears.. and the real 'cherries on the icing' were a couple of tracks he included that - with the exception of hearing Dave's on the CD - I'd only ever (previously) heard the copy of each that are within the boxes of my own collection. Both of which I (still) have yet to give their first airing at a venue (by me, anyway..).
A pleasure, too (as always) to see more of the usual & 'Localised' suspects from the counties bordering Herts. Chantel - from Bedford (as I thought, and hoped, she would be), - was also to be found in early attendance. Her presence alone, meant I would DEFO give a spin of my Temptations Hitsville Studio Acetate (alternate, & unissued, take - #6) of their brilliant 1980's tune.. 'Power'. With the unmistakable vocal talents of Dennis Edwards dominating the strong lyric content, this disc very quickly turned in to what is currently one of the most requested plays I'm now regularly asked for. Chantel gets massive credit for her inspirational display, & words said to me, following the first time I played it out at an all-nighter (in Rugby's 'Freestyle' room, last Nov 13th - Chantel's first hearing of it). It was this inspiration which led me to 'go with it' as a regular set spin. It definitely seems to work for the majority and for the time that people keep asking for it - I'll just keep right on playing it for them !!
Mr Chicago, alias Shane Cox was also there - with his young lady (another name I've failed to remember.. sorry !!). I will (always) have all the time in the world for Shane, and consider it an honour for me to be able to call him a friend. We did a bit of the old vinyl wheeler-dealing in the bar area (which is also, always, another pleasure with such the 'Nice' guy Shane really is). I think (as is normally the case) we are both happy, and very satisfied, with the deals we struck. Look forward to our next encounter, mate (Wilton's Anniv 'niter).
Those that (for whatever reason) missed out on this event will, most certainly, NOT want to miss the next - which instantly tells you just how busy the April date will become. They'll be 'Swinging from the Rafters', just you see if they don't.
Below is my play list for the 45 min's between 9.30 & 10.15pm. I try to make sure they are in the order of play.. But, I'm a bit - well.. 'Hopeless' really.
Chandlers 'Your Love Makes Me Lonely' (Col-Sol)
Carstairs 'Stick By Me Baby' (Test Press)
Pat Lewis 'Geni' (Detroit Stars)
Tony Clarke 'The Wrong Man' (M-S) REQUEST
Betty Wilson 'I'm Yours' (Dayco)
Patrinell Staten 'A Little Love Affair' (Sepia)
Johnny Robinson 'Gone But Not Forgotten' (Okeh)
forum thread with more views on the night can be read via link below