One of clubland’s stalwarts, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Shindig, unbelievably celebrates it’s 18th birthday next month in style and launches a UK tour and a series of events. Mark Moore caught up with founder and resident Scott Bradford to get the low down on Shindig’s inspirational history.
Before Shindig, myself and Scooby used to put on parties at a gay club called Rockshots on a Friday night,” Scott explained. “The guys who ran the door then took over the club so we found ourselves without a space. We used to go regularly to Havana in Middlesbrough and Back to Basics in Leeds which inspired us – but there was nowhere like that in Newcastle. We always used to go to my brother’s house post Rockshots for an after party – “back to mine for a shindig” he used to say and the name stuck.”
“As a club night, in 1992 Shindig started at Club Africa which was a funk, hip hop and soul venue. Scooby and I knew the owner’s son. It was about to close as a highway was being built through it so they allowed us to use the 200 capacity venue and design a party for our friends who loved house music as apposed to rave. Shindig was born and was the busiest weekly night there. Scooby and I played all night,”Scott continued.
“Four months later the venue shut for good. We then moved from the Saturday night to a Thursday night at Bliss as we were friends with the manager Rob Cameron and he wanted us to put on a night aimed at students. We started it in the summer before the students arrived so we had something in place already to offer them. From September it was packed every week and we started to get big name guests which made a rod for our own back. It was all change again 5 months later when Rob left as manager and became a partner in the club. The owners thought they could do the night themselves, kicked us out then started putting on parties using our name as their own,” he sighed.
“We went to court and got our name back quickly but to get our costs back took two years as they kept fighting thinking we would buckle.” Scooby and Scott stuck to their guns. Two weeks after Bliss they were putting on parties at the legendary band venue Riverside. “We were the first club night to go there on a Saturday night and we ran weekly for years. It was a great place but eventually it got sold and changed to Foundation.” That same building continued to be Shindig’s home for a decade. Then five years ago they moved to Digital which was owned by their partner at the time Rob Cameron!
“July 2009 we decided to move on from there as it’s such a big club (1400 capacity) and they wanted to take Saturday nights into a more commercial direction. Rob was no longer a partner in Shindig as he had been concentrating on his bar and club empire,”explained Scott.“For years we had been putting on weekly parties and it was only the big name DJs who were drawing a crowd. The other nights were hard work to be honest. We weren’t getting the satisfaction from the nights. We then moved to World Headquarters which is a 700 capacity venue owned by the people who owned Club Africa and made Shindig a monthly event where it’s all about the music. It’s a basically a dark room which we love so we build Shindig from scratch and bring in our own CDJs, mixers, décor, visuals, branding, effects and lighting.”
How has the music style shaped Shindig’s longevity?
“We used to run Flying Records and by having the record shop and getting access to all sorts of styles of music I have always had an open mind in terms of music which has rubbed off on Shindig. We‘ve always stuck to our house roots but at the same time deviated from it. It would not have worked to have the same style of music weekly and by having two rooms meant we could experiment. The loyal followers would be there built by our residents. The icing on the cake would be the pull of the guests. One week we’d have Sasha, Deep Dish or John Digweed and then the week after someone like Graham Park or Roger Sanchez. It kept the night fresh.” As the recession hit, club-goers wanted more for less.
“At the Riverside it did not matter who we put on DJing. It was all about the music and the party. We could experiment. But people’s expectations change. Over the years clubland has changed. It was all about which guest you put on in a cavernous space. Thankfully we are not in that weekly spiral anymore putting on a guest spot and can focus on putting on a monthly party.”
The importance of the resident DJs can not be underestimated in fuelling Shindig’s success.
“Neil Bainbridge got involved when we were at Foundation. We knew him from HMV as he used to come into our shop Flying Records as he DJ’d. He started helping us out driving and looking after DJs and soon became our resident. Now that Scooby has taken a back seat, Neil Bainbridge has brought his enthusiasm, contacts and is full of ideas and energy and gets on with it. Either Neil or I will do the warm up in the main room before guests like Spencer Parker, Jimpster, James Zabiela and Joey Negro, who would play 1-4. Downstairs Neil will play if I am doing warm-up and he will be joined by a good team of residents like Mark Lowry who plays deep house, disco and funk or Titch who plays downtempo and classic house. Solid Social Club guest too.”
Time to head back to the underground!
We can look forward to new releases on Forensic Records from Lexicon Avenue in the summer – Scott has been busy! And in the meantime, they are hosting their birthday party at World HQ on Saturday 1st May featuring Claude Von Stroke, Radio 1’s Heidi, Aliofft (Oft Music) and residents, then birthday party 2 featuring Sasha at Digital on June 11th backed up by Tel Aviv’s finest tech export Guy J . Also a party at Trilogy in Dubai (where Shindig has hosted monthly parties for years) and a UK tour.
Shindig’s 2010 Tour powered by Pioneer will be visiting Circus (Liverpool), Back To Basics (Leeds), Sankeys (Manchester), Yello (Belfast) Digital (Brighton (with John Digweed) & Newcastle), Colorsfest, Ultragroove (Edinburgh) Koola (Newquay) Riff Raff (Middlesbourgh) and more to be confirmed (including Digital , Brighton and Ministry of Sound, London) with their tightly knit residents and uncompromising Shindig vibe. Bring it on!
Source – www.ihouseu.com
Words by Mark Moore