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Insomniacz (South)...
@ The Nightingale and
@ The Works... maybe?
Birmingham
Two venues,
different dates.
Then again...
maybe not.
After an abortive first attempt at establishing a Birmingham-based version of his successful Sheffield after-hours club at Code, Tom, Insomniacz promoter, tried again in March 2002, with a monthly at The Nightingale, on Kent Street.

The Nightingale, in the heart of Birmingham's gay village, must be the oldest gay club in Britain, and only recently underwent a £500,000 refit.

This was needed as the club was beginning to show signs of wear and tear. The refit was also needed to help the 'gale fight back against competition from DV8, another gay club which opened in 2001 with a similar Saturday night music policy on the opposite side of the street.

The result is been a venue well-suited to after-hours clubbing, with two dance floors, on the ground and second floors, while the first floor is entirely devoted to chillin' - with a restaurant, (and I mean a restaurant, not just a snack bar) pool tables, video games, and an expansive lounge with wonderful deeeeeep chairs. The 'gale seems by far and away the better option when compared with Code, which is lacking both in atmosphere and chill-out space, (OK I know they've got the second room upstairs but...).

Insomniacz' success was built on providing somewhere for clubbers from a major club to go after it closes. This after-hours strategy has been followed successfully by Trade in London, and was how Sundissential established itself, before it switched to Saturdays.

Having fed off Gatecrasher in Sheffield, Insomniacz is now doing the same in Birmingham with Sundissential at DNA. Given Sundisential's move from the Sanctuary to DNA, Insomniacz move from Code to the 'gale makes a lot of sense (as the 'gale is walking distance from DNA while the Sanctuary is a bit further away).

Insomniacz' great strength, musically, is DJ Paul Glazby, who has been resident since the early days of the club. Paul plays the kind of seamless hard dance music that I love, and he plays it well!

Unfortunately, at the launch party, also attended by Sundissential promoters Paul Madden, (Madders) and Danny Kirk, I was subjected to the infernal bouncey, bouncey, hoovered noise played by Lisa Pin-up. I admit this was apparently enjoyed by some, but not by me, (to each his or her own, I know, but had we bashed each other's heads with frying pans I'm sure the same effect could have been created).
The opening night line-up also included Ian M and Andy Farley, but I was too knackered to stay to the end. Tom, also plays at the club, and, all credit to him, he's managed to train himself as a DJ in a few years.

Though Insoms and Trade are on at the same times, and in some sense follow the same strategy (i.e. both are catering to the after-hours Saturday night clubbing market) they couldn't be more different, both musically (a gradual build-up from tribal house to hard industrial trance vs hard house, bouncey house, etc. thrown together with no apparent thought other than "make it fukin' 'ard") and in terms of crowd, (late 20s - late 30s gay men, and fairly "sophisticated" clubbers vs mid-teens to early 20s straights).

Attendance was in the order of 700 - 800 with punters being charged £10 and £12 pounds depending on whether or not they were members. This may explain the general lack of a gay presence, which I found surprising considering the location, but then again, maybe not.

Insomniacz returned to the 'gale on April 14th. and then again on May 12th 2002. In the meantime, and very interestingly, was their use of a second club, The Works, a glitzy usually quite ritzy club on Broad Street, in the same city. This kicked off over the easter bank holiday 2002, and was due to continue with another event there on May 5th. Reports indicate that the easter event wasn't full, but The Works is a large club. Further events were held intermittently over the summer but since Insoms re-opened in Sheffield at the Adelphi, their forays into Brumland have died down. Perhaps they got their fingers burned; perhaps they're busy. Do we know? Do we care?

Hopefully their shining star, DJ Paul Glazby, has outgrown the place. If you've never heard Glazby play, (oh and another thing - his name is pronounced Glazby like the " 'as" in: "he's got a big dick. 'as he?".. so it's a hard letter "a" like in "and" not sorft like in "Smithers has telephoned the glaziers to glaze the window after that awful bweak-in". Got it? Good), aaaanyway... if you've not heard him play, have a listen to Alex Towse at StOmP! - the next best thing, (some would even go so far as to say... no! they couldn't... could they?... yes!... even better!!!!).


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