- 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
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
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
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!!!!).