|South Nightclub, Manchester, England
On 10th May, out of pure curiosity I went to South nightclub to check a Manchester legend. At a time when House beats have made themselves known to a whole generation of bedroom producers barely born first time around, I wondered how one of Manchester’s own might shape up; I went to see (& hear) A Guy Called Gerald
Before I left my daughter said “A guy called ‘A Guy Called Gerald’?”, and yes it was never a great moniker, but back in the heady hedonistic late 80’s when you Rave kiddies were all busy being born (before the generic term ‘Madchester’ had yet to be coined), old Hulme boy -ahem- like myself, Gerald Simpson was part of a music-making collective that included Graham Massey , Martin Price (Eastern Bloc), electro DJs the Spinmasters (Andy Barker & Darren Partington) with occasional MC & general force of nature MC Tunes. The electro & house inspired music they made was 808 State
Gerald left quite early on; 808 State removed Gerald’s contributions to debut ‘Quadrastate’ LP. Gerald released acid-house anthem ‘Voodoo Ray’ (a stone-cold classic); 808 went onto bigger & better things, world tours & Top Of The Pops. Gerald pursued his own path, left Manchester for Detroit & Derrick May, his inspirational father. Returning as one of the pioneers of break-beat techno & its’ Jungle offspring. I wanted to know if his reputation would draw a young crowd or simply old scenesters like me
South was opened by Paul Cons who promoted legendary gay monthly FLESH @ the Hacienda; (opened the first Canal St bar Mantos & re-opened Factory Records offices as Paradise Factory club); but then had his beady eye on a different & more profitable market. The club is best known for its’ retro student nights. The Clint Boon Experience is where former Inspiral Carpet plays an eclectic mix of indie & 60’s classics, taking over from former resident, unsung Manchester hero & all round lovely fellah, Phil Beckett. His most excellent night ‘The Rock N Roll Bar’ ran there for years. Flyers were always very amusing; Ann Widdecombe in a Damon Gough woolly hat, a Badly Drawn Bigot. A photo of Mick Hucknall baring the legend “Jesus Loves You” and on the flipside “…But Everyone Else Thinks You’re A Twat”
Support DJs were quality, often at these events no-one really lets go it before the headliner comes on. That’s who we’ve all been waiting for. But happily this wasn’t the case & the room was moving long before Gerald even appeared. It wasn’t at all Dadchester as I’d expected either. Sure, there were a handful there (-like me-) to re-visit a former hero & re-live their misspent youth; a mainly pissed but friendly bunch. One misguided chap, in a VERY tight pair of lemon jeans, was busy chatting up girlies, thinking he was doing rather well but trying just too hard to kiss them all goodbye, very Sadchester
A single bouncer was over-zealously earning his Steroid Twat badge but the rest were relaxed & unobtrusive all night. Everyone else seemed to be a good mix of students & locals, all in varying degrees of chemical & alcoholic inebriation. One young scuttler who engaged me in ‘conversation’ must have asked me where I was from eight or nine times. What Is Wrong With You People? It’s Not Where You’re From! It’s Where You’re At! If You Wanna Know Where You’re Going? Get A Hat!
A Guy Called Gerald played an absolutely wicked set, opening up with some funky hip-house before slipping into some neck-snapping acid house and deep techno. By no means retro content, though his signature tune ‘Voodoo Ray’ slipped in & out about two thirds of the way through, perfectly timed to reignite the dancefloor. The only other Madchester veteran in the room, apart -ahem- from my good self of course, was Graham Massey. It’s nice to see that after so many years, people who once made music together still have a lot to talk about
I thoroughly enjoyed my night at South, and would recommend it to promoters; it seems that from the roster of alternative club-nights only Murkage has taken advantage of this oft-ignored venue. A busy club grooving to squelching 303s, 808s, 909s… reminded me of when Pete Robinson’s Paper Records label used to do their quality monthly Robodisco in this very basement. More of the same please!
[Reviewer / Photos: Example Magazine]