Category Archives: Clubbing

1955–2014 ➤ Frankie Knuckles, the Godfather of House Music, is gone

Frankie Knuckles,house music, tributes, deejay, Chicago,

2012: an Evening with Frankie Knuckles at Smart Bar, Chicago (© Tasya Menaker). His final live deejay set was at Ministry of Sound in London on Saturday. He had been scheduled to return to the UK for shows at Gatecrasher in Birmingham and The Arches in Glasgow later this month


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➢ Today’s tribute to Frankie Knuckles at Rolling Stone,
by Michaelangelo Matos:

Nobody can agree on who invented the blues or birthed rock & roll, but there is no question that house music came from Frankie Knuckles, who died Monday afternoon of as-yet-undisclosed causes at age 59. One of the 80s and 90s’ most prolific house music producers and remixers, Knuckles is, hands down, one of the dozen most important deejays of all time.

 Chicago, Warehouse,clubbing

The Chicago block where the Warehouse stood

At his Chicago clubs the Warehouse (1977-82) and Power Plant (1983-85), Knuckles’ marathon sets, typically featuring his own extended edits of a wide selection of tracks from disco to post-punk, R&B to synth-heavy Eurodisco, laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture — all of it.

Knuckles made an abundant number of dance classics, including early Jamie Principle collaborations Your Love (1986) and Baby Wants to Ride (1987); Tears (1989), with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens; The Whistle Song (1991); and his remixes of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody (1989), Sounds of Blackness’s The Pressure (1992), and Hercules and Love Affair’s Blind (2008) … / Continued at Rolling Stone

August 25, 2004:  declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago by the then-senator Barack Obama

August 25, 2004: declared Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago by the then-senator Barack Obama

➢ Knuckles, the man I knew, by Clive Morgan in the Daily Telegraph

➢ Priest of the dancefloor, by Alexis Petridis in The Guardian

tom johnston, frankie knuckles, cartoon

VIDEO INTERVIEW IN LONDON 2012

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➤ Blue Rondo’s fat has been a long time a-chewing but May is now the month

Blue Rondo à la Turk,Chris Sullivan,remix, ,British, Latin-funk,1980s, dance music,

Me and Mr Sanchez: 1981’s debut chart hit for Blue Rondo à la Turk with cover art by former Wag club host Chris Sullivan

❚ PROMISES! PROMISES! All-round clubbing maestro Chris Sullivan has been faffing away for a year since he got his hands on the original master-tapes of his stand-out Latin-funk dance-band of 1982, Blue Rondo à la Turk. Going public on Facebook today, he dares to promise a re-release of their first album Chewing The Fat this spring (having originally mooted it for last spring), meanwhile posting online a punchy fresh mix of their debut chart single, Me and Mr Sanchez.

Sullivan said: “This is a remix we’ve done for our forthcoming bonus remix CD to accompany the first ever CD release of Blue Rondo’s first album Chewing The Fat on May 5.” Then comes the killer punch: “We’re looking to license it to a TV company for the World Cup… any ideas? It’s a no brainer and the original was used in Brazil by Globo TV for the 1982 World Cup but this is a better mix.”

A year ago he was downloading the whole Rondo catalogue fresh off the original tapes, saying: “First time anyone will have heard them digitally – other than disc dubs, of course. Looking back and listening to the tunes (especially the Heavens are Crying mix) what astonishes me is the f***-you-we’ll-do-our-thing approach.”

Since then Sullivan has released a handful of mixes from the putative new album, including an earlier mix of Mr Sanchez about which he acknowledged that the dean of swing, ex-Rondo guitarist Mark Reilly, “did the lion’s share”.

➢ Blue Rondo breathe fresh life into Mr Sanchez

➢ A brighter Bluer Rondo for the 20-tweens

➢ Sullivan and his hinterland 1982–2012

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2014 ➤ Video gems unearthed by the Spandau Ballet biopic premiering at SXSW

Spandau Ballet

Spandau ahoy! Houseband of the New Romantics playing aboard HMS Belfast in 1980. Martin Kemp on bass, Steve Norman on guitar. (Photo by Virginia Turbett)

FEB 12 UPDATE FROM SPANDAU AT FACEBOOK:

Spandau Ballet (Official)
“Awesome Spandau meeting yesterday! 2014 and 2015 are shaping up rather nicely, I would say.”

“Look out for MORE exciting Spandau news coming very soon! This is just the start.”

❚ SEVERAL MOVIE DISCOVERIES have been made by the researchers on Spandau Ballet’s new biopic Soul Boys of the Western World, due to be premiered on March 12 in the USA at SXSW. One is footage of the band’s secret live performance aboard the World-War Two cruiser HMS Belfast. In order to emphasise the newness of their synthesised pop music, the band’s ground rule was never to appear at established rock venues. So for their seventh invitation-only date on July 26, 1980, a glittering horde of Blitz Kids descended on the warship moored in the Thames near the Tower of London.

Spandau Ballet, archive, HMS Belfast,SXSW,Blitz Kids

Precious footage of Spandau’s HMS Belfast gig, 1980: two reels of Super8 exhumed from the vaults by ex-Blitz Kid Nick Jones

Songwriter Gary Kemp says: “There are two pieces of archive that most surprised me. The first was the HMS Belfast performance from 1980. I never knew it existed until last year when our manager Steve Dagger had a vague memory that one of the Blitz Kids, Nick Jones, had a Super 8 camera. (He went on to play in the Latin-tinged dance-band Funkapolitan with Tom Dixon and Kadir Guirey, and today he’s a successful director of commercials.) It was some time before Nick could gain access to his storage and at first found nothing. Then we got sent the pic you see alongside.”

Kemp adds: “The footage is in beautiful Super 8 colour and shows the raw energy of that night inside the hot and steamy ship. It lasts eight minutes, but was enough to evoke the moment when Spandau were THE band of London, elusive, unique, magnificent.”

Petr Capaldi, Spandau Ballet, 1982,

Peter Capaldi at 23: comic support on Spandau’s 1982 Diamond tour. (Photo by Shapersofthe80s)

He adds: “The other archive that revealed itself, 33 years after being filmed, was the entire New York gig that we did in the Underground club in 1981.” This footage emerged after painstaking inquiries only last autumn and Spandau can be seen onstage in all their glory sporting their nomadic serfs garb from the Musclebound video.

Some of us also remember the 23-year-old Scottish stand-up who was invited to support Spandau Ballet on the Diamond tour of the UK in 1982. This was Peter Capaldi who has enjoyed spectacular success in the years since then and was revealed recently as the BBC’s 12th Doctor Who.

Kemp adds: “The new Doctor Who is definitely seen in the film – on a tour bus I believe – which explains his new Tony Hadley style as Doctor Who! Come and see the movie and enjoy our history.”

ENTRY TO SXSW EVENTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED

❏ Plan before you travel: SXSW is an industry event which charges hefty registration fees, for example, Films-only registration costs $650 for walkups. However the website says if, after delegates with badges and wristbands are seated at film events, any seats remain, “single-admission tickets will be sold for $10 starting 15 minutes before showtime”.

SXSW update after the live gig is announced, Feb 21: “For the music portion of the event, the situation is very similar. There will most likely be tickets for sale at the door but it varies from venue to venue. Tickets may be sold if capacity allows. Our best advice is to get to the venue early or contact them to see if they will be selling tickets at the door and also see how long the wristband/badge lines are to judge if you could even get in.”

➢ 1982, How Spandau put Capaldi on the road to play
the new Doctor Who

➢ Spandau together again as their ‘surprise’ movie is slated for Texas premiere – more on SXSW 2014 at Shapersofthe80s

New Romantics,

Blitz Kids ahoy! A dazzling audience aboard HMS Belfast for Spandau Ballet’s seventh date. (Photo – Getty)

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2014 ➤ Spandau together again as their ‘surprise’ movie is slated for Texas premiere

Spandau Ballet, Botanic Gardens, New Romantics, Blitz Kids, Birmingham.

Kilted leaders of the New Romantics in 1980: Spandau Ballet plus their entourage of Blitz Kids travelled to Birmingham’s Botanic Gardens to play their eighth live date. (Photograph by Shapersofthe80s)

[Updated Feb 12]

❚ WITH A TITLE AS ZEALOUS AS any of their New Romantic songs from 1980, Soul Boys of the Western World is the documentary movie about the time Spandau Ballet became the musical leaders of London’s underground clubland. For two years they were the trendiest creatures on the planet as they reshaped British music and fashion, believe it. The 102-minute biopic is to be premiered on March 12 in the 24 Beats Section of the prestige new-media conference SXSW in Austin, Texas, running March 7–16. To complete the first reunion of the whole band since their 2010 tour ended, singer Tony Hadley will be flying out to join Gary, Martin, John and Steve at the screening.

Fans who imagine they can gate-crash, however, will be seriously stymied by the price of registration for the film programme which increases to $650 the later you book. Before travelling to Austin, Spandau fans are advised to ensure they have secured a ticket. Hints from the Spandau team suggest there may be more news soon.

Spandau Ballet, New York, Underground club, 1981

1981 footage found: Spandau’s first New York performance recovered after this cameraman was traced. Photographed by © Shapersofthe80s

The film contains no present-day pontificating from the band’s famously garrulous entourage of talking heads, only through vintage film footage telling their story as it unfolds. Steve Dagger, Spandau’s manager and its sixth member since the band was created and now the film’s co-producer, is impressed and excited by the extensive research which has been fanatically pursued for the past three years. Initiated by archive producer Kate Griffith, this has turned up many true gems of previously unseen footage even of the landmark “First Blitz invasion of America” with the Axiom fashion collective in 1981 which was located in only the past three months. Offcuts from footage of the band’s followers shot in Le Kilt club for BBC Newsnight were also discovered in a box that remained unopened for 30 years. There are also clips from the band’s home movies.

Songwriter Gary Kemp is over the moon at the painstaking finesse of the production led by Scott Millaney, one of the iconic producers of 80s pop videos. Kemp said last week: “People should be really knocked out by some of the material we’ve discovered.”

Director George Hencken aims to takes audiences through the cultural, political and personal landscapes of Britain as the Swinging 80s burst from the recessionary gloom of the 70s. Soul Boys Of The Western World explores life inside the bubble of global superstardom when British pop music ruled the world. Spandau Ballet themselves believe the film to be “a brutally honest story of how friendships can be won, lost and ultimately regained”.

documentary, film, Soul Boys of the Western World, Spandau Ballet, SXSW, Texas, premiere, pop music, Swinging 80s, London, fashion, nightclubbing, New Romantics, Blitz Kids,

Nomad warriors on the streets of north London, 1981: Spandau Ballet dressed for their Musclebound video. Martin Kemp called his the Mad Monk outfit. (Promotional pic for the documentary film, Soul Boys of the Western World)

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➤ Thief duo take a trip into the 90s

Fin Munro, Charlotte Mallory, electronic music, pop, Thief, concert, review, London, Hoxton Bar

Thief in Hoxton: languid romance from vocalist Charlotte Mallery. (Photography Shapersofthe80s)

❚ A DECADE SHIFT HAS MOVED Thief’s sound into another era of Britpop. Wednesday’s live set of half a dozen numbers at the Hoxton Bar and Grill suggests that the electro duo’s early 80s vibe has acquired the garagey feel of the 90s, while still evincing languid romance.

Mesmeric hints of Sade layered with essence of Massive Attack result in laid-back electronic lounge music with kickin’ beats and bleeps. The single Friend Lover becomes a mildly melancholy love song as delivered by its lyricist, drama-studies graduate Charlotte Mallory, yet it is propelled by the optimistic harmonics and percussion of Fin Munro, keyboardist, deejay, producer and London club-host. As they told radio deejay Gary Crowley in an interview last month, their songwriting partnership pursues the themes of soul and emotion, complicated feelings and unrequited love.

An EP is planned for release within the next couple of months. Meanwhile catch Thief again on Thursday Jan 30 at The Notting Hill Arts Club.

Fin Munro, Charlotte Mallory, electronic music, pop, Thief, concert, review, London, Hoxton Bar,

Thief in Hoxton: electronics by Fin Munro, vocals by Charlotte Mallery. (Photography Shapersofthe80s)

➢ Listen to Thief interviewed by 80s pathfinder Gary Crowley – Tuesdays at 7pm on Amazing Radio (not forgetting his Music Machine, Saturdays at 6pm on BBC London)

➢ Fin Munro interviewed at Farah, Feb 6:
We’re a two piece, Charlotte sings and I play the music. We’ve been influenced by bands like Sade, Everything but the Girl, but also more recent acts like SBTRKT, James Blake and Purity Ring. We’re an electronic band but we definitely have influences of soul and R&B in our songs… / Continued online

➢ Charlotte Mallory blogging at Huffington Post, Feb 6:
Fin and I first met at a house party four years ago. He’d just been to see The XX at Maida Vale studios earlier that day, so was feeling musically inspired to start something new. Although we didn’t form Thief that year, we began sending each other music we liked and kept in contact while I was studying at Sussex Uni in Brighton and he was DJing and running club nights in London… / Continued online

FRIEND LOVER AT SOUNDCLOUD

Don’t Let Go (En Vogue Cover) AT SOUNDCLOUD


➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Fin Munro plunges into love and takes a walk on the wild side

➢ Thief at Facebook

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