Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Sat 18 Oct
‘We had 500 people in for Joey Negro on Saturday,’ beams Ultragroove’s promoter and resident DJ Gareth Sommerville, ‘which made it the biggest club in town by some way.’ He’s justifiably proud, because Ultragroove has become one of Scotland’s most enduring clubs on the basis of more than just nostalgia, or an ever-ageing set of regulars. By sticking closely to the original style of house music laid down during the late 80s in Chicago and only being swayed by new trends in so far as it keeps up with what’s happening in the current market, Ultragroove still attracts crowds of all ages for a fortnightly fix of unpretentious electronic action.
‘I’m not sure precisely why we’ve survived this long,’ says Sommerville, ‘but I certainly didn’t expect us to when we started at La Belle Angele way back in 1999.’ Although the destruction of the club’s old venue by fire in December 2002 would have necessitated a move anyway, Ultragroove (Sommerville and co-promoter Fraser McGlinchey) had very luckily already migrated across the road to Cabaret Voltaire at the time of the fire. ‘I think when people come down they know they’re going to get a certain quality of music,’ he adds, ‘a certain type of crowd, and a club which is authentic and true to its roots. We’re not into one thing one minute and then binning it for something else the next fortnight, which a lot of clubs get by on.’
Among Sommerville’s favourite Ultragroove guests over the last nine years have been Miss Honey Dijon, Derrick Carter and Kerri Chandler, who played the last date at La Belle. He also names Germany’s Âme, who make a return alongside Trus’me and Linkwood at this ninth birthday special: ‘It’s really deep house, but with an organic edge which the crowd were really into last time they played. That’s my biggest hope, actually, that people who come to the club can see just how heartfelt what we do is.’