The Birthday Party
Three Scottish clubbing institutions hit big milestones this month: rock club The Cathouse is 18, the Art School’s regular soul night Divine is 18, and Slam’s techno hoedown Pressure is 10. We asked three regular punters just why they love these clubs so much
Why I love The Cathouse by Barbara Matheson
‘I’ve been going to The Cathouse since it started in Brown Street, and I remember the first time I went, which was back when I was a young 21-year-old. It felt as if I was in a club in America somewhere, or on the set for a rock video. The guys were wearing make-up and looked as if they had spent more time on their hair than most of the girls, but this was in the days of spandex, Mötley Crüe and Guns N’ Roses. I even remember meeting a bloke in the ladies loo and borrowing his black eyeliner. Times have changed though and there aren’t as many men wearing make-up these days, but the great thing is that anything goes in the Cathouse, which is what makes it so special. If you’re a wee bit different then hey, that’s even better.
It is like no other club in the world. I’ve been to plenty of rock clubs and pubs over the years, but you never find a better crowd of people and atmosphere than The Cathouse in Union Street. I’m sure everyone who frequents the place will agree with me.
It caters for an alternative genre who are into their music and style in a big way. There’s always a great atmosphere and there’s never any trouble. The music plays an important role because it’s the only club in Glasgow consistently churning out rock, indie and alternative tunes. It’s also been a platform for up and coming bands from all over the world. There have been quite a lot of aftershow parties there too, for Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and Queens of the Stone Age.
Apart from playing the best music in town, there’s always been a fantastic mix of people – from nae hair to grey hair – which is one of the reasons I continue to go.’
(Interview by Claire Sawers)
The Cathouse 18th Birthday Weekender is at Cathouse, Glasgow, Fri 14 & Sat 15 Nov.
Billy Moat selects the three Cathouse dancefloor killers
Rage Against the Machine ‘Killing in the Name’
An anti-establishment anthem that continues to blow up the dancefloor 13 years after it was released. And no, we still won’t tidy our bedrooms.
A song about respect and knowing who your true friends are combined with one of the best guitar hooks ever written by a bunch of loony American southerners make this an automatic top three choice.
Metallica ‘Enter Sandman’
Like ‘Walk’, this is another song that just gets inside your head and soon has you doing your best Churchill the dog impersonation before you know it. Oh yes, yes, yes.
Why I love Divine by Chris Geddes, keyboardist, Belle & Sebastian
‘Divine is where I heard a lot of the music that’s been important to me and met a lot of long standing friends.
‘I first started going towards the end of my first or second year at university,and once we got into it we went pretty much most weekends for the next several years. The other big night that we used to go to was Slam at the Arches and I guess Divine was probably my first foray into retro clubbing. I’d always been into 60s and 70s music, but I don’t know if I’d ever been somewhere that played it in that atmosphere – a dark club with a chequered dancefloor. It was like being in a club in the 60s and a total contrast to some of the other nights we might’ve been going to at the time.
‘It was foremost the music that kept us coming back, and then also the social aspect of it; you’d see the same faces every week and start chatting, and becoming friends with people who were either those who I’ve ended up being in a band with for the last ten or twelve years, or the people who I met my bandmates through. You did feel part of a scene. There were always after-parties and it all felt quite inclusive.
‘I think Divine owes its longevity to Andrew’s love of the music, he’s kept it fresh for himself because he’s always searching for new records – new old records. I don’t think he’s ever got tired of the music he’s playing. I suppose the focus of the night has narrowed over time but Andrew’s passion is what keeps it going.
‘I definitely would say that if it hadn’t been for the Art School, Belle & Sebastian would never have got together in the form that they did, and the music he played at the club has definitely been an inspiration to the sound of the band, as well as a soundtrack to some great nights out.’
(Interview by Mark Edmundson)
Divine’s 18th Birthday Special is at Glasgow School of Art, Sat 6 Dec.
Andrew Divine picks his three definitive Divine tunes
The Flirtations ‘Nothing But A Heartache’ (Deram 7”)
Been playing this for well over a decade, it’s still constantly requested and it’s still packing the dancefloor. The definition of a Divine anthem!
Alex Harvey ‘Midnight Moses’ (Fontana 7”)
Perhaps the finest vocalist Govan’s ever produced, this is an early cut from 1969 before his Band became Sensational. A rare and infectious, brassy, bongo-fuelled mod mover.
Jackie Mittoo ‘Got My Bugaloo’ (Rio 7”)
Jamaica’s hero of the Hammond gives ‘Got My Mojo Working’ a rocksteady makeover with blistering organ solos. Took me years to find and cost an arm and a leg!
Why I love Pressure by Angela Koorbanally
‘I started going to Pressure when I was about 19. There was a big DJ on, Dave Clarke or someone like that – I can’t actually remember, but I have loads of posters and flyers put away which would probably tell me – and my mate who lived in Glasgow talked me into coming through. It was the first time I’d ventured so far away from home to go clubbing, because I was living at home in North Berwick then, and it was also the first time I had been in the Arches. It’s such an amazing place the first time you’re there; it’s so big and easy to get lost in. It’s quite overwhelming really.
‘It was always a big weekend when we’d travel through back then. A couple of carloads of us would come through three or four times a year and stay with our mates in Glasgow. We also went to Pure in Edinburgh, but that was just coming to an end, so Pressure really filled that gap. It inspired me to get into the music scene, so I went to college to study dance music production.
‘There are a lot of things I love about Pressure. Firstly the DJs, because there’s always at least one guest you’ll be dying to see. Some of my favourites over the years have been Green Velvet, Vitalic and Felix Da Housecat, who’s so much fun because he’s always such a big smiley guy. Then there’s the venue itself, particularly the classic way they set it up with the stage at the back by the glass doors and the screens on either side. It’s just unique.
‘About two years ago I started full time on the Arches box office, which is a cool job – you meet customers coming in to buy their club tickets, and then later in the night they’re completely different people.’
(Interview by David Pollock)
Pressure’s 10th Birthday is at the Arches, Glasgow, Fri 28 Nov. Guests include Carl Craig, David Holmes, DJ Yoda and residents Slam.
Orde Miekle of Slam picks three true club classics
Slam ‘This World’ (Wighnomy Brothers mix)
This is one of those tracks which really stands out when you play it, and I reckon this is the Wighnomy Brothers’ best ever remix. It was this or ‘Positive Education’.
Green Velvet ‘Destination Unknown’
The man’s just a genius, there’s no two ways about it. I actually prefer Green Velvet to his Cajmere moniker; it’s a deeper, techier kind of sound as this song illustrates.
Audion ‘Mouth to Mouth’
Pressure has always brought through new acts that people rarely get a chance to hear in Scotland. We’ve always been a fan of Matthew Dear, and this song just blew up.