David Pollock checks in with Modern Lovers as they gear up for an eighth birthday party and a Glasgow launch all in one fortnight
For a club night which has been one big, glorious celebration of the retro soul, funk, psych and freakbeat sounds for eight years now, Modern Lovers has an eye on the future this fortnight. The regular monthly event in Edinburgh is both the eighth birthday and the first anniversary of their stay at the city’s GRV (their third venue), but the really big news comes the following night, when a new monthly residency starts up at Glasgow’s Flying Duck. For Glasgow clubbers with a sense of musical history, The List can’t recommend it highly enough.
‘Glasgow was more by default than design,’ explains the club’s founder and resident DJ Craig Jamieson. ‘Whenever I was trying to sort out possible club guests from outside Scotland I’d find an extra date was an added pull for them to come here. At first I approached other Glasgow promoters with a view to making additional Saturday night bookings, until we got talking to the Flying Duck. They knew about the club and thought it would offer something different and unique to Glasgow, so now we’re a regular fixture on the fourth Saturday of the month.’
Those guests from further afield will have to wait for the moment, though. This launch night will see Jamieson joined by long-time guest and friend of Modern Lovers Chris ‘Beans’ Geddes of Belle & Sebastian. The eighth birthday party in Edinburgh, meanwhile, will star Tracyanne Campbell and Carey Lander of Camera Obscura, with Jamieson noting that it’ll be a nice change to get some female guests behind the decks.
The night has moved on significantly from beginnings in the basement of Christie’s on Edinburgh’s West Port. ‘Just a group of mates who wanted to hear retro sounds,’ is how Jamieson describes it, ‘but I remember Chris from Belle & Sebastian doing a guest set and it being so packed you could hardly breathe. I thought I’d best move it before health and safety closed us down’. From there, the night really cemented its reputation with half a decade in the atmospheric downstairs room of what was then Ego, before transferring to the more versatile two-room space at GRV. As well as regular guests in the main room, Jamieson is now able to introduce a broader audio-visual aspect to the night and put guests from Edinburgh clubs like Fast, the Egg and Gulag Beat on in the back room.
‘There was never a grand plan and certainly no vision for world domination in terms of the club’s original ambition,’ he says. ‘The modest idea of playing music that’s a bit more obscure in order to meet like-minded people has continued to work, I really can’t overstate how many friends I’ve met through Modern Lovers. We’ve been lucky with the inclusive and welcoming atmosphere that the club’s always enjoyed. Obviously that has something to do with the playlist, but it’s also a bigger reflection on the people who support the club and the atmosphere they create.’
It’s a winning blend which will hopefully end up being recreated in Glasgow.
Modern Lovers, GRV, Edinburgh, Fri 28 Nov; The Flying Duck, Glasgow, Sat 29 Nov.