The Go-Go 10th Birthday Bash
Edinburgh’s finest beat night The Go-Go has been on the go for ten years and celebrate with a live set from Them Beatles. Here founder and resident DJ Tall Paul remembers ten great crucial moments from the decade.
Jan 2000, getting my wingmen.
Since the demise of The Drop Out in 1998 there'd been no proper garage/60s club in Edinburgh and it didn’t look like anyone else was going to start one, that’s why I did. I was rather a fresh-face nobody at the time (I’m no longer fresh-faced) and was made up when Kaiser George and Angus agreed to do the club with me - these guys were near-pop stars to me (albeit ones of the retro-circuit).
George was a whiz with decor and gave me a crash-course intro to British Beat, which I knew virtually nothing about. Big Gus is still there keeping the club on a level pegging with all the great tunes I was oblivious to.
The First ever The Go-Go in The Upstairs Swingaloon at Walkers Nightclub in the West End, Friday March 31st 2000.
I'd put all this effort and money into starting a club (£400 - which seemed a fortune to me then) was it all for nothing? I was thrilled and excited when 95 people came through the door - I had possibly hoped a few more would follow, but it was a start. I wore my best 60s jumper, and then my girlfriend at the time turned up wearing a white tracksuit.
Second Birthday Party at Ego, Friday 12th April 2002.
Our first ever live night upstairs in Ego's Ballroom and probably my favourite gig ever at The Go-Go. The Thanes headlined as The Wrong Elevators, a 13th Floor Elevators tribute set. What a great night - it felt electric. When The Thanes kicked in, the psychedelic light show went full effect and the GoGo Dancers jumped up onto their podiums and started grooving it seemed like the whole place started wigging out - it really was like the scene from a film. I don’t even think half the audience had heard or knew of the 13th Floor Elevators but it didn’t matter. I think its fair to say Edinburgh hadn’t seen a retro gig like this for a long time. Possibly the best moment to date.
First night at the Venue, Saturday 8th October 2005.
Having had few months away from Club Ego and clubbing in general we began missing the club and I kept meeting people all summer long who told me we had to bring it back. I met up with Angus and he agreed - although we tweaked the name to Mondo a-Go-Go and we brought punk ska and new wave into the mix.
It was really exciting to be starting the club afresh and in a new venue - plus all the new nerves and tension as to whether or not people would turn up. They did! About 100 old faces and from somewhere over 100 new ones. The club was born again and we never looked back.
Last ever night at The Venue, Saturday 10th June 2006
I do rather regret not having moved to The Venue sooner. It was a brilliant place to do a club - we felt welcome and privileged to be part of the furniture. I personally felt very chuffed and honoured when they asked us to do the top floor for the last ever night. That was a very special place; it really was the end of an era.
Hogmanay at Studio 24, 31st December 2008
Having guest DJed in the backrooms at Vegas and Headspin on New Years Eve a few times I'd always wanted to do our own Hogmanay Party, and I was over the moon when Studio 24 offered us the chance to do The Go-Go for Hogmanay 2009. What a pity I got so monged I can’t remember much of it. I wore my brand new tartan bunnet and some rotten girl nabbed the pom-pom off it - I was in a strop for days over that. I was chuffed when we got 60s fans from London and Manchester coming along to it - people who'd been friends on MySpace for a while but had never been to the club.
I think the flyer for that one (Keith Moon and Ollie Reid getting canned on Tartan Special) is probably one of my favourite flyers. Nick from Ripping said it was the best one he'd seen in ten years.
Whingein' Wilkie April 2005
Back at Ego one of the regular mods (John Wilkie) used to constantly hassle us to play Northern Soul, the only time he didn’t was when he was dancing to it. Soon as we moved onto another genre he'd go get another beer then be back at his perch next to the DJ Booth hassling us again. I'd always wanted keen to keep the Go-Go a 60s club and not let it become specifically a mod club. The Go-Go has always catered for all the scenes from the 60s beat, garage, soul, pop etc so its hard to keep the floor full by sticking to one genre for too long anyway.
Anyway it got to the point where just to shut him up I gave him his own guest DJ slot. I think he played four Northern Soul tracks before realising he was losing the floor and then opted for ‘Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones. It filled the floor back up and we both laughed, he never hassled us ever again.
The night I strangled someone, 2009 sometime.
We get a lot of requests - some great some, some really stupid. We're always happy to play them though if we think it’s a good call. We even get asked to play 80s stuff sometimes ‘Footloose’ by Kenny Loggins probably one of the worst. One night, however, everything that could have gone wrong did and I was stressed out. The mixing desk we were given wasn’t the usual one and was a really fancy affair with far too many controls on it. Angus unknowingly flicked on the inverter switch, which makes every fader on the desk to the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to. In the middle of trying to fix this and DJ at the same time so guy started asking telling us that the music wasn’t very good and could we play something else. I asked him what and he said he didn’t know, I told him that was no use to us and he replied ‘well anything but this shite you're playing now’. Then without asking he started pulling raking through our records and CDs. I literally dived lengthways at him and grabbed him by the collar and forced him out of the booth and told him he could stay if he kept away from the booth.
Highly unprofessional of me and probably a build-up of 18 years of DJing hassles getting to me. I went and found him soon after, we bought each other a drink and apologised to each other.
Them Beatles at Studio 24, 2nd January 2010
Them Beatles were finishing a gig in Glasgow at 11.30pm and supposed to be getting through to be on stage at The Go-Go for 1am. It was all looking set for a good night when the snow started to fall about 7pm and it kept on falling … At about 10pm the M9 was closed around Linlithgow. I'm renowned for getting mega-stressed at our live nights and was very pleased with myself that I managed to avoid giving birth to kittens when Them Beatles texted to say they were on their way but had no idea if they were making it.
They struggled on through the snow, slush and ice and their mini-bus finally got through after a two hours plus trek from Glasgow. Fortunately we had a really understanding crowd and a 5am license. When they finally got underway with ‘Twist and Shout’ the place went mental and Studio 24 became Cavern-tastic. I think the delay had actually built up a great tension -- I personally felt like I was walking on air with the relief I was feeling. It was a great show and worth every moment though -- we're looking forward to seeing them again and I think they're making quite few changes to their set from last time. They really are fantastic act though, authentic, tight as and good fun.
And finally … since about December 2009 ...
... we've constantly been getting a great crowd in through our door. We were at capacity for February and March and had to turn people away. But its not just a great crowd in terms of numbers - the current crop seem to be really into a the more obscure stuff so we can play a really healthy mix of the more obvious and quite a few garage and psychedelic tracks we don’t always get the chance to air. Which makes our jobs as DJs a lot more fun and interesting.
Studio 24, Edinburgh, Sat 3 April