The Rizla Riverboat Shuffle on the Waverley Steamer
Optimo and Melting Pot DJs play second set on board landmark Glasgow boat
This article is from 2010.
David Pollock climbs aboard the Waverley Steamer as Melting Pot and Optimo set sail on another Rizla Riverboat Shuffle
It wasn’t meant to be more than a one-off party in a unique location, but the DJs from Glasgow’s Optimo and Melting Pot nights had such a good time organising last year’s inaugural Riverboat Shuffle on the Waverley Steamer that they’ve decided to go round again. ‘Last year the people who run the Waverley were reluctant to let hundreds of people on board for a dance event,’ says Keith McIvor, aka Optimo’s JD Twitch. ‘Eventually they were talked into it, and we could tell the crew were wondering what they’d let themselves in for when they saw all the people queueing up and the massive PA we were taking on board. But at the end they said, please come back, that was a lot easier than having a boat full of pensioners, everyone was much more well behaved.’
McIvor says that the opportunity to play in such an iconic Glasgow landmark, the last ocean-going paddle-steamer in the world, was as much a factor in bringing the event back as the reaction to its first instalment. ‘It’s a beautiful boat,’ he says, ‘with a real resonance for anyone who grew up on the west coast, who probably went for a day trip on it as a child.’
Kicking off at 8pm sharp, the Shuffle will see the Optimo and Melting Pot DJs play sets on board until about 11.30pm. Then the crowd will be bussed to the afterparty at the Sub Club, where up and coming Italo disco revivalists Retro/Grade (a collaboration between Serge Santiago, formerly one half of Radioslave, and Tom Neville) will be waiting for them. Here it’s an afterparty, but on most other nights this would be the main event.
‘I’ve been waiting to work on a project like Retro/Grade for years,’ explains Santiago. ‘I’ve been playing Italo for a long time, so it’s nice that it’s reached a position where it’s not so underground. Tom and I have known each other for years, way back to our days in Brighton, and once we’d both carved out our own niche and moved to London we eventually decided to work on a track together. That was a re-edit of Kano’s “It’s a War” [from 2004], and it turned up so well we thought we should do something again soon. It took a few years, though …’
Eventually getting round to their first single release with ‘Moda’ in 2009, the pair have since earned support from the likes of Annie Mac and Pete Tong, with their second single ‘Zoid’ forthcoming and the album Motion due on Deconstruction early next year. ‘This is totally different from Radioslave,’ he says. ‘Then I was young and wet behind the ears, and it was totally a learning curve for me, with good and bad mixed in. It was cool, but this is what I want to be known best for now.’
Long-time targets of Optimo even before the night mutated into Hung Up! earlier this year and finally booked by Melting Pot’s Mark Mackechnie, Retro/Grade should close the Riverboat Shuffle in style – particularly if this night ends up being the last one. ‘In my heart of hearts I think it will be,’ says McIvor. ‘And then we’ll try and do something new next year. But who knows? If it has the same buzz as last time, it could be back.’
The Rizla Riverboat Shuffle is on the Waverley Steamer, Glasgow, Fri 6 Aug; afterparty with Retro/Grade at the Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 6 Aug.