Iconic Edinburgh venue The Bongo Club relocates to Cowgate
Memories of the club in its Moray House home
As the Bongo Club prepares to pack up and leave their Moray House venue, Henry Northmore catches up with the club and various residents about the past and the future.
Why will you miss the Bongo Club at Moray House?
Andrew Nation (Assistant venue manager): For decades it’s been a place of entertainment and culture, with friendly, knowledgeable staff, performers and audience. It’s bricks and mortar, but the folk who come together give it a pulse. A shame it’s being turned into new, grey offices.
Allan Dunbar (Headspin): It was great to see it develop over the years from not being that great before we moved in, to getting it ready for the first nights there as the Bongo, and all the improvements that were made over the years and to have input to that.
DJ Deburgh (Big’n’Bashy): I will miss the great acoustics as the main room has a decent high ceiling meaning the music has space to breathe and finally the fact that my flat is a stones throw across the road making stumbles home all the easier with heavy record bags watching the sunrise over Salisbury Crags.
What made it a great venue?
Simon Hodge (Four Corners): As soon as you entered you knew this was an independent venture with no connection with the corporate life of the capital and the bland polished uniformity that it can insist on. It was individual, rough around the edges, and proud of it.
Steve Roberts (Mumbo Jumbo): It was a great venue because of the people who went there, the staff and security. There was no passing trade and the people who chose to go there were friendly and there for a good time as opposed to pulling and fighting.
What are your favourite memories of the current venue?
AN: The huge success of It’s Funtime, which people have taken to their hearts; that event couldn’t have happened anywhere else in Edinburgh, it took 18 months to evolve and create, and Bongo gave it the time it needed.
AD: One was the DJ Yoda AV set during the Festival six or seven years. Everyone had enjoyed Yoda doing his thing, but a lot of the time it's not really danceable so they were champing at the bit to have a boogie. Yoda finished at 4am and then I went on and started pumping out the techy house and beats and the place just went nuts. Good times.
Simon Xplicit (Xplicit): Noisia in December 2006 is my personal favourite as it was the first time they had been to Scotland. It was our final show before Xmas and the whole place went off. They went on to say it was their favourite gig of the year.
DJD: That would have to be the time the entire Chase & Status live tour entourage came down just to party and ended up swamping the stage with Tempa T and Maverick Sabre so much that I couldn’t see the crowd from behind the decks and had to pinch myself to make sure it was happening.
What can we expect from your last night at the Bongo?
AN: A big, happy Hogmanay Party, squeezing in some of our favourite resident club DJs, with bells on.
SX: We are running our final Xplicit on 30th December which is mounting up to be something very special. We have enlisted our friends G-Mac and The General from Manga, as well as convincing our former resident Paul Reset back to the decks for his first drum & bass set since he hung up his boots in 2010. It’s going to be a great way to end a great chapter for us.
DJD: You can expect DJs Slimzee and Spyro on top form dropping the hits allowing us to celebrate being five years young and giving Moray House a special Big’n’Bashy send off that it deserves.
SH: To be honest we don’t really look on this as a last night but yet another chapter in the history of The Bongo.
AN: Seeking to complete paperwork on a new venue, start a massive building project, evacuate Moray House, move in and make our new house a home.
SR: I’ve seen the plans for the new venue and there’s a main room strictly for music and dancing, a large bar and social area, a licensed smoking area and a second room, I think overall a more exciting experience.
SX: We are back hosting the relaunch party at the new Bongo Club on 1st February.
SH: Really excited by the plans for the new Bongo, and hugely looking forward to being with them as they move into Mark III.
Four Corners, Fri 14 Dec; Big’n’Bashy, Sat 15 Dec; Xplicit, Sun 30 Dec; Bongo Club Hogmanay Party (featuring Four Corners, Headspin, Mumbo Jumbo, Soulsville and more), Mon 31 Dec, all at the Bongo Club Edinburgh.