Soundhaus 10th birthday
David Pollock looks back at the ten-year history of Glasgow’s underground clubbing institution, The Soundhaus
Located in an industrial unit near Anderston, on the other side of the M8 from the city centre, Glasgow’s Soundhaus has blended all the comforts of a mainstream club with the off-the-beaten-track allure of a warehouse party for ten years. The club has built its own dedicated following, catering to metal bands earlier in the evening before a procession of techno nights benefiting the 5am licence its members-only status allows.
‘The place used to be a PA hire warehouse and a rehearsal space,’ explains Lynn Macdonald, the Soundhaus’ secretary and club booker. ‘Other promoters and I used to get equipment there for parties we were putting on elsewhere, and a few of us started asking Bruno [Celini, the owner] if we could put things on in his back room, which was stacked full of rubbish at the time.’ At first these were just private parties; Macdonald recalls that the first night she did with Pussy Power was an invite-only New Year party in 1995.
In 1998 the Soundhaus went legit and opened up to the public, although the still-in-force members-only policy means that guests have to be signed in by an existing member. ‘When we started out there it was quite chilled out,’ says Andrew Pirie, promoter of Traxx, which used to run a residency at the Soundhaus. ‘Nothing too upbeat, we’d just play house and techno from across the board.
Thanks to the signing-in policy it was more like a house party, you’d always know somebody who knew somebody. It was very interlinked, everybody was friendly with each other, so you could just let go. That made for some amazing nights.’
Although Traxx ran at the Soundhaus for nearly six years – during which time it also appeared semi-regularly at the Arches – Pirie and his co-promoters eventually decided to try different things in pastures new. Although his night is still going, he describes the last Soundhaus night as ‘one of those ones where you think, “Why are we stopping this? People were being peeled off the ceiling, it was just incredible.”’ The club will return for this tenth birthday special, though, as will a roll call of past and present Soundhaus favourites including Shift, Off the Record, Inner City Acid, Monox and Chakra.
‘For the last five years we’ve run the club by letting promoters of brand new nights put on an event, and we’ve listened to what they’ve been doing and decided if their style suits the Soundhaus,’ says Macdonald. ‘Traxx was one club which really helped put the place on the map, but we’ve been trying to keep the same momentum going since they left. Nights like Off the Record, Shift and Inner City Acid, these are a step forward for the Soundhaus, a new generation of underground nights who are taking over from old folks like Pussy Power and Traxx.’
As far as that underground ethic goes, this brick-walled hidden gem is just perfect. Dark, noisy and out of the way, it maintains all the edgy aesthetics of illegal raving without the troublesome ‘illegal’ bit.
The Soundhaus’ Tenth Birthday celebrations, Soundhaus, Glasgow, Sat 12 Apr.