Sub Club: celebrating 30 years at the forefront of Scotland's club culture

Sub Club: celebrating 30 years at the forefront of Scotland's club culture

L-R: James Harrigan and Domenic Cappello / credit: Brian Sweeney

We catch up with managing director Mike Grieve and longtime Subbie residents Harri & Domenic to hear more about their extended XXX birthday plans

It won't come as a surprise to anyone to hear that nightlife in the UK is suffering. With clubs closing at an alarming rate and licensing and planning contributing to an increasingly (and impossibly) regulated environment, our night-time industries are under threat. But in Glasgow, in an inconspicuous basement on Jamaica Street, you'll find a club that has not only weathered the test of time but created a legacy that's had a defining impact on Scottish club culture as we know it today.

Sub Club's 30th anniversary is undoubtedly something worth celebrating, not only in the context of this trend of closures but because of its reputation and status within the wider world of electronic music. From legendary nights like Atlantis to the ever-popular and long-running Subculture, the club has a history packed with unforgettable parties, illustrious guest DJs and the best residents around, including Harri & Domenic (James Harrigan and Domenic Cappello) who have been at the helm of Saturday nights at the club for 23 years.

'In the 30 years of its existence, the club has had a fairly significant influence on the music culture of Glasgow and Scotland more generally,' states managing director Mike Grieve. 'The club still being relevant to generations 30 years on is pretty unique. That doesn't tend to happen in many places around the world so I think it's something that the people of Glasgow, the people that have come to the club and the people that have contributed to it over the years, should feel proud of.'

'Culturally, it is important,' Harri adds, 'especially for bringing in DJs from all over the world, which crowds from all over Scotland come to hear.' The Subculture duo have been busy touring Europe in celebration of Sub Club's 30 years, playing everywhere from Serbia's Exit Festival to Jaeger in Oslo. But throughout November, this tour will be coming home to Scotland, taking Harri & Domenic to some of the country's lesser-known venues while extending the spirit of the place beyond Glasgow. 'The tour helps put a little bit of focus on what the club is, letting people outwith Glasgow and across Scotland see that,' Grieve says. 'It's about creating more of an awareness about its longevity, where that comes from and what it's about.'

For Domenic, the tour is a chance to do something a little different in the company of the crowds the pair know and love. 'Scottish crowds are pretty much the same all over; they're always up for it. So whether you're from some nook and cranny in the middle of nowhere or wherever else, there'll always be a similar vibe and a similar energy to a club in the bigger cities.'

The Sub Club XXX tour will see Harri & Domenic stop over in Edinburgh, Perth, Stirling, Kilwinning, Dundee and Inverness, before heading back to Europe to finish up at Barcelona's Razzmatazz. The pair will also be on support duties alongside Optimo for Larry Heard's appearance at Barrowlands, another big party planned for the club's 30th. So with Sub Club having succeeded in reaching this milestone, what will the next 30 years have in store for the Glasgow institution? 'I never thought it would last 30 years!' Domenic jokes. 'The days of trying to guess what's going to happen next are long gone.'

'It's pretty amazing,' Harri continues. 'It just feels slightly surreal that we've been around this long because I don't feel that much older. But it has been a pretty long time and I still look forward to it every Saturday.'

The future may look murky for many clubs around the country but the folks at Sub Club have plenty of bright and innovative ideas in the works to keep the party going for as long as possible. 'Everything's changed a lot in the last 30 years,' Grieve notes. 'Sub Club itself has gone through many changes and we've had to deal with those challenges as they come along. But we're pretty robust and we have always felt able to see our way through new challenges. So I'm optimistic and enthusiastic about what the future holds.'

Sub Club XXX Tour: Harri & Domenic All Night Long, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, Fri 3 Nov; Ice Factory, Perth, Sat 4 Nov; Fubar, Stirling, Fri 10 Nov; Taylors, Kilwinning, Sat 11 Nov; Reading Rooms, Dundee, Fri 24 Nov; Upstairs at The Gellions, Inverness, Sat 25 Nov.

Harri & Domenic: 30 Years of Sub Club

Iconic Glaswegian institution Sub Club turned 30 this year so residents Harri & Domenic head out on tour.