Before The Bomb dropped

While The Bomb may be laid to rest in clubbing history, it would be great to give it the obituary it deserves. Let’s do this Notts x

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If you’re really into repetitive beats – fully enthralled by them – it’s likely that you, like me, have a romantic vision of night clubs. While many who haven’t yet sipped from the techno cup view nightclubs as simply loud rooms with sticky floors, tacky men and sugary shots, we see them (or the good ones anyway) as something quite different. Likened more to heaven than hell, they are places of escapism, places where you feel at home, where your eyes are opened, where friendships are formed and where fun memories are made that last forever.

This Pulse Radio article sums up perfectly what I’m trying to say.

Some of the most interesting and unique individuals I have come across in my three decades of life, I met in nightclubs. More than lecturers or tutors, they were the ones who challenged me to think about how I acted, dressed, talked and treated other people. They came from strange and unknown places, with alternate histories and undefined futures. Many of these people would become my friends, lovers, collaborators, co-workers and even employers.

As the electronic music culture that surrounds these warm, fuzzy memory forming places continues to grow, the rate that these mythical venues close down is nothing short of disastrous. But let’s leave that topic to be explored in its own blog post…

The Bomb is the type of club that I’m talking about – shrouded in legend, mystery and iconic status, yet sadly closing its doors long before the current stream of shut-downs started to take place and my god, I’d do anything to have been able to get sweaty in there. The Bomb needs absolutely no introduction for many seasoned party-goers in Nottingham. But for those who haven’t heard of it, here’s what we know…

 

You’ve probably set foot in its grounds without realising

If you’ve been a student in Notts then you’ve probably been to Coco Tang. Many years ago, the staircase that now takes you through a maze to cocktails and glamour used to be a ‘rabbit warren’, leading to nothing but house, techno and everything in-between. While the culture in Coco Tang might not be to everyone’s liking, the incredible underground venue can still be appreciated. Small, intimate and full of places to loose your mind in – it’s not hard to see why The Bomb enjoyed such legendary status.

It had some incredible lineups

Due to its existence pre web 2.0, it’s difficult to find listings, mixes or videos of what went down at The Bomb, (if anyone has anything, please send them over!) However, with some internet searching I managed to track down this article from Notts drum’n’bass powerhouse, Detonate. The blog post itself is an excellent read, providing a personal account of the promoter’s experience with the club. It is from this that we start to get an idea of the calibre of artists it attracted.

The Saturday’s in there had people like Derek Carter, Andrew Weatherall, Green Velvet, Layo & Bushwacka etc playing. We had to up our game. Musically we were able to go deeper and so did nights like Soul:ution, and book DJ’s like Fabio, Marcus Intalex, 4Hero and Calibre.

Rumour has it that even names such as Richie Hawtin played in The Bomb’s basement, right in his mnml heyday. It’s scenes like this that I dream of…

And has hosted many Nottingham institutions 

As well as making me drool over the past line-ups, Detonate’s post revealed that it once called The Bomb its home. Other Nottingham stalwarts such as Bent (Simon Mills and Neil ‘Nail’ Tolliday – responsible for many standout tracks and mixes on his own right) also cut their teeth in this basement, alongside the legendary rave crew, the DiY collective (when they weren’t grooving in a country field). Vice explained more about DiY in this article, and you can get an audio-feel of the collective’s vibe with this playlist, selected by Digs. In the playlist there are tracks by Nail, as well as Hot Toddy from Crazy P (then Crazy Penis). I imagine they all would have been regulars of DiY and The Bomb, as well as Inland Knights – another local act that rose to fame during this time.

Here’s what Nail has been getting up to recently too…

I’m not really sure why it closed 

For a club with so much going for it, it’s hard to know why it closed down and is now a very different venue indeed. Again, its pre-internet existence means there is little written on the matter, other than this Leftlion interview with Stephanie Cooper, who was hired to help The Bomb rise from the ashes after it started to fall.

I want to know more!

I know that there are many regulars of The Bomb who have stories to tell, and many new Notts arrivals, like myself, who would love to hear them. If you used to go to the club, if you played there or have any involvement with the classic venue then I’d love to hear from you! Any pictures, mixes or tracks from the era are all welcomed too 🙂

While The Bomb may be laid to rest in clubbing history, it would be great to give it the obituary it deserves. Let’s do this Notts x

Radioactiveman is coming to Bar 11

Perdition is one of those nights in Notts that I’ve always wanted to go to but for some reason, had never stepped foot on its wonderfully curated dance floor. It seemed as if I had missed my chance as the Notts/London based party bowed out gracefully from Nottingham nightlife last June after welcoming the Zenker Brothers for one last dance in the midlands, before moving to the capital permanently. However, I am in luck. To celebrate its third birthday, Perdition will be coming back to Notts once more on 10th March, bringing Radioactiveman along for the ride.

Admittedly, this guy wasn’t on my radar until I stumbled across him at Gottwood 2015. After a hazy day turned into an even hazier evening I wound up in the Walled Garden, perched against some hay bails. His pulsating sounds were oddly soothing. Soon my hips were swaying once more and I was immediately catapulted back into the stunning welsh field in which I was standing.

He played a set that I would have described as squelchy acid house although on research it seems that he’d be defined, if that is possible, to more of an electro sound. Either way, I was mesmerised and had to pester the crowd to find out who it was. This was the same Gottwood where I discovered Steevio and his modular mayhem – ’twas a great weekend for sonic learning! Since then, any mention of Radioactive man and his distinctive bleeps and tweaks has made my ears prick up, resulting in an instant ticket purchase.

In the past month or so I’ve been seeing and hearing more than usual of Radioactive man, such as his live session on Kmah, and it seems to be that he has a new album out soon. This is excellent news, also responsible for giving me the opportunity to now see him play in a small, familiar venue in Notts

Thank you Perdition for coming back with such a bang. Bring it on Radioactive man.

Perdition is bringing Radioactiveman to Bar 11 on 10 March. Get involved online.

 

How grate is Plates?

I urge any one in Notts in need of a mind-lift, a creative boost or an ‘input’ session to head to Plates, located in the basement of the Malt Cross, to see what sounds they discover.

When I was at University, I would get the train to Leeds on many a weekend to soak up the incredible sounds the city had to offer (mainly in the form of Back to Basics System or Louche, of course!). If I ever got there early enough in the day, I’d sometimes head into Waxwerks (may it RIP), probably one of the most vibrant, creative, inspiring and entertaining spaces I’d stepped foot in. Part record store, part disco area, it hosted loads of fun, free drop in ‘dos during the day, warming us up ready for what was about to unfold on the Saturday night. Whether that be at The Garage, the club it was joined on to, or in one of the many other underground haunts that Leeds is so privileged to have.

After one particularly ace day time soiree, watching the Apollonia crew go B2B in Waxwerks prior to their set at Mint club later that day, I grew sad that there was nowhere similar in Notts that offered the same quality tunes in a casual setting where the music loving community could gather. And I was even sadder when I learned that Waxwerks, and The Garage was to close down in 2013.

However, when I found Plates Records I realised that there are like-minded souls out there in the midlands, striving towards similar goals. Of course there was – I just had to find them! In the same way that Waxwerks brought a certain charm to Yorkshire, it provides its own unique facilities that Notts is truly blessed to have.

Plates Records is a vinyl record store. But not just that, it is also a dubplate cutting studio, and does a lot to add to the music community in the area. Also hosting its own parties, in the day and the night, it regularly collaborates with other local crews such as Leftback Records as well as keeping its website updated with a pretty cool blog. What’s more, it’s running a sampling workshop this month which I will be attending. Bring on those amen breaks.

I urge any one in Notts in need of a mind-lift, a creative boost or an ‘input’ session to head to Plates, located in the basement of the Malt Cross, to see what sounds they discover. Even if you don’t leave with a new record, you can pick up some free independent magazines or night club flyers to learn exactly what’s going on in town that evening and generally soak up some positive vibes. Boredom = busted with a fine helping of underground music culture.

On its website, Plates is described as:

We focus on keeping alive the things that inspire creativity, freedom of exploration and soul within music.

Isn’t that great?

Learn more about Plates on its website. Join the sampling workshop here.

Why you’d be mad to miss Max Cooper at Wigflex this March

If you were undecided about heading to see Max Cooper all night long, including a look at his ‘Emergence’ live AV show, then please spare a few moments to have your mind blown…

For the good folk of Nottingham, Wigflex needs no introduction. Nor does Max Cooper, for many electronic music fans. But if you were undecided about heading to see Max Cooper all night long, including a look at his ‘Emergence’ live AV show, then please spare a few moments to have your mind blown… (just as I was when I started to dig deeper into what the actual show was all about)

More about Max

This night is particularly exciting for Nottingham due to Max’s special connection to the city. An ex Uni-of student, he received a PH.D in computational biology (or something equally as impressive) from the fine institution while also holding down a residency at legendary techno institution, Firefly. I didn’t move to Nottingham myself until 2011 – the year that it closed – and was incredibly disappointed that I’d missed out on the chance to go to this night, hearing nothing but great things. A quick flick on youtube gives you an idea of the sounds that went down. Beautiful.

However, if Firefly was considered an institution for techno heads back in 2011, you could argue that Wigflex has kindly picked up where it left off, making this combination of artist and club night particularly compelling.

Emergence

Max Cooper has long been responsible for some incredible tracks over the years, known for his appreciation of the connection between sound and visual experience.  It’s hard to find a track of his that doesn’t come with a hypnotic video to accompany it. Like this one created by the talented Nick Cobby, who also was one part of the excellent Nottingham club night, Zleep.

Released last November, Emergence is Max Cooper’s latest album and concept. This is how he describes it on his official website:

Emergence is the story of natural laws and processes, their inherent beauty, and their action to yield the universe, us and the world we live in.

I started working on the project around 3 years ago, when I was thinking about how I could link my interests in science, music and visual arts together. The theme was one already touched on in previous music video projects, and one that provided potential to incorporate many different ideas and audio-visual experiments into a single narrative, so I got stuck in to see where the project would take me. The result was initially a live AV show, which then turned into an album, and for the final piece to close the project next year, a surround sound movie format.

Is your mind blown yet? His background in science is clear to see, leveraged by collaborations with mathematicians and other sciencey folk to make this recent work an incredible amalgamation of facts, logic, curiosity and creativity – my favourite combination. From what I can tell, the entire album follows a timeline of human civilisation/evolution, starting with the ‘big bang’ and when life first started to form before hurtling far into the future.

To me, electronic music is an incredible art form – in one sense, it can make you dance uncontrollably but deep into the genre there are also artists, such as Max, who use complex sounds, rhythms, melodies and the emotions they provoke to bend your mind and explore the world we live in or at least, the way we think about it. Emergence is a fine example of this.

The series of visual delights that accompany each song from the new album already look stunning when seen on the tiny screen of my laptop. I can’t even begin to imagine how the entire AV show is going to be this March, but I can’t wait to find out.

 

Max Cooper will be showcasing his Emergence live AV show at Wigflex on 4th March, hosted at Brickworks. Find out more online.