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


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

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