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All night raves - new cool for old school?

Who said aceeed was just for kids? At the Quadrant Park reunions, Bootle has never been so trendy since...?

Published on April 9th 2009.


All night raves - new cool for old school?

THIRTY- and fortysomethings who were dropping out and dropping ecstasy tabs, all throughout the second summer of love, are dropping back into club reunion nights across the country. Acid house is getting a revival, and the litmus test is right here where the superclub started.

"We still have a hard core of originals attending, but have gathered a new group of younger party people who are just discovering this unique sound that we nurtured all those years ago"

For these days, say "house", and certain-age clubbers are as likely to think of 808 State as they are their mortgage rate. And in Liverpool, the Quadrant Park Reunion nights are booming, in every sense, with high spending ex-ravers facing the 3am Eternal babysitter after a night drinking the bar dry to the strains of Inner City and A Guy Called Gerald somewhere in the ambient mix.

Danny Rampling joins the original Quad Park team of Andy Carroll, Mike Knowler and John Kelly tonight, cranking up the Ibiza classics in an Easter Reunion at the Barfly. It's the latest in a series that has seen the team appearing at gatherings all over the UK.

So is this just another nostalgia fest for Carroll and the gang? No, says he, telling Liverpool Confidential: “I had held off for a long time from doing a reunion because, as a music lover, I'm mainly interested in moving forward with sound, not particularly going backwards. I'm as excited by music now as I ever was.

“Finally I was persuaded, and as I enjoyed the crowd, atmosphere and re-discovering some forgotten classics so much, I've continued to do them if it's with the original DJs."

He added: "We still have a hard core of originals attending, but have gathered a new group of younger party people who are just discovering this unique sound that we nurtured all those years ago.”

Nevertheless, Carroll and co have apparently learned to take their feet off the accelerator during sets. Or, as John Kelly was quoted in The Times last week: “They haven't got the energy that they used to have. You've got to give them little breaks. They're certainly not taking as many Es as they used to. It's more about the music.”

This is all about nostalgia too, and the crowd does not want anything new. Many feel that the explosion of superclubs like Cream in the mid and late 1990s were the death of their scene, so they prefer the more

spiritual house music of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Ironically, their “scene” was where Cream founder James Barton cut his teeth.

“You get a great energy off the crowd because of all those lyrics about positivity and unity,” DJ Kelly added.

When it first opened in the mid-1980s, Quadrant Park consisted of three buildings, all situated in a converted warehouse in Bootle. In addition to a disco, there was a 24-hour snooker club, and a large warehouse area at the back that was used for car boot sales.

In 1990, owner Jim Spencer converted the large warehouse area into a separate venue for hosting all-night rave parties. He did this by using a clever legal wrangle to allow the snooker club’s 24-hour entertainment licence to become a members’ only all-night rave club. Eventually there were two clubs in the same building; one at the front which opened from 9pm to 2am, and one at the back, which opened from 2am to 8am. People came out of the first club and queued again to get in to the second. This was the birth of the club all-nighter and while it was disappointing back in the day to see Tuebrook's Coconut Grove miss the dizzying boat, a club phenomenon was being born.

DJ Carroll added: “The first reunion we did three years ago was an incredible success and many original party people flocked to the event. We did the next one six months later and there were fewer people and so it went on. Then the promoting team split and it wasn't looking like another reunion may happen. I was getting so many requests by various people who had befriended me on Facebook that I called John Kelly and Mike Knowler and we decided to start them up again. We started from scratch more or less in comparison to the hype of the first party.

“In the last year we've gone from strength to strength and each party has got better and better."

Quadrant Park was the only actual legal all-night rave anywhere and coaches to the fleeting happening – which ran for just just 40 consecutive Saturday nights from November 1990 to July 1991 - used to arrive every weekend from all over the UK.

And did they have Twitter or mobile phones? No!

*Quadrant Park Easter Reunion, tonight, April 9, Barfly, Seel Street. Tx £10 from 3-Beat and ticketline.

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An E please BobApril 9th 2009.

Marvellous entertainment. Showing the Mancs and the Cockneys how to do it all night long.

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