Disco + Pub = Disco Pub. A Winning Formula.
A good proportion of the best DJs that you – dear urbane, enlightened, well-coiffed and well-read reader of Ransom Note – enjoy are regularly to be found in the disco pub, that bastard hybrid of the local boozer and small club. Away from the hordes in Ibiza and the Norfolk broads with stinky bleachy floors, wild dancing on tables and chairs, far from the hour long queues featuring the overpriced, overhyped celebrity DJ du jour, a good disco pub can be worth a million Circo Loco beach bar after-party dog and pony poser shows.
We do discos better in our little pubs. The modern incarnation of this great British institution can be attributed to venues such as the Lock Tavern, where (ahem) Campari Safari started out on Thursdays and the occasional Sunday, filling the gaps in silence between a thousand long-since forgotten bands – though we turned down the XX for a 100 quid as we felt that was way too much for mopey music that would of been played on a sunny afternoon.
Six months later we were lapping it up like everyone else and roundly kicking ourselves in the bollocks for our short-sightedness … Anyway moving from past failures, someone who knows how to sustain a successful night in a pub is Iain Bogg from ASBO where for ten years ( Ten Years, man!!) they have had the best names in dance music, playing unusual or heart wrenching sets with People like Trevor Jackson hailing ASBO "As good as the Berghain with better toilets ". We asked Iain, what makes a good disco pub?
Iain Bogg: Amstel on tap
And so there you have it, dear reader.
Iain knows discos in pubs are not always plain sailing, with weird incidents, strange vibes and annoying requests a regularity. What sticks in his mind as the most memorable incident good or bad?
"Well one night I was playing Maze – Twilight, taking it deep, going to another zone, when out of nowhere I get hit in the eye by a fucking paper airplane”
Talking of paper planes, they've had a certain MIA accompanying a guest and throwing some heavy shade. On a more positive note a bloke from the Scissor Sisters got so into the ASBO viiiibbeee he started bumping and grinding attractive men at the bar…
Pub rules also means that you are often bound by early closing times this can be much to the relief of the jaded old ravers who need to get up early for yoga and smashed avocados on sourdough, as well as the DJ who has to field requests and sometimes threatening behaviour. “The vital last track can cause tears or fights” says Iain, "we ended a night with Prefab Sprout- When love breaks down [which needs no introduction dear reader, as a veritable heart melter and Balearic sob fest inducer] when someone ran up to the decks as the last bars rang out and asked is that all we had. We said yes." Cue huge scenes of blind punches and tearful curses, no doubt.
Disco Pubs are a part of our rich dance music history now more than ever in these tight-fisted times, more vital than any shitty after-hours sleaze fest. There is honour and integrity in that pub and if they have a decent rig, you’re home. You want to hear a DJ take you on journey through their soul go see someone like Justin Robertson play Patti Smith Horses and see the pure joy writ large on the faces of your fellow dancer. Anybody who had the good fortune of witnessing the genesis of ALFOS (albeit in the basement) of the 3 Crowns on a Thursday, exchanged that same knowing look with their fellow pub-goers – now that was something special.
Deep respect must be reserved for the big palookas of the scene. The blueprint of them all with Horse Meat Disco at The Eagle, Lasermagnetic Parties with the legendary Johnny Hiller and Pete Herbert at The Horse and Groom, The Old Queens Head with its Bugged Out parties ( note the Roxanne De bastion single launch there on 28th April) , Bad Passion parties at the Shacklewell arms, the glory days of the Voodoo Shack when the yard men would venture in to see what was rattling the cones. Oh, we salute you all!
We proudly add our own disco institution to the list – Another Island! This Saturday April 25th at the revamped Dalston Victoria at 451 Queensbridge Rd, Dalston. Step through the bookcase (we shit you not) and find yourself on a journey from class A boozer to Funktion one sound system enhanced back room of sin! Live band To The Cosmos start things off from 8pm with their dreamy spacey music and flown in from Perugia, fresher than a fat porcini, Fab May Day from Italo Italians Records. Your gracious host Mr Sam of Campari Safari rounds things out around the edges and takes you til 2am.
Campari Safari is also 10 this year – this amorphous disco blob was born in Bristol at the Cube Cinema and DJ’d before the Fall at Koko, Mark E Smith nodded at them. Derrick May took a photo of us once. The legend endures.
Another Island is this Saturday at the revamped Dalston Victoria. Powered by Funktion One sound system and featuring space synth band To The Cosmos live, followed by Fab MayDay from Italo Italians Records & Campari Safari – click here for more information.