We often think of New York as the epicenter of disco, and in many ways it was. But don’t count out Montréal – the city went wild for the music in the '70s, and the best place to hear it was the Lime Light Disco. Specifically, it was the ultra-exclusive third floor of the club where you wanted to be, because that’s where Robert Ouimet held court. Ouimet was a take-no-prisoners selector who didn’t so much give the crowd what they wanted as much as demand that they get on board with what he was offering. Still, he presided over some of the best nights ever witnessed, according to partiers from both sides of the city's English-French divide. This time on Nightclubbing, we hear from Ouimet himself, along with Lime Light owner Yvon Lafrance and DJs like Christian Provonost and Pierre Gagnon — for all of them, Lime Light was an unparalleled music education.
Uncle Jamm's Army
All of the parties we feature on Nightclubbing are a big deal. But none of them was literally big in the way that Uncle Jamm’s Army was – during its ‘80s heyday, they packed the Los Angeles Sports Arena. Attendees might have seen Egyptian Lover jamming live on a Roland TR-808 or a top rap group like Run-DMC showcasing its sound; founder Rodger Clayton was known to drop an “emergency song” that would help diffuse the occasionally tense atmosphere caused by members of rival gangs who’d all showed up to party. It was a big moment in the evolution of West Coast hip-hop, created by one of the deftest party crews ever to do it anywhere. On this episode of Nightclubbing, you’ll hear from many of the members and DJs whose careers began at Uncle Jamm’s Army – from Egyptian Lover and Arabian Prince to Ice-T – and get a sense of how these events rocked Los Angeles on a massive scale.
The Music Institute
The Music Institute lasted for only 18 months in the late ‘80s, and it almost didn’t make it past an opening-night police raid. But the downtown Detroit afterhours club is a huge part of the city’s musical legacy and a key moment in techno history – it’s to the Motor City what the Paradise Garage was to New York and the Music Box to Chicago. A thoroughly DIY affair, the Music Institute was famously rough around the edges. Nevertheless, it helped launch the careers of Alton Miller and Chez Damier (who cofounded it with George Baker), and it’s where Friday night resident Derrick May staged some of the boldest DJ sets of his career. This time on Nightclubbing, we hear about the ramshackle dancefloor at 1315 Broadway, straight from the club’s founders and at least one unlikely regular, along with some choice insight from Derrick May himself.
Studio 29 was only open for about five years, but for a certain contingent of young people in late-'70s/early-'80s Bombay, the lavishly appointed discotheque provided a lifetime of memories. The brainchild of Sabira Merchant, a European-educated socialite who these days is one of India’s top etiquette experts, the Marine Drive club brought modern DJ culture to a city whose nightlife had previously been dominated by live bands and orchestras. Membership dues were notably steep, but those who could afford to join were treated to an experience unparalleled in India at the time. On this episode of Nightclubbing, we hear from Sabira Merchant herself and a crew of Studio 29’s most devoted denizens — they'll talk about about the glitz, glamour and wild outfits that characterized a night out at a club that couldn’t have existed anywhere else.
House of God
Unless you’ve been to the long-running Birmingham, England party House of God, then you’ve probably never been to a party remotely like it. Resident DJs like Surgeon played ultra-hard techno, and the atmosphere did very little to temper it – long-running affiliates recall such curveballs as pyrotechnics, projections of hardcore pornography and a guy calling himself MC Zit verbally abusing the crowd. All of this was of a piece with Birmingham itself, a postindustrial city that’s long met economic hardship with an abrasively sardonic sense of humor. And while HOG has never taken itself too seriously or done much to broaden its appeal, its influence stretches well beyond the city limits. This time on Nightclubbing, we hear the story of a club night that’s not for the faint of heart, as told by the minds behind it and guests like Paula Temple and Neil Landstrumm.