Soul Grooves @ The Gateway Hotel Didsbury, 29th March 2008 - Review 1
Review - Neil
On Saturday 29th March 2008 I attended Soul Grooves in Didsbury South Manchester at The Gateway Hotel. I had not been to Didsbury that many times before, but from what I had gathered, the area was home to the wealthy and posh. With this in mind, I called the organiser on Saturday afternoon to ask about the dress code. He explained it to me and told me that this was their 2nd night and about 130 people attended the 1st one. I thought; this will do for me!!
It was a miserable, cold and very wet night, but at the pre-arranged time me, my girlfriend and some friends of ours set off from Prestwich and headed toward Didsbury.
Before the event we went to a very good Middle-Eastern restaurant in Didsbury called Aladdin’s which was a perfect way to start the night and got us all excited about what lay ahead. When we arrived at The Gateway the words WEALTHY and POSH didn’t really fit!!!! All we could hear was a very loud karaoke machine blazing out ABBA from what looked like a bog-standard pub!!!! We all thought oh my god where are we!!!!!
It was at this point that we realised that the Soul Grooves event was held upstairs in the pubs function suite, whilst the pub downstairs went about its normal business. We ascended the stairway where we were greeted by the promoter a pleasant enough chap. It was about 11.30pm and the medium sized function room was just over half full with just enough people to make us feel comfortable. The room had the feel of a wedding reception, with the tables and chairs set out behind the dance-floor.
The night was billed as 80’s Soul and Funk, 90’s and Y2K grooves. We heard a couple 90’s tracks but the main content early on was 80’s Soul, which to be honest is what everyone came for. The majority of people there were aged 40+. There was also a small but growing contingency of the local pub goers gathering in the corner.
The music started off well with two DJ’s on rotation. About midnight the DJ’s rotated and the music didn’t seem as good. I am no expert on 80’s Soul but the tracks the 2nd DJ played were slow and weren’t really for dancing. As the Soul Heads increasingly took to their seats, the dance floor became very sparse, but the locals from the pub below then took over the dance-floor and near enough wholly replaced the Soul Heads!!! They were well fuelled and did become very rowdy at times which put many people off dancing!!!
To be honest we were getting bored by the music and the lack of people dancing and by 1am we were looking to call it a night. At this point, the DJ’s then rotated once more and the music became much better and the dance floor stared to fill again. The classics we had come to hear were now being dropped and we were now finally enjoying Soul Grooves very much!!! However the locals were still too rowdy for our liking and were still messing about on the dance-floor, so at 1.40am we decided to leave.
Soul Control Verdict:
I feel Soul Grooves has potential; but they do need to sort out the issues with the locals!!! I wasn’t a big fan of the venue and I feel that one DJ is much stronger than the other which also needs to be addressed. I would probably attend this night in a year’s time too see what progress has been made.
Soul Grooves @ The Gateway Hotel Didsbury, 29th March 2008 - Review 2
Review - Wadey
Having been to the first Soul Grooves outing at The Gateway in February which I thought showed potential I was pleased to see when I arrived at 12am that there were more people in attendance than last time and the venue was pretty full. The event is held in the upstairs function suite above the pub, which has an intimate feel to it with a decent sized dance floor. The crowd seemed to be a mixture of the ‘usual suspects’ Soul Heads and the South Manchester set, although later on when the Pub downstairs closed, some of the locals came upstairs to carry on their night out!!!!
At first they stuck out like a sore thumb, but in fairness to them for the most part they got into the spirit of things and by the end of the night seemed to be enjoying the music and general relaxed atmosphere as much as anyone else!!!
The tunes the DJ’s played was generally a mix of 80’s & 90’s classics which ebbed and flowed all night keeping the dance floor full until the end. The sound system seemed adequate rather than impressive but bearing in mind the Gateways residential location, I’m guessing ‘cranking it up’ was not really an option.
Soul Control Verdict:
All in all an enjoyable, if slightly predictable night seemed to be had by everyone there. I would say that you won’t find anything at Soul Grooves that you couldn’t get at one of the other more established Soul events around town with this theme, but I think the similarity is due to The Gateway’s South Manchester location. I was also very surprised at just how many of the regular ‘Soul Heads’ I knew at Soul Grooves live on this side of town! I can see the Soul Grooves gig gaining a good following and becoming an established event which will run for some time.
Soul Control Rating: