Reno Club Reunion Part 3 @ Relish/Club Replay 29th June 2008

Soul Control - Reno

Reno Club Reunion Part 3 @ Relish/Club Replay 29th June 2008
Review - T2 Bad

Rumours started to circulate on Sunday afternoon that the eagerly awaited Reno Club Reunion Part 3 event at Relish had been cancelled, which went some way to explaining why I’d had so many people calling me to see whether it was still definitely on or not!!!! I was as much in the dark as everyone else, but before I could even call the promoters to get the word straight from the horse’s mouth, I was receiving credible reports that the night had indeed been cancelled at Relish but had now been hastily moved to Club Replay in Stockport!!!

Soul Control - Reno

There was no official comment to be had on this as when I called the Reno’s main man Persian, he told me that he’d endured a long weekend and had been caught up in a load of ‘club-world politics’ and that he would explain it all to me later at Club Replay!! This was all that I could tell the raver’s who were expecting to go but were unsure as to what was happening. Later on further news came out from the promoters that as a gesture of goodwill, they were providing a series of mini-buses to ferry the Reno-ites from Relish to Club Replay at no cost which I suppose is some consolation.

Club Replay is owned by George Foreman look-alike Horace Harvey, a Mr Nice Guy type who is well known on the Quality Soul scene.

On my arrival I noticed that there seemed to be quite a lot of cars around the building which I thought bode well for the night. I know that people get very nervous if they hear that an event has been moved or if someone on the bill has cancelled, so even minor changes to a gig's line-up, times, or venue can spell curtains for it, so the proof of the pudding would be to see what Replay looked like on the inside!!!

On going through the door I was greeted by Lippo and Mike Hood who both looked relieved to see me for some reason. Lippo was adorned in his trademark steel toe-capped army boots and black combat trousers and he remarked to me that they had been to hell & back over the weekend and that he was just relieved that the event was taking place at all!!!! I asked him why there was a last minute change of venue and all he elaborated to me was that there was a mix-up to do with the contract and ‘people working against us’!

I went into the main club area to be greeted by a sparsely populated Club Replay!! I would estimate the attendance to be around 130-ish. The other thing I noticed was how diverse the crowd were, there were all sorts in there!! There were regulars from TSOP and Seductive Soul, people who you would expect to see at Soul Out & Relish and a few original Reno players, some of whom I haven’t seen in a night-club since the Reno closed!!! There was also a sizable amount of younger twenty something’s in there as some of them had turned out with their parents by all accounts!!! Sunset Radio legend Hewan Clarke was playing when I first arrived and his set consisted of Classic 70’s and 80’s Soul and Rare Groove. It was a good enough selection by Hewan, but I had the feeling that the crowd were waiting for something to happen as everyone seemed unsure as to whether this was it for the night or were there more people to be expected!!!

A dude who can usually be seen strutting his funky stuff at TSOP then appeared on the dance-floor with what appeared to be a bottle of insect powder and started to sprinkle it very liberally on the floor around him!!! Horace (the manager) rapidly appeared and apprehended the dude, escorted him off the dance-floor and confiscated his insect powder!!!! I was reliably informed later on that it was indeed talcum powder and the Dude wasn’t someone from Rent-o-kil working late!!! Apparently talc is frequently used in the Northern Soul scene to lessen the friction of the dance-floor whilst body-popping!!!!

Reno legend DJ Kenny B who now resides in Germany, took to the decks after Hewan and played a set which was frankly a bit all over the place. He would play a good track one minute and then inexplicably he’d play something really obscure which even had us DJ’s scratching our heads!! His set didn’t really flow at all & I for one was relieved when he finally departed to be replaced by the main man DJ Persian. Whilst all this was unfolding there were more and more people arriving by the Reno Minibus Shuttle Service. The problem was though, as more and more people were arriving, the same amount of people seemed to be leaving, so the night never really rose above the 130 attendance mark at any given time!!!

Persian started his set with the Slave and Reno classic ‘Watching You’ which got an immediate response from the crowd. Persian then went through the gears and played classics from back in the day, but there was also a liberal sprinkling of more recent track too!!! I suppose there’s two way that you can look at that; 1, you could say ‘I thought it was supposed to be a Reno night so only tunes from that period should be played’ or 2, you could say ‘Well if the Reno was still open today, these tracks would have been huge in there’… pragmatic side would prefer to go with my second assumption.

By 2.30am I think everyone had conceded that how the night was at that moment was as good as it was going to get and at last that little bit of Reno magic crept into Club Replay!!! I spent too many nights in the Reno for my own good, but this gives me a unique insight into what made the Reno the legendary club it has become. For me the Reno was a club run by the people for the people and this is the feel that Club Replay had. There was very little polish to the night, but there was a feeling that the people had pulled together to make this night happen and to entertain themselves in the face of adversity. Anyone who was a regular at the Reno will fully understand my sentiments. The crowd were drinking, dancing and making merry; and whilst I was sat in a corner on my own just getting a panoramic view of the Reno Reunion Part 3 I couldn’t help but feel that the night was just like a ‘Blues’ but in a club!!!!

Fletcher T was the Reno sound engineer for the night and the only complaint I would have with the sound was that the two speaker stacks could have been better situated which is a shame because the system was actually quite good!! Where I was stood most of the night the system actually sounded weak at times, but this had everything to do with the fact that the speakers were facing each other across the dance-floor which was right in front of where the DJ’s were situated and if you moved much beyond this point, it sounded more like background music!!! It would have been a good idea to have had the speakers facing the length of the club so that the paying clientele could become more engaged in what was going on rather than just the DJ’s and those who were stood right in front of them!!!

The DJ’s swapped, chopped and changed around, but the music continued to be up and down!! Just when you thought the DJ’s had got the point and caught the groove, something would be thrown in which was completely inappropriate or totally obscure. The Reno night club ran for 3 decades and covered everything Soul and Funk-wise during that period, but I didn’t see the point in going so deep, that at times even the music connoisseurs like myself were at a loss as to what was being played and why at this event!!! All DJ’s have tunes that are rare, but that doesn’t make them any good. Soul Control have always tried to avoid playing certain tunes just to prove that we’ve got rare tracks and have always concentrated on entertaining people when we play out, I just wish some DJ’s would do the same!!! In all fairness the main but not only culprit of this was Kenny B, but I think the other DJ’s around him should have guided him where this issue was concerned and been a bit more aware of the crowd reactions whilst they were playing.

I ended up being at Club Replay until the end. Whilst leaving I bumped into Persian who took me outside to explain the late change of venue. He didn’t elaborate much more on what I was told earlier and only reiterated that there were ‘forces’ trying to stop the Reno crew from progressing, but they wouldn’t be deterred!!! Persian is a long-standing acquaintance of mine and a very softly spoken man and it was hard not to feel for him and the stress he had to endure that weekend, but that’s the club business for you!!

In true Reno style though there were a few people who were a little worse for wear and one or two who got a little rowdy outside at the end. But in a strange kind of way, this added legitimacy to the claim for this night to be branded The Reno because this is mainly how I remembered my hazy, bleary eyed times in the legendary club!!!

I think a lot of the confusion with the Reno Club nights surrounds their previous link with Good Times Promotions who actually do the Soul events at Relish. Looking back to last year, there was a Reno Club night at Relish which was promoted by Good Times Promotions. During the Christmas period, there was a Reno Club Part 2 at the Mint Lounge which was promoted by the Reno crew, but there was also a separate night at Relish on the same Xmas week which was promoted by Good Times!!! Everybody was confused as to whether the Reno night had moved to the Mint Lounge or whether it was still the night being promoted as being at Relish a few days after the Mint Lounge one!!! How confusing!!!!

Basically, Good Times Promotions promote the Soul Nights at Relish and are a seperate outfit the Reno Club Reunion promoters who have used Mint Lounge and Club Replay for their events. Ultimately I don’t think this confusion has helped either brand and I think they would be best explaining who is doing what, where and when so that everyone is clear on what is a Reno night, and what is a Good Times night!!

Soul Control Verdict:
The Reno Club Reunion Part 3 was a triumph over adversity, but to be honest it didn’t amount to much else. Traditionally this is the quietest time of the year in the club-world and the confusion over whether the night was going ahead or not and the fact it was on a Sunday night/ Monday morning would not have helped the attendances. For me the Reno night was akin to attending a ‘Blues’ in a club which ain't so bad if it's your type of thing, but I think an opportunity to capitalise on the few who were there was lost because the DJ’s were mostly not on the same wavelength as the crowd. Where does The Reno go from here? I don’t know, but it will be interesting to see what their next move is!! A lot happened around this event and much of it had nothing to do with the entertainment on offer, Persian is experienced enough to sort out the problems that beset the Reno Reunion night and I wish him well in doing so.

Soul Control Rating:

Soul Control - 2 Star Review