Reno 1st Anniversary – Relish Sunday 12th October 2008
Review - T2 Bad
The concept of revival nights surrounding the legendary Reno night club started at Relish 12 months ago. The event has been run at many venues across Manchester during this period with varying degrees of success, so with this in mind I set off on a mild Sunday night to see how their first anniversary would unfold.
On my arrival I bumped into my good friend from the Reno days who is also the sole female DJ of the Reno pack, De Ja Vu who greeted me warmly before giving me her assessment of how the night had gone so far. She was gutted that I hadn’t been there a little earlier when she was on because she was at pains to assure me that she played a very good set which was well received by the attending Reno-ites, a fact that was later confirmed by a few friends who I spoke to. I asked De Ja how many people were in and she diplomatically answered ‘There’s quite a few’ which in my experience translates into ‘not as many as we were hoping for’. With this in mind I ventured toward the entrance where I was met by Daniel, one of the main men behind the Reno brand. I spoke briefly to him about nothing in particular, but I noticed he was looking a little uncomfortable. It crossed my mind that his ill-at-ease look might have something to do with the comment that De Ja had made to me just beforehand!!!
Sure enough in terms of numbers, the turn out at Relish was quite poor, about 100 I’d estimate and not what the Reno family would have hoped for!!! But hey, whilst numbers through the door is important, we’ve all been to events that have had good numbers, but in terms of entertainment were a massive let-down, so in my opinion there was still something for the Reno-Crew to play for!!!
One of the endearing features of Soul Control the DJ’s over the years is that we’ve always had the same policy from day one of being formed; whether it be 10 or 10,000, we’ll give it our all because that’s the least the people who’ve made the effort to attend deserve. There’s a historical similarity between The Reno and Soul Control which is that we all came through the same adversity of growing up and living in the cauldron of South Central Manchester where we all had to make the most of very little and it was heart-warming to see this spirit in action at The Reno’s first anniversary.
The Legendary DJ Tomlin, who was a true musical visionary back in the day and still is today, was playing when I arrived. I’ll never forget the shock of him dropping Public Enemy’s ‘Rebel Without a Pause’ in The Reno one night!!! The Reno was an out and out Soul club and when Tomlin played ‘Rebel Without a Pause’, everyone stopped dead, looked at him like he’d lost his marbles and a few people started to swear at him too, but just as many people slowly and cautiously started to nod their heads and smile and by the end of the record the whole club were banging Special Brew and Champagne bottles on the tables and screaming for a rewind!!!!!
I’ve never seen anything like the hysteria that followed when the record started again, but it proved to me that Tomlin was truly nuts because I would never have had the guts to do what he did or the skill to pull it off!!! But pull it off he did and from that point on Public Enemy had arrived in South Central Manchester courtesy of the last DJ to grace the legendary Reno Night Club, DJ Tomlin and that was The Reno for you!!!! £50 bottles of Champagne and £1 bottles of Special brew being banged in unison….that could only ever have happened in The Reno!!!!!!
Many people commented that although Tomlin’s set was very good, that some of the tunes he was playing came about after the Reno had closed in 1988!!! I was forced to concur with these opinions, but I asked all I had the conversation with, could they imagine listening to purely Reno classics every time there was a Reno event on? Exactly, it would become the most brain-numbingly boring experience since God’s own football club Manchester City were managed by Stuart Pearce, and all die-hard Blues fans know what I’m talking about!!!!
Some ‘Outsiders’ may see The Reno merely as a club, but to us who were born, lived and loved in South Central Manchester, the Reno epitomised, and was our way of life!!!! To be perfectly honest, it’s one of those ‘you’d have had to have been there to understand The Reno and those who attended it’ scenarios. Both Manchester City and The Reno were our local clubs, and we loved them both as they were there with us through the good times and the bad!!!
I went on to explain this reasoning throughout the many conversations I had with the many friends I knew who were present. But I think the crucial thing to remember is this; some of the music being played at Relish may have come after The Reno had closed, but if the Reno were still open today, these tunes would definitely have been played in that memorable ‘Cellar Club’ and therefore these tunes are Reno Inspired and can legitimately be played!!!!
The sound system that was used made a difference too!! Relish is an oddly shaped club, so I can imagine adequate sound reinforcement being an issue. Although you had to be stood in certain positions to get the full benefit of the sound, when I did find a sweet spot, the music sounded loud enough and clear which makes a change from most venues today. The only issue that I had with the night was when some pleasant looking Yardie dude came on to do a PA and sang a menagerie of Celine Dion-like Reggae cover tracks!!! I dunno what all that was about, but it was………er shall we say different!!
Soul Control Verdict:
It was a strange but very intimate atmosphere at Relish on this night. Because of the low numbers and because I knew a lot of the people there, it didn’t really seem like a club night, it felt more like Relish was just a cool place to go and hang out on a Sunday night. Whilst some people danced, others just socialised but everyone seemed to be having an OK night, not the greatest ever, but by no means the worse. Many people commented on this fact throughout the night and this again epitomised The Reno spirit of making the most of what you’ve got. For this reason alone, I expect The Reno Classics nights to evolve and live on!!!!
Soul Control Rating: