The legendary Bongo Club in Edinburgh marks its 20th birthday with a month of celebrations. The party starts on Friday night with a set from one of the world’s best DJs, Ben UFO. Gayle Ritchie finds out more…
Twenty years is a huge milestone for any club to reach these days.
So get on your dancing shoes because the Edinburgh institution that is the Bongo Club is alive and kicking and marking two decades of its commitment to diverse, alternative acts, music and DJs with a month of celebrations.
Despite being forced to move location twice, the club is now firmly rooted on the city’s Cowgate and is as popular as ever.
For those into underground techno parties, Substance – billed as one of Edinburgh’s most important outposts for house, techno and bass music – is hosting a night to remember this Friday (September 30), with Ben Thomson, aka Ben UFO, on the decks.
As co-founder of Hessle Audio, Ben confounds expectations with his seamless dancefloor heavy sets that encompass everything from hard techno to Afrobeat, house and electro.
Over the past five years, Ben has built a reputation as one of contemporary dance music’s most daring and wide-ranging selectors, with his keen ear and razor-sharp abilities enabling him to cut between eras, lineages and mixing styles with dazzling ease and fluidity.
Having cut his teeth in early dubstep and drum and bass, his roots lie in UK rave culture – yet his selections cast the net wider, drawing new mutations of this culture into the orbit of house, techno and other global dancefloor sounds.
In clubs, his sets manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, sliding from sidewinding broken rhythms into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or broadsiding you with unexpected tangents, old favourites and bizarre secret weapons.
Ben has come far since broadcasting internet radio from two turntables on his mate’s bedroom floor. As well as holding down a residency at London’s club fairyland, Fabric, he stays busy touring Europe’s festival circuit, while continuing his now-eminent radio show with Hessle Audio on Rinse FM.
Substance’s Adam Richardson is more than just a bit excited about the night.
“Ben is obviously much in demand and we’re delighted to have got him on board to play what is a relatively intimate venue,” he said.
“His eclecticism is fitting for the occasion, the Bongo being a broad church both musically and in the diversity of its crowd. Add to that the biggest and highest spec sound system we have ever worked with, brought in especially for the evening, and you have a pretty unmissable party.”
With support from residents Gavin Richardson and Velocity Funk, Friday night is the first of a big run of four parties for Substance up to the end of the year, which includes their 10th birthday on October 28.
Substance has been serving up some of the most thunderous innovators to the capital for ten years so you’re guaranteed a good night out.
The rest of the Bongo Club anniversary month sees everything from grime and UK bass, theatre, funk, spoken word, jazz, hip hop, reggae and rock. Check out www.thebongoclub.co.uk
Tickets for Substance: Ben UFO are available at www.residentadvisor.net/event.aspx?860234