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Shindig ushers in new era; After parting ways with Digital, club night Shindig is entering an exciting new phase, as promoter and resident DJ Scott Bradford tells SIMON ARMSTRONG.

Byline: SIMON ARMSTRONG

WHEN it was announced Shindig was leaving its home of the last four years - and in the process waving goodbye to a weekly Saturday slot - it came as a shock to many. Tomorrow sees the first of its monthly nights at Newcastle's World Headquarters with American DJ Dennis Ferrer taking to the decks.

The American blends everything from deep, soulful house to abrasive techno.

Highly regarded as both a producer and spinner, his appearance should be the perfect way to usher in the new era.

"It had to happen," Scott admits. "For some reason Digital just didn't really work for us.

"It's a great venue and we all thought it would be perfect when we decided to move there in 2005 from Foundation.

"But a lot of our regulars told us they didn't like it. It was just too big and they wanted an intimate space.

"Because it was so large, it meant we had to compromise with some of the DJs we booked in an attempt to fill the place.

"With respect to those people, they're good DJs but not necessarily representative of what Shindig is all about."

The first rumblings of discontent surfaced last year when a dispute over the management of Digital and its musical direction prompted the Shindig boys to announce they would be leaving - along with the venue's other regular nights.

It was a decision they reversed once the row was settled and, from the outside, it looked as if all was well again.

But with attendances averaging around the 600 mark in recent months, the owners decided they wanted to maximise their turnover by taking Saturday nights in a more commercial direction.

It was then that Scott and fellow DJ and promoter Scooby (Lee Melrose) made the bold move to approach World Headquarters with a view to staging regular parties at the venue in Carliol Square.

Scott explains: "We've known Tommy Caulker who runs WHQ for years and Shindig started out in 1992 at Club Afrika, which he ran.

"We sat down with him and told him about our ideas, but never in a million years did we expect him to say 'yes' because up to this point he's always been fiercely protective of his Saturday nights and he's never given them over to other promoters."

Of course, Shindig are no strangers to WHQ. Their Easter soirees are always a sellout and over the last 18 months the club has also hosted their (occasional) Tweakin' parties.

As well as regular events there, Shindig initially intended to fill a monthly Friday slot at Digital, but they decided to sever all ties when problems arose over scheduling.

While WHQ will host smaller-scale nights, big names will take to the decks at Legends on Grey Street for monthly "Shindig Presents... " events.

The latter is an exciting plan they've kept under wraps until this week. First up will be Dubfire on September 25.

Scott explains: "The chance to book a couple of DJs we really wanted came up, but Digital couldn't accommodate us.

"WHQ has a capacity of 650 and it has a homely atmosphere with the friendliest staff in Newcastle.

"Legends is about 900, it has low ceilings and a warehouse vibe, which will make it like Foundation.

"We almost agreed to move there last year and it got to the point where there were contracts ready to be signed.

"The place will be getting a coat of paint and we're getting a new DJ booth built. We're very excited about it."

The 38-year-old adds: "We feel that people had started to take Shindig for granted.

"Because we were always there on Saturday nights, they would pick and choose when they would come along. We hope that the changes we've made will make coming to Shindig more of an event again.

"Packing in was never an option - we've been doing this since 1992 and we enjoy it too much to stop.

"We get on well with Digital's owners and it was an amicable parting, but once we decided to leave we realised the move could give us a new lease of life."

Shindig at WHQ, Carliol Square, Newcastle. Tomorrow, 10.30pm-4am.

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FRESH START - DJ Dennis Ferrer will be at the controls as Shindig moves to WHQ
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 21, 2009
Words:714
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