Getting to Manchester during the daytime is no pleasure, especially when you get log jammed in traffic due to Stockport Carnival! But a trip that had to be done. The final Hideaway Club session just could not be missed. Having admired the club from afar for so long and the club having helped direct and shape some of the core Mod music played around the country for the last 15 plus years this was a definite 'Not to be missed' occasion.
Arrived in time to catch the last couple of hours of the free afternoon at the Old Nags head pub in centre of Manchester, home of the legendary Hideaway Club. Greeted by the sight of several scooters parked outside on the walk down Lloyd Street and soon you could hear the sweet R'n'B sounds drifting out of the open upstairs windows.
Once in side and upstairs, a mixed relaxed crowd were enjoying the free afternoon, a few great vintage stalls (some gorgeous John Smedleys for sale) in the back room and some great tunes being spun. In fact at some points the dance floor was pretty full. With the likes of Tarheel Slim - Wildcat Tamer and Jimmy McCracklin - Get Tough being played there were plenty of happy faces and tapping feet as well as dancers.
The evening started about 9pm and on arrival at about 9.30 people were just arriving in numbers. Again a fairly mixed crowd into the music but plenty of sharp suits and classy ladies.
The next 5 and a half hours were magical. The music played by Neil Henderson, Mike Warburton, Bill Kealy, John Godden and others was outstanding, obviously those that enjoy their New Breed R&B and original mod era club sounds (like me!) were in heaven. John Lee Hooker, Howlin Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Slim Harpo etc, etc... This was pure unwatered down 'get up and go' gritty R'n'B from start to almost finish.
People (Rachelle Piper et al) were still arriving at 11pm and by midnight the upstairs front room was a cauldron of people, dancing and steaming hot tunes.
By 1.30am the crowd was beginning to thin. Which just left more room on the dance floor for everyone else! At 2.30am a few hideaway favourites were spun and as they are all now Mod classics the dance floor was heaving right up to the end at 3am. Hot, sweaty, exhausted goodbyes were said as the final track 'It Keeps Rainin' Apt words.. It keeps rainin.. since you gone all I do is cry.. Left me reeling and rocking..
I sincerely hope this IS NOT the last we hear of the Hideaway Club and the wonderful people behind it. But if it is the final, final Hideaway Club night.. this weekend was a most suitable send off.
Thank you for a night never to be forgotten.