Nightclubbing in Oxford

Supermarket

Supermarket’s been running for four years now and is constantly changing hands, so we’re effectively the Sugababes of clubnights. Technically speaking that would put us in the Amelle/Heidi/Jade stage, only minus the history of brutal catfights.

Our whole outlook is governed by an overwhelming desire to re-live the days when Destiny’s Child were a foursome and Now 50 was the best thing you’d ever heard; it’s all about not taking yourself too seriously, downing far too many Woo Woos and forcing your way onto the pole when Salt n’ Pepa tell you to ‘push it’. It’s hard to capture the essence of what we do in a single paragraph – try to imagine the love-child of Snoop Dogg and Madonna, or perhaps a three-way brawl between Lil’ Kim, Artful Dodger and Gwen Stefani. Either way, you’ll find yourself singing along to something you memorised a decade ago, throwing shapes you didn’t know you could and yearning for the time when music videos were full of crappy CGI. Predicting where we’ll end up in the future is tricky, because who knows what the next team will do. Whatever they come up with, though, one thing’s for sure: it’ll still beat queueing for Bridge.

– D.U.

Check out the accompanying Spotify playlist.

 

PinDrop

PinDrop formed as a gig promotions collective in winter 2002. We started out as a monthly night at the Port Mahon. The first Sunday afternoon of every month we’d put on folk, indie, electronica and anything else we liked and felt deserved an audience undistracted by chit chat and mobile phone prattle. I can pinpoint the weekend when I had the idea – I was at the Port Mahon on a Saturday night to see Oxford-based Arabic jazz fusion ensemble Brickwork Lizards and it was ruined by people chatting and being lairy. The next morning I went to a chamber concert at the Holywell Music Rooms and, on leaving the concert, I had the idea for PinDrop.

Since running the night at the Port for two years we’ve developed and expanded on the original idea. Aside from more formal, sit down events we also put on heavier bands in more traditional pub venues as well as gigs somewhere between the two at Modern Art Oxford.

Over the years we have run events with Silver Mt Zion, CocoRosie, Patti Smith, Chad Valley, The Epstein, A Hawk and A Hacksaw, Hauschka, Stornoway and many more. We have also programmed concerts featuring performances of the works of Stockhausen, Ligeti, Pärt, Messiaen, Reich and Glass. Having worked with Brasenose and Christ Church colleges we are keen to continue to work with Oxford University colleges to programme eclectic, artistically engaging concerts all over town.

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Our favourite new bands in Oxford are literate acoustic pop band The Yarns, dreamy droney ambient collective Grudle Bay and Morricone influenced Americana/folk band ToLiesel. We have loads of great gigs coming up in 2012, including a couple of spectacular shows at Modern Art Oxford featuring the legendary Oxfordian dub band Dubwiser and many more. Tune in to our PinDrop Music show on This Is Fake DIY internet radio, every Wednesday at 9pm.

Sebastian Reynolds

Check out the accompanying Spotify playlist.

 

Eclectric

Eclectric isn’t scary: we just play music we like dancing to until we have to go home. Its history is long – we’re seven this term – and surprisingly complicated, but in its current incarnation it dates back to about 2008, when TJ Hertz (now better known to many as Objekt, but who was once an Engineering student at New College) started putting on the likes of Claro Intelecto, Appleblim and Shackleton.

Since then the reins have changed hands with the passing of time and finals, but the mission statement remains the same, and will do for the foreseeable future: to keep bringing Oxford the best and most challenging dance music being produced in the UK, with the odd foreign import chucked in for good measure.

Here’s a measure of our pedigree, for quality and eclecticism: in the past two years we’ve had the likes of Blawan, Kyle Hall, Pangaea, Girl Unit and Pearson Sound to name but a few; coming up in the next few weeks we have the wonkily euphoric Lone, and Objekt himself, returning from Berlin to do his tuff broken techno thing.

These names might not mean that much to you, but that shouldn’t put you off. My favourite part of running Eclectric is discovering things I haven’t heard before, and it happens dozens of times every night. If you think you’re even slightly interested in techno, or house, or dubstep, or grime, it’ll be worth your while checking Eclectric out, promise.

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Chris Edwards

Check out the accompanying Spotify playlist.

 

Broken Hearts Club

There’s nothing else in Oxford like Broken Hearts Club, which hits Baby Love once a month on Friday with a storm of red lights, synths, beats and (if the machine’s working) artificial smoke. The music’s old – eighties, seventies, an occasional dip into the nineties – but this isn’t nostalgia, because we’re too young for that.

This isn’t even about guilty pleasures, although I suppose that depends on your definition of ‘guilty’. Instead, this is an irreverent salute to a misunderstood era when pop and art were still compatible. You’ll hear New Order rubbing shoulders with INXS, The Smiths fraternizing with Jermaine Stewart, and The Cure having a slap-fight with Madonna, plus a shimmering array of androgynous glam thrills from Bowie, Prince, and Duran Duran.

Alright, so there are other places in Oxford you can hear some of the stuff we play – the Park End cheese floor springs to mind – but it’s usually stuck in an uncomfortable three-way with The Vengaboys and Steps. It’s a stark contrast to our unashamedly elitist music policy: we will only play a song if a) we actually think it’s good, and b) it’ll get your feet moving in ways you never thought possible. (So no requests for ‘Eye of the Tiger’, please).

The Oxford Mail call us ‘quite unlike any other night in this city’, and frankly they’re right. We’ll happily deliver dancing, drinking and a crowd who are into both, but we want every night to feel special. Broken Hearts has gone from strength to strength since our beginnings, and now you’ll find the Friday night crowd getting down with what this esteemed newspaper has delicately termed ‘Oxford’s hipster elite’ – and everyone shouting along together to ‘Don’t You Want Me’.

We’re not planning on stopping any time soon, so come down to BHC XVI on Friday of sixth week and show us what you’re made of. We want to have a good time and we’re willing to make you dance for it.

 James Manning, Sophie Salamon & Amy Blakemore

Check out the accompanying Spotify playlist.