The Go Go Children date at Fiddlers Club, Bristol, would be my first experience of a dedicated Northern Soul night, something I’d waited for for more than a decade.
To the uninitiated, a Northern Soul night often involves a few key ingredients:
- Dancing all night
- Up-tempo music of black origin
- Mod fashion; Fred Perry polo shirts, floaty dark trousers, smart shoes
- Specific dance moves, such as spins and ‘shuffling’.
- Dimly-lit dance halls
- People who are really passionate about music
Bristol seems to be a hotbed of music with something for everyone every night of the week. Fiddlers Club is one of many venues in the city and it is where my friend and I ventured for this particular soul night. It was a prison in the 18th century and it had a case of being more beautiful on the inside than out, but it didn’t matter!
The building looked like a big black box and we couldn’t find our way in. But we could hear what, even from round a corner, sounded like great music, which only added to our anticipation.
I asked a couple of men where the entry was and it was an inconspicuous fire escape-like industrial door.
Then we were in. The beautiful music we had heard outside finally found us and wrapped us in its warm embrace – I felt dazed and giddy – and we walked through double doors in to the bar/seating area. I was welcome straight away. There were groups of people milling about, mates talking at the half circle bar and a couple of large groups of friends sat saving their energy before the night really kicked off.
Like Marvin Gaye sings in Got To Give It Up, I stood around on the edge of the dance floor, with drink in hand; an unsure hatchling on a cliff edge wanting to open his wings.
So I watched as apparently experienced, more confident ‘soulies’ warmed and talcd the dancefloor. I was fascinated seeing and trying to memorise the moves dancers were making; everyone had a different style.
It took one of my favourite ever songs, Suspicion by The Originals, to push me to the point I couldn’t stand back any longer and I just had to dance or I’d regret it!
I barely stopped ‘dancing’ after that, trying out the shuffle I’d seen online, which still needs a *little* work… And I didn’t feel embarrassed or out of place. No-one gave me strange looks, everyone was having a great time.
As the witching hour arrived, the dancing hit another gear and we were lost in music.
There were a few movers who caught my eye. One short-haired, petite blonde woman’s feet moved hypnotically. I tried and failed to work out what she was doing, she was clearly familiar to the dancefloor and it was a joy to watch.
My introduction to soul nights wasn’t an all-nighter and around 1.30am people started to head home. I’m pleased to say I stayed until the very last song at 2am.
Go Go Children was great fun and I’d recommend it to anyone around the South West and South Wales who likes music and/or dancing.
Now it’s time I went and learned some new moves for the next night!