Uptight…Everything’s Not All Right

5 01 2010

Hello there and welcome to 2010, a brand new decade where we can start afresh. Goodbye noughties, hello tentacles.

But at the end of the last decade (that is to say, last week) I was given a piece of news that shocked me to the core and quite frankly rendered the whole new year celebration malarkey as irrelevant as Newcastle. A part of me died. No, not that part…

Let me explain. For the past ten years or so me and my friends’ Saturday nights have been dominated by one particular club night. Those of you who studied in Liverpool might think I’m talking about The Blue Angel, or ‘the Raz’, as it is inexplicably nicknamed. Well, you’re wrong. The Raz is a sticky-floored, odd-smelling, random-music-playing shit-tip. That’s my opinion and that’s what counts here. I do after all edit all the comments that arrive here, so don’t even bother. It’s rancid.

Anyway, moving on, there is a place on Duke Street in Liverpool where we’ve been ending our weary trudge through the hip and happening pubs and bars for nigh on a decade. Its glorious mix of 60’s pop, rock’n’roll, girl bands and glam rock has been the soundtrack for my generation – well, my circle of about 7 friends . Saturday nights upstairs at Le Bateau have been some of the best nights of my life. It was Uptight. It was outta sight.

Since returning to the city in the last few years I’ve been able to visit on a more regular basis and even after about 7 years of avoiding it, managed to go DOWNSTAIRS and dance to the new indie music with the hippity of the hipsters. But always did I need to return upstairs to cleanse myself  before going home. It was here, on this dance floor that was once part of a quite a nice boat-themed restaurant, that I heard some of the best tunes ever recorded; songs I would never have heard anywhere else in the cityand that have become  part of the soundtrack of my life.

I’m talking tunes like Al Wilson’s ‘The Snake’ (see the title of this here blog), Edwin Starr’s ’25 Miles’, ‘Peace Frog’ by The Doors, countless other Northern Soul classics like ‘Nothing But a Heartache’ by The Flirtations, wonderful cover versions like Thelma Houston’s ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ and the regular floorfillers from The Supremes, Martha Reeves, The Beatles, Stones and Kinks. I swear I’ve had close to religious experiences on that dance floor – not least because Kronenberg is £1 a bottle.

Now it is no more. Le Bateau’s owners want something else on up there and they’ve ended it – not even a final fling to celebrate the music and the DJ’s who have brought it to us, including Liverpool music-scene veteran Norman ‘The Cat’ Killon (who’s been at the centre of everything good musically to come out of the city for over 40 years). I remember Norman used to put on Northern classics and jump out the DJ booth and do some rather spectacular spinning himself. That boy has the moves! Where else can you go up to the DJ and ask for a version of ‘Purple Haze’ by Johnny Jones and the King Casuals and receive a simple knowing nod of the head? Nowhere, that’s where.

Just look at the fun we had in there...

That dance floor’s seen some of the great and the good of Liverpool’s music scene regularly pay homage to the music gods that have gone before them. Often have I exquisitely completed a textbook left-foot anti-clockwise spin only to be shocked by the sight of a Zuton before me. That’s why I fell over.

We went there for the music. We went there for the good times.

We went there to try to bamboozle women to get off with us using only the power of our dancing.*

Thanks to the DJ’s who’ve made us move: Norman Killon, Paul Smith, Edgar Jones, Steve Farrell, Robin McGinn and James Street – and anyone else who took to the decks.

So here, in a hastily-knocked-up and not very reverential (but good hearted all the same) way, I present a few choice memories of Uptight @ Le Bateau.

Uptight at Le Bateau Mix

(right click and ‘save as’ – it’ll be with you in two shakes of a tailfeather)

It’s not a full history and misses out several classics but I hope it generates a small flicker of the energy that dance floor has shaken out of me in the past.

The mix is 92 mins long so you’d better whack it on one of those ipod thingies and listen to it there. It’s worth the download believe me.

Here’s the tracklist:

25 Miles – Edwin Starr
The Snake – Al Wilson
Under My Thumb – The Rolling Stones
John, I’m Only Dancing – David Bowie
Beggin’ – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Stoned Love – The Supremes
Heatwave – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
Peace Frog – The Doors
Psychotic Reaction – The Count Five
Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
You Keep Me Hangin’ On – The Supremes
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
Just A Little Misunderstanding – The Contours
Nothing But A Heartache – The Flirtations
Needle in a Haystack – The Velvelettes
I Was Made to Love Her – Stevie Wonder
Heaven Must Have Sent You – The Elgins
Tin Soldier – The Small Faces
Paperback Writer – The Beatles
You Really Got Me – The Kinks
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – Thelma Houston
Think – Aretha Franklin
Dance Pt 1 – The Rolling Stones
Rock & Roll – Led Zeppelin
Helter Skelter – The Beatles
Making Time – The Creation
The Night – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion – The Kinks
Touch Me – The Doors
Stay With Me – The Faces

Enjoy… I know I’ll miss it

(*I only realised while writing this that despite several near-things, this only happened once  – and that was my during my last visit to the dance floor. I feel strangely culpable…)




6 responses

6 01 2010
Dave Spowart

100% superb mix… apart from the lack of Good Vibrations (I know, I know… it should have been on MY list).

And thank you for not using the slightly sweatier, rotund picture of you, me and Rob that I’m sure exists from the same night

9 01 2010

a great tribute to uptight there. uptight was a major fixture of the liverpool club scene for a long time (hey, it lasted several years more than cream as a weekly concern).

cards on table, i’m the promoter of liquidation and it was my decision for the change. it wasn’t an easy one by any means. i’m especially frustrated we didn’t have to have a last blow out (blow up?) pre xmas, and it would have been too confusing to have one in january a week before its replacement started.

from now, downstairs will be playing more of the big hitters (kinks, small faces, spencer davis group, aretha, beach boys etc as well as tunes like frankie valli, gloria jones and al wilson from your mix) in addition to the usual; and uptight’s replacement, adult books, is decidedly glam. i don’t expect this to sate the demands of uptight’s dedicated followers, so i will add that it might not be the last you’ll hear from uptight @le bateau this year, altho not as a weekly event.

so please stay in the uptight facebook group, and we’ll make sure you hear about any news there. we may be saying “let’s spend the night together” again in the not too distant future.

9 01 2010
David Easson

Nice of you to get in touch Jules. Glad you liked the tribute. It’s funny you should mention the length of time it lasted because as I was writing the blog I began to realise just how old I was and how long I’d been going to Le Bateau (all part of the mid-life crisis!)
The end of Uptight was never going to be the end of me going to the club because I do enjoy donwstairs, and with the change in music police down there I’ll be able to fit a few spins in from time to time. To be honest I could see the end coming when sometimes upstairs could be very quiet – but oddly the next week it could be rammed. Funny that…
There certainly seems to be a market for some sort of Uptight event in Liverpool – hopefully at le Bateau.
Thanks for reading the blog.

(And Cream was rubbish anyway!)

9 01 2010

cream was indeed very very rubbish

12 01 2010

I agree completely with your praise for Uptight, and dismay at it’s sudden (but hopefully not permanent) exit. My personal regular request – which didn’t make the playlist – was 6×6 by Earl Van Dyke, but I am glad to see that Count Five, The Contours, Gloria Jones, Touch Me by The Doors and Tin Soldier by The Small Faces (well, infact – all of them, really) did . . . And yes, so liberating to be able to ask for the likes of from The Velvelettes and Betty Everett to Led Zep and The Electric Prunes. The wonderful DJs and people that went and just enjoyed the music made it – in my opinion – the best night out you could have in Liverpool on a Saturday night, especially as you said when Norman got on the floor and showed us a thing or too!! I truly hope this isn’t the end!!

Ps I also think The Blue Angel is a sh*thole

7 08 2016

I was just searching the web for some pics of Uptight and came across this great tribute again. For anyone else still reading, it might be worth adding Lee Bateau who promotes Liquidation with me on Facebook. He’ll be announcing an Uptight related event with Scooter Paul in the very near future, and because of everyone’s advancing years, it will be a 7pm til 11pm thing so people can still get the last/magiuc/weed bus home

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