Channel Islands

Posts Tagged ‘martin sayers’

Havienda August 1, 2008

In bands, electro, havana club, havienda, indie, jersey, music on August 4, 2008 at 3:54 am

Justin the sound technician and Stewart from The Exchange turned up early so we had lots of time to check the drums thoroughly. We knew there would be protestors turning up and those first couple of hours were a little tense not only with first night nerves but because we didn’t know what was going to happen outside. But I wasn’t too worried; there were lots of things to focus on getting right inside the place.

After Dirtytrades had sound checked Pip began his warm up set in room two and people started to appear inside the club. Gary Law arrived and, once everything was done in preparation for the first band’s set, he, Justin and I left the venue briefly. When we returned to the club it was around eight thirty and people were arriving more steadily. I remember thinking oh it’s mostly lads here and worrying that the adverse publicity about the club would be putting off a lot of girls. That would be one of the worst things that could happen. Martin and I agreed that the first band’s start should be put back to around nine thirty to allow them a bigger audience and so I relaxed and had a beer with Gary at the bar in the main room. Mark in the second room was playing some compelling techno and that was sent to both rooms. It made for a good atmosphere and people continued to arrive and many were dancing already. Dave Spars arrived and we had a good chat.

Pip brought my attention to a tune of tightly locked machine funk by local producer Richard Eager studded with shards of enigmatic vocal by … Pip! It’s great to hear the work of Jersey dance producers at local events and I hope this will continue to happen.

Dirtytrades played a set of alarming punk rock, very jagged, loose and anti-anthemic with a kind of joyous tonal freedom, punctuated with acerbic banter. Their music, which I’d not even heard before, was a surprise. They seemed to be adding a pinch of Ornette Coleman to a handful of The Clash. It was at that point in the evening that I knew not only is this club a superb place to see and hear bands but the fans of live and local music had successfully occupied it.

It was near the end of Dirtytrades’ set that I was told there was a large number of protestors outside the club. I’d almost forgotten about the threat of dissent. So I went outside. The J. E. P. later reported about three hundred people had turned up to protest but I saw probably less than a hundred people who may have been protesting and around half that again who were rubbernecking, just standing around or trying to get their gurning faces in front of a TV camera. Despite having my camera with me throughout the night for some reason I didn’t take any pictures on the street. Luckily I found some posted to Facebook. The premises above the sports shop with the wrought iron rails in front of its windows is The Havana Club. At the time these photos were taken Mark Ronez’ stuttering, booming funk could be heard coming from inside the club.

The Exchange played a set of fast punk pop with great melodies. With their rhythm section handling grooves of intense muscularity dominated by David Gaffney’s rich, strident vocals they made a strong impression on what was by then a large, diverse crowd. There is a vein of classic yet quirky pop songwriting being mined by this band and it’s no wonder they are in such demand.

Pip played a signature set of indie rock, rave anthems and beat classics in the main room holding the audience on the dance floor as if under a spell. The back room’s music was changed at around midnight to reflect the tastes of regulars expecting to hear a mix of classic pop and soul and whom the manager felt might be perturbed by our presentation of disorienting, futuristic dance. So Mark joined Pip to fix his brand of cut-up, unstable and deeply funky glitch house in the mix. Together they elevated the atmosphere to the point at which, at two o’clock, the climax of a night of varied and excitingly challenging music was reached.

Thanks for use of photos to Abbie Love, Luc Pallot, Joe Cabral, and Laura Kyle.

The Havana Chub (The Sun probably went with that, did they?)

In havana club, havienda, jersey on August 1, 2008 at 3:34 am

I think Martin Sayers’ remorse is not just for the harm done to his club and his reputation. He does want to put things right for more than reason of commercial damage limitation. He knows he was wrong. I would like to see some forgiveness on the part of those who simply want to continue making the issue a personal one. He is not, and never was, public enemy. I think, also, quite enough damage has been done to a business that others depend on for their livelihoods.

I think Martin would like to see at least some of the peaceful protestors come into the club tonight so he can have the opportunity to show them they are very welcome.

I, too, hope they come into the club to see that a venture in superb music and tolerant policy is being practised. It is and always was going to be.

UPDATE August 2, 2008: I’m not writing any more posts on this subject. At the end of a week in which I was at first furious, then saddened, and finally only bemused and bewildered, I can only suggest using Google Search for Martin Sayers Havana Club for coverage of what became an international news story. For anyone who is wondering what the hell is going on and isn’t this blog supposed to be about promoting a new music scene: I don’t know and yes it is.

It was interesting to see how fast and far it spread but disconcerting to be in the middle of it. For some well considered and informative reporting of the debate see these pieces by blogger Tony:

Fat Night Club Owner Bans Fat Women

Havana Worldwide and Legal Aspects

Jersey Evening Post, July 31st 2008

In advert, havana club, havienda, jersey, press, protest on July 31, 2008 at 12:42 am