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  • Joe Johnson

The 90's: The Decade That Never Ended

The 90’s was a packed filled decade with an abundance of venues, events, bands, DJs/producers and plenty of experimentation. We can only sit and dream of what actually went on in the four walls of some of the legendary venues like The Hacienda, The Warehouse, Diehard/ Dielectric Club, The Que Club and the illegal raves that occurred up and down the country. In this article you'll find out a little bit more about the venues, DJs and events that happened in the 90s.


New Order, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, 808 State are 5 of the biggest contributors to the creation of the cultural and musical phenomenon that was Madchester, starting in the late 1980s and really hitting ground in the early 90s, Madchester took venues in the Manchester area by storm with a variety of different genres to entice all sorts of different cultural groups from in and around Manchester, The Hacienda stood at the very centre as a musical mecca for all that wanted to dance to their hearts content...and also take a lot of drugs while doing so, while The Hacienda put on some amazing DJs and bands it was losing a lot of money nearly every night due to the fact that the people inside were on drugs and weren't interested in drinking when they could grab a couple pills for the price of 3 or 4 beers, if you didn’t manage to get in then there was still Piccadilly 21s, a 90s paradise for partying, expect 3 things if you were to enter this venue: loud music( ear blistering), very messy, and a lot of cheap drinks to keep you going if you weren't on any drugs( or if the bouncers took it off of you as they usually did so you'd have to buy a pint of their watered down beer), the venue shut down in 2004 due to be it being extremely rough and you would almost always leave with some sort of bruise or possibly no wallet.

Illegal Raves

If you were asked the question “I'm off to a rave in Leeds tonight if you wanna go?” you would immediately say yes would you not? In the 90s this was a repeating occurrence, if you weren't in town you were in an abandoned warehouse or a random forest on the outskirts with your mates watching a DJ you’ve never heard of playing the best in Acid and variations of house and breakbeat, starting in the late 1980s in San Francisco and L.A and helped by the emerging European hard house and techno scene , raving became a paradise for the disenfranchised youth and the rebellious teens of the late 20th century, spreading through to the UK very quickly, police condemned high capacity raves and were cracking down on any and all raves in the north and south of England, organisers had to get more creative and really hold the mantra of do or die, Fantazia was the biggest of all the organisers, holding some of the most immense events you could ever dream of going to in Donnington Park,(One Step Beyond, 25/6/92, Capacity 28,000 people), Matchams Park Stadium, Bournemouth (Summertime 15/4/92 16,00 people) and by 1993 Fantazia hosted club night tours across the UK, this started a stream of illegal raves around Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield , London

and smaller more rural parts of the country that has paved the ways for a lot of successful club nights, festivals, DJs and producers.

Hardcore and Acid/Acid House

A lot of the raves that were going on played either a variation of hardcore, happy hardcore, gabba or acid and acid house, the hardcore side was a more brutal sound with a lot more of a four to the floor power action that would rattle any speaker system and shake anyone's spinal column to an amorphous vibrating jelly, it was the harder side of the rave scene with a big conductor being downers, Valium, oxycodone, methamphetamine and heroine, these drugs pumped their way through the mouths, noses and arms of the hardcore scene, inciting a “spin the wheel” mentality where anything could happen as a lot of the drugs being sold were mixed with some other drug you’d never heard of, the music would be around 130-180 BPM sometimes exceeding 180-200 BPM, if you’ve seen videos of young adults at raves in the 90s on YouTube you know how they dance, the flaying of the arms and legs in an almost inflatable tube man sort of way, animalistic, vibrant and sometimes a little bit dark, hardcore really grabbed the ears of the 90s, played by DJs/bands such as The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, DJ Shadow, Crystal Method, Orbital and so many more, over on the acid/acid house side it was mainly for people to really express their happiness, love of music and nightlife taking a concoction of cocaine, uppers, ecstasy, pills and ketamine, with BPMs of 80 to 140 it’s the type of music anyone could listen to and enjoy and really feel at one with the people in the same room/venue as you, the dancefloors anthems were created by Innercity, Maurice, Frankie Knuckles, 808 State, Mr Matey, New Order and variety of other producers took inspiration from acid to create their own styles and vibe that would reverberate across many generations to create many more sub genres that we hear today.

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