Stiff Kitten in Belfast celebrates its birthday with a top line-up of DJs this Saturday. Patric Baird reports
The Champagne corks will be popping just off the Dublin Road tomorrow night as Belfast's Stiff Kitten club celebrates its second birthday and says a big thank you to all the customers who have supported it over the last two years.
In a relatively short period of time, Stiff Kitten has established itself as one of Northern Ireland's leading club venues and has seen the cream of local, national and international DJ talent playing sets at its various club nights.
Recent highlights include appearances by world-class superstar DJs Carl Cox, Mark Ronson and Yoda, as well as the launch last year of the highly successful Sketchy student night, which sees queues around the block every Thursday night.
Saturday night's fortnightly Islandhopper sessions feature Timmy Stewart and Mark Bell, while local legends Phil Kieran and Alloy Mental make regular appearances, and electronica duo Psycatron hosted the Friday night Zoo club, recently replaced by new club night, Fad.
The rather odd name, Stiff Kitten, has baffled more than a few punters, but the owner Alan Simms chose it as a homage to man-of-the-moment Ian Curtis, lead singer with Joy Division and subject of the recent movie, Control.
Apparently his band went under various names before becoming Joy Division and they appeared at a gig in 1977 under the name The Stiff Kittens - so now you know!
There won't be anything stiff or formal about the entertainment on offer at the party - most of the residents will be out in force to spin a few tunes, including the aforementioned Mr Simms, as well as the Sketchy DJs, Psycatron, the Islandhopper guys, Simon McDermott, John Craig and John McIvor.
Just to put everyone in the party mood, all drinks are priced at £2 and there's a chance to win free entry to all the clubs for a whole year, as well as a bottle of champagne for the lucky winner to celebrate with. Doors open 10pm and admission is £10.
Another club with an equally weird name but, sadly, no explanation this time, is Hu Bu Phonk which takes place this, and every, Thursday in the public bar of The Pavilion on Belfast's Ormeau Road.
You'd be hard pushed to hear a finer selection of solid funk and soul grooves on a weeknight anywhere in Belfast, all courtesy of DJ Damien Volley who'll be spinning the likes of Stevie Wonder, Hamilton Bohannon and Curtis Mayfield.
Unlike the old adage, 'If you can remember the Sixties, you weren't there', anyone kicking around Belfast in the 1970s can remember only too well the grimness of bombs going off and a virtual city-centre curfew after the hours of darkness.
One ray of hope for the beleaguered youth in October 1977 was a proposed appearance by The Clash at the Ulster Hall which was pulled at the very last minute by the City Council, worried that the punk revolution sweeping Britain might corrupt our impressionable teenagers.
By way of celebrating the gig which never happened, and the resulting vibrant punk movement in Northern Ireland which the cancellation allegedly spawned, veteran of the local music scene Terri Hooley has put together Belfast Calling, taking place at Lavery's Attic tomorrow night.
In addition to live performances by the excellent Velma and punk/ska outfit Doghouse, Terri will be manning the decks alongside DJ Tardis, spinning some of the punkiest tunes from those dark days - no doubt in his own, inimitable way.
There are very few DJs who could fill Belfast's Waterfront Hall, but next Wednesday clubbers of just about every variety will be turning out to catch a live performance by one of the biggest dance acts around today, Groove Armada.
The pair, Tom Findlay and Andy Cato, have been responsible for some of the biggest dancefloor smashes of recent times both with remixes for other artists and their own material, including the recent Top 10 hits, Get Down and Song For Mutya.
Sander Van Doorn
The Dutch deck wizard is one of the world's hottest new techno/trance DJs, as well as being one of the most in-demand remixers with his reworking of the Arctic Monkeys' When The Sun Goes Down being one of the year's biggest dancefloor tunes.
Usually found at?
The world's his oyster, going from playing small venues in his native Eindhoven only a couple of years ago, to boasting a diary full of bookings at the world's biggest clubs and festivals.
In addition to numerous remixes and several appearances on Radio 1, he compiled and mixed the Dance Valley compilation, as well as producing a cover-mount CD for Mixmag's February 07 issue, which quickly sold out.
Where can I catch him next?
Lush!, Portrush, tomorrow night alongside resident DJ Col Hamilton.
As evidence of his meteoric rise in the DJ ranks, Sander crashed into the prestigious DJ Mag's 2006 Top 100 as a new entry at No 32, and rose 129 places to No 7 in the Trance Addict DJ Chart.