As many will have heard, The Garage night club in Leeds has unfortunately had to turn off it’s engine and wind up it’s windows as the tenancy has come to end and is not able to continue. I decided to take this opportunity to reminisce on the clubs relatively short, but prosperous life.
The first time I stepped inside was nothing short of an adventure. The walk through to the main room involved stepping into a kitchen still furnished with sinks and a dumb waiter, and the candlelit corridor entrance gave it the raw underground feel it was reckoned with. It was an early morning afters the first time I partied there and straight away it felt like it belonged, and in the next few months it developed into one of Leeds’ most in demand night spots.
As attention built around the venue the owners Steve, Tristan and Frenchy expanded into opening a record shop dedicated to underground electronic sounds, which quickly escalated in to being my favourite place to be pre-weekend, to look for new wax whilst having a sip on a drink or two. Waxwerks, which doubled as the second room of the club was somewhere I often visited to see DJ’s who came down regularly when in the city to play exclusive in-store sets which was a feature that no other bar or venue could boast anywhere in the city. With guests such as Apollonia, Jeremy Underground Paris, Brawther and many more playing to packed out rooms at 4pm whilst I could have a gander around the shelves of hot new imports, it really was a destination the city could be proud of.
At the forefront of The Garage’s features which again was unique in itself, is the front end of a vintage Chevy firetruck which was used as the DJ booth. When this was added it became the talk of the town within a week and everyone had to see it. One thing I always enjoyed was watching the faces of people who had never been before when they rounded the corner into the main room and saw it standing there. Eyes would open and jaws would drop. I always chose to stand right in front of the bonnet as witnessing people such as Derrick Carter and Matthais Tanzmann playing in such an intimate area was a special experience indeed.
As well as the venue itself, the promoters who chose The Garage as the place to hold their parties were forces which made it’s reputation one that is known all around the UK. I saw some great and crazy things whilst I was there. It wasn’t uncommon to see people dancing on the Chevy’s bonnet, limbo competitions, crowd surfing, and once even a conga that went round the whole club. Around a year after opening it was chosen as DJ Mag’s ‘Best Small Club’ in the UK and this only kept things going just as strong. Parties like Back to Basics, Nest, Beatstreet, Set One Twenty and Lowbrow held residencies, as well as some one off events, it really did seem like it was going to last a generation.
However, despite the fact that many are disappointed with it’s closure this doesn’t change the fact that the guys behind it’s success are still just as determined to let The Garage’s name live on and keep providing the means to throw amazing parties. As they say, when one door closes another opens, and I’m excited to find out what they have in store for us once more!
The people behind The Garage (which was voted DJ Mag’s Best Small Club in 2012) are already looking for a new venue and have in fact found one. They hope to be up and running by Christmas, taking with them the best bits from The Garage whilst adding a few things they had already decided were essential.
All promotions have said they will stay with the club, including Back To Basics, Beatstreet, Bigger Than Barry, Set One Twenty and Nest.