I’m fairly sure anyone that has been with me over the years has heard me regularly talk of the Marco Polo Bar. This was the place that I credit much of my success in Birmingham to in my early days. Normally a haven for tired shoppers to take in a drink or Chinese bar snacks during the daytime, and prior to my involvement a regular haunt for the hardcore crew to take in their pre-rave drinks, this unassuming venue was transformed every Sunday morning as the doors opened at 7am for what was to become one of Birmingham’s biggest clubbing meccas.
For many, this was our Paradise Garage, Studio 54 etc etc
Over the years we had many top flight DJs and celebrities pass thru, various TV channels came down to film us. One of the first venues that Steve Lawler had a residency at, alongside Scott Bond and Tony de Vit to name but a few, ask any Midland’s clubber from the mid to late 90’s about Marco Polo’s and they will smile.. I would even go as far as saying some may not have even known it’s name due to the unassuming venue it was, although what went on there could NEVER be forgotten… Sex, Drugs and House Music !
You may often hear me talking about how we were the inspiration for God’s Kitchen and Sundissential, originally predominantly a gay hang out it soon became the ONLY place to be every Sunday morning, with many even staying in at home the night before and raving the day away with us. The doors would shut at 3pm and hundreds of wide eyed clubbers were left without a home until the doors opened again at 7pm.
It was over time that these Sunday evenings were to be MY playground, with me taking over and playing all night, occasionally joined by guest percussionists, musicians or MCs. It was THE only place you could hear quality, soulful vocals mixed up with the emerging UKG sound. When the venue eventually closed (1998), I found a new venue and The Sunday Lockdown was born… but that’s another story for another time !
Previously available via various sources and now finally finding it’s home on my own website, I transport you back to 1995.
Two very different sets, only months apart and both recorded live at the venue.
The first mix, from May, is probably one of my favourite mixes of myself. I’m not sure if it’s because the night itself was so momentous or the tunes within, it just lifts my spirits every time I hear it.
The second mix comes close to being my favourite. It features the vocals of Everton Graham, aka Daddy EV, aka Blenda, who finds the right balance between hyping the crowd and not getting in the way of the music. As this mix progresses you can clearly feel the atmosphere of the night build.
Long live the Marco’s !!
Both mixes recorded live to cassette, my favourite vinyl of the time is now available in podcast format.
Finding out more about the man behind Velocity Press. I ask how & why a physical book still remains important in today’s online world.