Mr C Recounts his Top 10 Clubbing Moments
Richard West a.k.a. Mr C has seen it all. As a man who has, since his arrival on the British music scene in 1987, been a DJ, MC, club owner, label don and actor, he’s extremely well-versed in club culture. The co-founder of London’s epic nightclub The End, front man of The Shamen and founder of Superfreq Records is regarded as a pioneer of house music and has played at some of the most hectic parties that London, Europe and the World have ever seen. Now he is headed for the serene surrounds of Wiseman’s Ferry as part of Return To Rio - also set to feature the likes of Yolanda Be Cool, Ten Walls and Lake People, as well as a bunch of Sydney local legends like Simon Caldwell and Klue. Given the opportunity to quiz someone with Mr C’s depth of knowledge and experience of the club scene, BYO thought it might be pertinent to get him to lay down his top ten club moments. So without further ado, here’s the legend himself.
“Having been spinning professionally since 1987 & playing the very best clubs & festivals that the world has to offer, this is one of the toughest top ten lists I’ve ever had to do & finding 10 moments out of thousands is one hell of a task, especially as much of the last 27 years or so are no longer linear but one big blur… But here goes.”
10. Base at the Dungeons in Lea Bridge Road, Summer 1989.
Summer 1989 at the Dungeons in Lea Bridge Road was like an extension of the previous year’s Summer of Love. Fridays were Hypnosis & Saturdays were Base. I was resident at Base & the place was simply crazy. People would come from all over the South East of England to fill the venue with 3000+ people & on one particular Saturday night, it was the week Lil’ Louis’ ‘French Kiss’ was released, I was spinning outside in the courtyard and it was pouring down with rain. I dropped ‘French Kiss’ and the crowd didn’t know what hit them. When the tune slowed down, the crowd was completely confused yet loving every second of it. When the tune speeded back up, the crowd went nuts like they’d had an audio orgasm. The rain pouring down made no difference whatsoever & it was at this point I knew that underground dance music would live forever. All of our minds were blown.
9. The closing of Industry in Toronto. 5-6 August 2000.
Industry was one of the the best clubs Canada had ever seen. I was fortunate enough to play there several times & the owners & resident DJs felt like family to me. I played at the closing party, but it was only by chance. I was to start my North American tour the following week, but as I knew Industry was closing, I went across the pond a week early, especially for that event. Co-owner and resident DJ Matt C opened up for Danny Tenaglia, but there was a huge storm on the east coast meaning all the flights got cancelled from New York. Therefore Danny Tenaglia hired a Limo & set off on the 9 hour road trip. This meant that Danny wouldn’t arrive until at least 6am. Of course I was delighted to fill in when asked by the boys. I played from 3-7am after Matt C. Danny arrived at about 5am but was loving the party so much he didn’t want to go on until 7am, after which he played a simply incredible marathon 12 hour set at this 20 hour party. Epic.
8. Sunday School For Degenerates, The Pawn Shop, Miami Winter Music Conference 2008.
The line up was (in alphabetical order) Adultnapper, Alexi Delano, Argy, Camea, Dixon, Dollz At Play, Guy Gerber, Jamie Jones, Loco Dice, Marco Carola, Mark Ashken, Matt Tolfrey, Matthew Dear, Mistress Barbara, Petre Inspirecsu, Rhadoo & Raresh, Sebo K, Steve Bug and of course myself. The party was in two rooms, one inside & one outside terrace. It started at 6am Sunday morning and finished at midnight. 18 hours of pure underground dance music mayhem. The line up in itself tells you just how sick this party was, but seeing was believing. Absolutely everyone played amazing, the crowd was perfect, no meatheads, only people that really new their stuff and the energy was quite incredible. The party was so good that Luciano insisting joining in with Marco Carola and Loco Dice’s back to back set. I really don’t know if Miami Winter Music Conference can ever be this good again.
7. The closing party of Superfreq at Underground Ibiza, Wednesday 27th September 2006.
2006 was Superfreq’s 4th of 6 seasons at Underground where we did every Wednesday night and to be fair, every week of Superfreq in Ibiza was quite incredible. We really did it right at Superfreq and went against all the rules of Ibiza in every way. It was free admission, there were no flyers or posters, no security, cheap drinks, it was well & truly underground. As always Dollz At Play opened up the proceedings and I closed out the event. Underground usually closed at 6am, but this night went on until 8am and it was incredible. 700 of Ibiza’s most amazing people, promoters, dancers, workers, DJs and real Freqs revelled. The music was incredible from start to finish and the atmosphere was that of pure love & a celebration of life with the only agenda to have maximum fun.
6. One random Saturday night at RIP, Clink Street, London, 2nd Summer of Love 1988.
RIP at Clink Street was the birth place of Rave Culture. It ran from spring until autumn 1988 and to be honest, the whole thing has merged into one single blur. So I can’t really call too many things there a moment, but rather a whole experience that built a culture. There was one night however, I’m not sure which one it was, people were climbing the drainpipes to get in as it was so full. Eddie Richards, Colin Faver and Kid Batchelor were playing in one room, Shock Sound System and I were playing in the other room. It must’ve been about 5am, I’d been playing about an hour, acid house was raining down and it was complete hedonism inside. My good friend Shakespeare got on the mic and said “It’s all about unity, so lets break though the wall into the other room”. With that, the crazy crowd attacked the wall with their bare hands, breaking though. Part of the ceiling came down as a hole the size of a doorway was formed & there was dust everywhere. It’s something I will never forget. Dangerous but brilliantly hilarious.
5. Burning Man, Black Rock City, Nevada, 2010.
This was my first Burning Man experience. I’d had people telling me that I should go since 1994 but due to being an Ibiza regular I didn't have time. However in retrospect, I wish I’d gone sooner. The event is an arts event but more than that, it’s a Human social experiment. It’s not possible to buy anything there apart from a coffee in the centre camp & ice, so people have to take everything that they need for the event, like food, drink etc. etc. People that haven’t been think people barter for things, which is a million miles away from the truth. It’s a giving community where people simply give, without expectation for anything in return. 50,000 people were in costume the whole time as the people are the festival. All DJs play for free and even have to buy their own tickets. I played a couple of events there but playing a three hour 70s and 80s disco set on the Robot Heart after Wolf & Lamb at sunrise was extremely special.
4. The End opening party, 2nd December 1995.
18 months building finally came to an end. The party was called “The Beginning” & was an invitation only event for London’s clubbing elite. The line up was Stacey Pullen, Ron Trent, Chez Damier, Colin Faver, Unique, Layo and myself. Booze was free all night long from 10pm until 7am and London was exposed to a club that would become the blueprint for all modern day clubbing. The sound by Thunderridge was revolutionary. The DJ booths in both rooms were fully equipped and set on concrete to stop any vibration with the booth in the main room right in the middle of the dance floor. The wooden floor was set on hydraulics so that people's legs didn’t hurt at 7am. The lighting was exceptional. The sofas and stools were by Phillip Stark. The staff uniforms were by Daniel Poole. The club had full air conditioning (unheard of in London), the toilets had plenty of cubicles and were attended and kept clean. The drinks were proper. There was a free drinking water fountain and London would never be the same ever again. The rest is history.
3. Yoshitoshi party at Miami Winter Music Conference 2000.
I went to the party with Omid 16B to party & hang out with our friends Deep Dish. The party was a lot of fun, a great crowd and lots of mischief. What made this party so special for me was this is where I first met my gorgeous wife Xochitl. It was half way though the night. I gathered myself & rubbed my eyes as everything was a little blurry and as I looked up, there was the most gorgeous woman I’d ever seen in my life standing right in front of me. She said “Hello Mr.C”. I told her she had the advantage and asked her name. She told me it was Xochitl & I followed her around like a puppy dog for the rest of the night. Better know as Xo Chic from Dollz At Play, this woman is a real talent in music yet even more so in fashion as a fashion forward buyer and owner of Narcissistic Hero online boutique & has been my main influence in music ever since.
2. Headlining the NME stage at Glastonbury Festival 1992 with The Shamen.
Just WOW. The stage was being set up for our performance, our production was mind-blowing. Inflatable Star virus on stage, epic lasers, stunning projections and 70,000+ people clambering to get into the field. The bridge into the field collapsed due to the throng of people desperate to see us live. We came on stage and it was a sea of heads as far as the eye could see, all screaming with anticipation. The performance was perfect, we were extremely high and the universe was working through us as conduits into the next dimension. The crowd were one with us as we went through the songs one by one forming a telepathic community so powerful that I was so blown away in awe of this event that I was speechless for 3 hours afterwards - and I’m a big gob at the best of times. Unreal.
1. The closing of The End, London. 24th & 25th January 2009.
This was by far my favourite clubbing moment ever. All of the individual nights at The End had their own closing parties but the night we closed our doors for good was more than epic. The line up was my good self, Layo & Bushwacka, Laurent Garnier, Erol Alkan, Ben Watt, Jimpster, Rory Phillips and Don Mac. We started at 7pm & had a queue right around the block by the time we opened the doors as there were no advanced tickets whatsoever. We had a silent disco outside for the first 300 people in the queue and served hot tea and drinks for people in the queue. The main room closed at 2pm Sunday afternoon, the lounge at 5pm and finally AKA at midnight on Sunday. For all those that came, it was the ultimate celebration of everything that was sublime about the greatest club the world has ever seen. I cried several times that night, as did many.
Return to Rio kicks off on 14 November for 3 days of epic electronica. Tickets are available via Ticketbooth.