What We Did When The French Dude Came To Brighton

Weekly Fridays at The Smugglers in Brighton 9pm-1am on Ship Street

On Friday 12th November 2010 Brighton saw by all "first hand" accounts the triumphant return of dance musics favorite Frenchman, namely one Monsieur Garnier who alongside the residents from one of Brighton's longest running techno/house/electro club nights Stompafunk combined for an all nighter of four to the floor heaven down at longstanding venue The Concorde 2 on Marine Parade

However, across town in a venue not usually associated with dance music something very different was beginning to stir as a healthy gathering of Brighton's Groove Based DJs began getting to work on establishing a regular weekly Friday session in the middle of one of the cities worst ever periods for crowd engagement and turnout

The venue in question being used for this somewhat ambitious yet much needed weekly outlet is called The Smugglers which up until the inception of this event was known more for it's somewhat commercially focused music policy than for being a potentially regular Friday night location where one could find a decent sound track of disco and underground house being played on a regular basis

The roll call of those involved  nicely covers the majority of those playing out regularly each weekend in Brighton and reads as follows - Richard Dugdale, Andy Greaves, Richard Harmer, Tim Rivers, Rob Fahey, Jeff Daniels with Affy and Myself all essembled by Paul Budd who heads up this collective under the name of the night "Bust It"

So, my thoughts?

Well I have to be honest with this one as I steer clear of trying to talk up a night that I'm personally involved with no matter how much I want to see it take off locally or how much it is needed

To start on a negative, the venue historically doesn't feature that highly for those into their music as it's primary use up until now has been as a sports bar where you could watch a fight or a match to the sounds of commercial house and electro most weekends

The size of the venue is not what you would call small either so building up an atmosphere easily with a handful of dedicated people isn't an option this time round like we've witnessed at The Globe or in the early days of Maxxi Sound System at Life and The Funky Buddha

Personally I feel it will take not only the djs involved to build the night but also the people of Brighton this time to get behind the whole operation if it is to weather the recession and general malaise regarding nights that happen say outside of The Globe or The Fishbowl which historically have been safe bets for both music and atmosphere in the city centre

Support at grass roots is key as to avoid the same fate as say Maxxi Sounds at The Funky Buddha which last summer provided so much promise early on yet not enough support week in and week out to maintain itself in Brighton as a regular weekend concern no matter how much the venue management, promoters and resident djs wanted it to happen

Of course the music on offer last Friday was of the highest order with a healthy selection of sub 120 bpm house and disco (including edits) dictating the new and somewhat laid back vibe that the inital gathering of djs conjured up in preparation for the coming weeks ahead

Now, this is all very well and good but in Brighton any music of this nature played in a local bar setting has historically come up against noise restrictions which in this particular case couldn't be futher from the truth

The sound system if you stand in the middle of The Smugglers actually rivals that of any club system in Brighton for sheer clarity when feeling and hearing the bass that eminates up from the floor, this being the main reason why the night was set up by Paul Budd and one of the main attractions for the djs involved

Who ever has installed this rig is in need of a big slap on the back and I for one will definitely sing it's praises for a very long time to come as very rarely you get to hear the dance music on offer here through a quality PA in Brighton supplied by a commercial venue

The overall vibe on Friday in the bar is at present very low key and laid back, something of a departure from the image that was associated with The Smugglers within Brighton

There's a handy social space at the rear of the venue dedicated to those wishing to play some pool which acts as a nice hangout and meeting point away from the bar
So that's about it for now, inital signs are good, strong music policy, clear and loud soundsystem plus a collective from Brighton working together once again on a common cause

I couldn't say at this stage how long the night will run for as that now is firmly in the hands of the locals and their willingness to support the scene

I would imagine as the music on offer isn't geared at a bespoke younger crowd the likes of The Source or XYZ Magazines will tend not to bother with anything their core readerships might not be able to associate themselves with thus keeping Friday nights off the general radar in Brighton like most of the disco and underground house orientated nights currently in operation

However if supported at The Smugglers as much as say The Globe then maybe with a few new additions finding their way along to Friday nights we all may just stand a chance of keeping our music scene from being completely dj lead through these testing times

I for one can't wait to play at Bust It again and hang out with some great mates and fellow music fans


  1. It was a great night, the fact that is is an earlier session, post work, pre-club or just a nice one for those wanting to do a bit more on a Saturday then nurse a hangover is a strong point -It's not a late one, its all over by 1am.

    The music was really good top marks to all that played, personally loved playing pool (and winning) and hanging out with everyone. Overall the common thread was how much people liked the venue. Lot's of unprompted comments and compliments about the venue and the atmosphere, which I can only agree with. It's a great space, nice and comfortable. I see it becoming a Friday night meet up or destination for those in the know.

  2. its 50p cheaper for a pint of Guiness than The Globe ... so it gets my vote ;)