Is this the end of Broad Street?
The superclub is dead
We’ve bid farewell to Electric, and in the past year alone, Risa, Gatecrasher and Rainbow have all had their licences reviewed.
Gone are Electric’s 80p drinks and Risa’s cheese room, but who will actually miss them? It marks the tragic decline of clubbing in Birmingham, the second city. The superclub is dead.
And is it any wonder? Superclubs –– with their labyrinthine layouts, dangerously steady flow of vodka and packed dance floors reminiscent of football mobs –– are the perfect breeding ground for violence.
There’s something about a sweaty, packed, and darkened room which gives even the nicest person the potential to turn into a complete animal. Even if you’re the kind of person who is simply trying to get their disco on, having to be frisked for weapons at a club with a reputation for violence is going to kill your vibe anyway.
In one month alone, two men were shot and one was stabbed in Electric on Hurst Street. In May this year, Risa –– who previously caused a stir with their Ebola-themed party –– had their licence revoked following a violent brawl. In November last year, Risa were forced to introduce weapons checks after a punter had their throat slit with a Stanley knife inside.
It goes on. Slyvester Koroma was murdered outside Rainbow in 2013. Just a few weeks ago, popular haunt Gatecrasher cancelled their contract with their security firm after an incident involving a member of staff left a customer with severe injuries.
Maybe we all just want something a bit more chill.
Broad Street is increasingly try hard. When being mainstream in every other walk of life is deeply untrendy, why do these clubs insist on flying the flag? People are moving to smaller, alternative clubs, derelict warehouses on the outskirts of the city.
Digbeth is thriving because it gives us what we want –– the chance to dance to music we actually want to listen to, instead of ramming Carly Rae Jepsen’s latest musical offering down our throats.
Who didn’t shed a tear when Snobs moved from its little sweaty, sticky home to Hurst Street, where you were more likely to hear whatever’s in the charts rather than your beloved The Smiths? In moving to this territory, Snobs lost what made it so popular in the first place.
UK clubs have been closing at an “alarming rate” over the last 10 years, with club owners blaming the advent of later pub opening hours being one of the factors. But if that’s what the clubs have to offer, I’d rather take the pub any day.
What’s not to love about knocking back a few drinks and having a good old chat with your friends? Being able to actually have a conversation over a pint certainly beats having to mime the act of urinating, to try and signal to your mates you’re popping to the loo. And when you get back from the toilet, your friends are almost guaranteed to be where you left them and not in a taxi, halfway home, leaving you stranded.
The sad fact is even the SU knows how to throw a better night out than Broad Street. Fab has gone from strength to strength, while Broad Street’s empire crumbles down around it. None of us even care: Fab remains our favourite despite all its many shortcomings.
Who knows what the future is for Birmingham’s nightlife. But one thing is for sure, most of us will probably be too busy drinking elsewhere to find out.