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South nightclub: Tim Burgess night

Lynda Moyo joins Tim Burgess in the Boon army antics

Written by . Published on February 15th 2010.

South nightclub: Tim Burgess night

You could say that Manchester has been hungover on hazy memories of the Hacienda, Morrissey, the Gallaghers and the like for too long.

Bouncers are less concerned with asserting authority and more interested in sipping tea and having a friendly chat. It’s the only genuine jewel in the cubic zirconia encrusted crown that is this end of town.

But let’s face it where Mad-chester left, Bland-chester took over. It’s little wonder that we clutch onto the memory and there’s no better place to do that than at South nightclub.

Whilst most of the other rough, ready and real bars stick together in clusters in the Northern Quarter, South is set aside on South King Street and set aside in terms of quality.

It’s easy to spot: it’s the only venue within the immediate area where people queuing outside are dressed for the weather. Bouncers are less concerned with asserting authority and more interested in sipping tea and having a friendly chat. It’s the only genuine jewel in the cubic zirconia encrusted crown that can be this end of town.

Down the steps and into the dark lair basement lies South. It’s only a fiver in and a friend tells me that the cloakroom attendent is easily bribed with a drink on tick to look after your coat. It’s that laid back.

If there were an indie heaven this could be it. Up in the DJ box, through the smoke and red lights, overlooking the dancefloor, stands DJ Clint Boon. He’s regarded as a God among men in that place with the crowd chanting ‘Boon Army’ at every given moment. He even has his own Boon Army signs wrapped around the pillars. It’s clear to see that some folk don’t go to South because it’s South. They go to South because it’s Boon. But you can understand why.

He’s completely in his element and it shows with every record that he plays. As he stands bopping in the box, each tune is delivered with love. Love for music. Love for real music- whatever the era. From the Stone Roses and Joy Division to the Happy Mondays, Oasis, New Order, Candi Staton and the Smiths - he works his way through the wonder years.

Still, he’s not afraid to dip into modern music, picking out tracks for the troops that show that there is still hope for music of today. Florence and the Machine, Dizzee Rascal, Kasabian and Kings of Leon all fit the Boon bill, even if it means searching further afield than Manchester. The varied crowd reflects the different styles and eras of music but fundamentally it’s a place where ear warmer hair cuts and duffle coated Manc lads dominate.

It’s also a place which is respected in the music industry and there are often guest DJ slots and appearances from well-known musicians and celebrities. This Friday saw Tim Burgess of the Charlatans spinning his favourite tracks. Tim was a hit as club-goers queued to chat and take photos, however it was Boon’s takeover that actually got people dancing which goes to show once again whose South this is.

The bar has your usual festival can selection of Strongbow (£3), Carlsberg and Red Stripe (£2) but for those who’ve wandered in from Deansgate, you can still get mixers for £2.90, and even champers for £35 a bottle.

There aren’t many places to sit, but it’s definitely not an all night rave either. It’s a lovable grubby little venue that suits standing rather than sitting. That’s not to say they should bother doing it up - South is the scruffy real deal.

Booooooon Army!

Rating: 17/20
Breakdown: 4/5 value for money
4/5 music selection
9/10 atmosphere
Address: South
4a South King Street
City, M2
0161 831 7756

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5 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Brian JenkinsFebruary 16th 2010.

Keep it to yourself, this is Indie heaven!
I love going here, I'm 45 and don't feel like everyone is looking at me thinking "what's he doing in here, he's past it!" at South.
The music is what matters here and the crowd are here to have a good time and don't have hang ups about how's into what, cos you'll get it all in here, from a 70's Bowie classic through to a Temper Trap album track. And the reviewers right..it's a reet friendly gaff.


iainbeFebruary 16th 2010.

Crowd, sounds, prices and atmosphere great, but sound system also sounds like it dates from about 1980 and more to the point that the speakers have blown. Sort out the sound quality so it doesn't sound like a disco in a toilet!

South ArmyFebruary 16th 2010.

We're on it Iainbe, a spanking new sound system is getting put in very soon! Though the idea of a disco in a toilet sounds kinda fun... xx

BentleyFebruary 16th 2010.

This is a great place to bring the kids on a Saturday evening. I usually flop out here after a hard day's shop on King Street and just soak up the vibes. If you've been in a coma for the last 32 years and want to quickly catch up on what's hot in 2010 you could do a lot worse than visit South. They don't play any of that limp-wristed, effeminate, underground tat here neither. Unlike at th' S&G and Saki, South's "sound (our kid) system" pumps out a full English breakfast of tunes - this is the type of 'indie' that you'd expect Doncaster bin-men to listen to whilst doing their rounds. Get in. That coma sounds quite attractive now, doesn't it?

Hammy666February 17th 2010.

There used to be a disco in the toilets in a club in ~Ibiza. Was a bit smelly

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