This Thursday at the Magnet, Gold In The Shade is celebrating its fifth birthday in good style, with a headline set from legendary musician Roy Ayers. Noel Bent, the night’s lead promoter, explains the ethos behind Gold In The Shade:
“It started with four of us putting the nights on together. It’s always been kind of funk, soul, jazz, and it’s just kind of grown. I think it just got to the point where using just kind of local DJs and bands, it just got kind of stale, so I think that’s when we tried to introduce a few more high-profile sort of people. But still sort of putting on the local talent, because they just kind of complement each other.”
He reveals that Gold In The Shade was founded largely to plug what its organisers saw as a great lack in the city’s music scene. “I’m just a soul boy through and through,” says Bent, “and living in Leeds, living in Huddersfield, there’s loads of venues that push that, and I think Liverpool, I’ve been here five or six years, and I think Magnet’s the only place that really pushes that sort of vibe in this area. I’ve always tried to push that, and just keep true to my soul roots. And it’s been a hard slog!”
Following Ayers’ set on Thursday, the party at Magnet will continue with Noel’s other event, Downstairs Disco, taking over. DD has been one of a few nights in Liverpool recently that have given the much-maligned genre a second look.
“You mention disco to a lot of people,” says Noel, “and they think, ‘oh, it will be all Flares’. But when I think of disco I’m thinking of a lot of rare groove stuff, and the whole kind of Manhattan deep, dirty basement clubs you know. And that’s what disco was about really.”
Despite the continued success of Gold In The Shade, Bent reveals there’s a chance he might quit while he’s ahead.
“It’s been five years,” he says, “five good years. And I think I’m at the point were I’d quite happily finish it this year. There’s only so long you can take something you know? Everything we’ve got coming up is tied up with something else. There’s the Tate, that’s coming up now, we’re doing their twentieth birthday party, and I think things like that are the only way I will probably do Gold In The Shade after this summer.”
Though, if he could get his ideal line up, Noel admits he might be convinced to continue: “If I could get to put on Chaka Chan, Chic, and probably Gill Scott. If I ever get to put them three on that would be the peak you know? Yeah, I’d carry on for that.”
By Kenn Taylor