Jive's indie club night Gosh! turns twelve this weekend and DJ Craig aka Craig Flanigan spills the beans on how he has kept the the good times and great tunes spinning for over a decade.
What is Gosh!?
Gosh! is an indie club night run by locals who love music. Gosh! isn’t sponsored by anyone, not tied to a record label, and doesn’t have pokies revenue to help financially, so it may not look overly fancy, and may not be able to afford to advertise much, and certainly can’t offer hundreds of dollars worth of drink vouchers for your birthday or afford to pay ‘guest DJs’ from touring bands, but it is a place where music is at the centre of what we do. It all started when I wanted a place that played music that I enjoyed, indie music, and at the time there was nowhere. Even today there are only a couple of places that play indie music on a regular basis.
This weekend marks twelve years of Gosh! at Jive, what have been some of the most memorable nights?
Every night is special, but the best ones for me personally are the ones where I see friends having a great time to the music I play. Crowds change over the years as people leave for interstate or overseas, people get married and/or have children, or just get to different point in their lives that they no longer see going out and partying until the wee hours as a priority. When regulars stop coming I must say I do get a little sentimental as you kind of get attached to your regulars, even if you have never actually spoken outside of a shouted request or two.
Has there been any noticeable changes within the indie genre over the years?
The music has changed but it’s only been in the last few years that indie has been swamped with electro/dance crossover, which I try to avoid playing at Gosh! I like to keep to guitar based indie-pop. One thing that has really impressed me though has been the rise in quality Australian acts in the last few years. As much as I curse Triple J for their move towards being dominated by electro and hip-hop, they do a great service to local acts to bring them into mainstream consciousness. Bands like Ball Park Music, San Cisco, Jungle Giants, Tame Impala, Alpine, Vance Joy, Cloud Control, Children Collide, Deep Sea Arcade, Boy and Bear, are all Gosh! favourites. Indie music needs a good kick in the butt and needs a band to really stand out and cross over to the mainstream like the Strokes did in 2001, Bloc Party with Silent Alarm, and the Arctic Monkeys first album. Too many are taking the easy way out by trying to sound marketable and instead end up sounding the same as everyone else. The last Kooks album is a classic example, great group who had a sound that fans loved, but a terrible change in direction trying to appeal to the urban sound. It’s like me trying to play a hip-hop night, there is no way I could do it justice and would just end up sounding like I was trying too hard.
Has that had any effect on the way you approach your club night?
I am playing more Australian music than I used to as the quality of local music rises. I am also avoiding electro and hip-hop, despite them being Triple J staples now. If you asked me what Gosh! played about 10 years ago I would say listen to Triple J and that is close to what I play, today I would say listen to Triple J and I play 20% of what they play.
Why do you thing Gosh! Has continued to be one of Adelaide’s favourite indie nights?
The keys to the success of Gosh! I feel are;
Jive as a venue has such a huge dancefloor, the sound is one of the best in Adelaide, the bar is well stocked and the video screen allows me to play cult movies if you aren’t into the dancing. Very few venues have room to dance, and okay when we are busy it can get a bit tight, but it’s never claustrophobic like many other venues. Jive also has friendly staff and hopefully a nice Dj too; it’s not pretentious.
Gosh! is primarily a place to dance and have fun to music you won’t hear at other venues on a Saturday night. I also try to keep it unburdened by the latest Triple J fad. This isn’t a place for hipsters, it’s a place for everyone who likes the music to dance and have fun. I play music I enjoy, and sometimes I can get a bit stubborn about what I play and don’t play, but overall it has lasted 12 years right! I do get the odd person asking for music I won’t play, and they look stunned when I tell them I don’t play what they are asking for, probably because they hear it everywhere else, and that’s the point. It’s a sanctuary away from the usual mix of music played at clubs.
When I play my music I make sure it flows to keep the dancing happening, but at the same time I don’t feel the need to mix too much (unless I get bored) as I feel people like to listen to the whole song if they love it. It would be like keeping only the smile of the Mona Lisa because you don’t like the rest of it by cutting off songs too early.
Any local bands that have been spin-worthy?
No comment ;)
Any that you have caught live of late that we ought to check out?
The Sons of Mod, a band that encapsulates the true R&B sound of the 60s with original tunes. They will feature at our sister night DiG in June for a big night of 60s partying.
A hot topic for you in recent times has been the lock-out laws. How do you think this has had an effect on Adelaide nightlife?
I could be here for hours! The lockout laws combined with the massive increase in licensing fees a couple of years ago and the explosion in new licences have brought down a tsunami of hardship to existing venues. Gosh! closes over the Fringe out of necessity as temporary venues take the lion’s share of trade over what should be the busiest period for traders. Lock out laws mean clubs can’t replace patrons that leave after 3am, but more importantly it means patrons leave well before 3am to go to other venues that open later. Jive has spent a lot of money complying with the somewhat OTT requirements to stay open after 3am just so we don’t lose so many people at 2.30. So yes, Gosh! now stays open until 4am most nights, like we used to before lockouts. Heck it’s almost like someone wants the club scene in the CBD to fold so they can build apartments developments instead.
Any suggestions for keeping our nightlife and live music scene progressing?
There is a lot of talk about vibrancy in our city, but little being done to encourage it. I love the revitalisation of Peel and Leigh Street, and it’s great to see so many new, and importantly local, entrepreneurs having a go. Some of the bars look fantastic, but what worries me is that very few contribute in the sense of providing more than just fancy drinking holes. There is a need for that, but not at the expense of live music and places where one can dance to music one enjoys. I will get into a lot of trouble for saying this, but I think we have too many small bars for a population that is ageing and relatively static. Melbourne grew 9x faster than Adelaide in terms of population at the last census, and much of the growth was in the younger age groups (most readers will know others that have moved to Melbourne in their 20s), so it can absorb new nightlife venues much better then we can. Small bars are a part of the solution, but when they grow so rapidly, and combined with the before mentioned licence fee increases and lockout laws we are looking at Armageddon for clubs. The Stag, Dog and Duck and Col Light (with Sugar and the Duke also up for sale) are just the tip of the iceberg. Support your local venue by getting there earlier and inviting your friends to your favourite place to dance and we can keep the live music/alternative music venues alive. Pretty much just get out of the house.
You know how to get a packed room dancing, but what music gets you moving?
I personally love many types of music. Pop into the Austral on a Wednesday night I play music that I love from the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and everything from soul to jazz, swing to blues/proper R&B, doo-wop to psych-pop. I guess my music taste is centred around a retro feel, and that goes for indie as well. Listen to The Black Keys, White Stripes, Strokes, early Arctic Monkeys etc. and they all have a sound sourced in some way by the 50s and 60s or 70s. Indie bands I listen to a lot in private include The Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Keys, Belle and Sebastian, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, Stone Roses and plenty more. Some of my favourite indie artists I don’t play at Gosh! because they would kill the dancefloor, but I love them just the same.
Lastly, what can we expect to come from Gosh! in the coming years?
Hopefully more of the same, but with the state of the club industry at the moment it will be a hard battle to be here in another 12 years but one can only hope. I will keep going until the indie scene dies or I get bored, whichever happens first. I feel privileged to be able to make a living playing music, particularly music that I love which is a very rare thing in the world of deejaying, and believe I don’t take it for granted. Keep the faith indie fans, and support the venues that support your chosen musical tastes and venues like Jive will be there to support you.