Feature: Ska ‘n’ B (Cambridge)

by Modculture 6 March, 2011

Ska 'n' B

Ska 'n' B

Jon Godden talks us through the soul and ska night in Cambridge.

1. When and why did you set up the club?

The Alley Club itself had been going for a few years doing a night during the week but nothing regular on a Saturday. There was Restless Bluecat but after that clubs demise there was nothing in the Cambridge & Peterborough area for us local mods and skinheads to go to apart from a the usual Northern Soul night so we decide to take the bull by the horns and finally set up Ska’n’B (the name credit has got to go to Craig Simpson!)

2. Who are you DJs? Do you have guest DJs coming in too? If so, anyone we might know?

Our resident DJs are Sawty (Paul Sawtell), Revnix (Alex Nix), Big Jon (me!) and Okeh Kev (Kevin Seabright). We also have regular guests, In the past we have had Lee Miller, Alice Fowkes, Jim Cox, Phil Bush and Craig Simpson.

3. What kind of musical territory do you cover?

We cover Ska, Soul, Reggae and Rhythm & Blues. You also will hear Jazz and Latin as well so we try to cater all tastes.

4. Give us an idea of a few tracks you might hear if you dropped in?

Freddy Butler – Pitter Patter
Gospel Pearls – Two Little Fishes
The Skatalites – Trip to Mars
Buster Allstars – Cincinnati kid
Jimmy Norman – I`m Leaving (this old town)
The Symphonics – No more
Ansell Collins- Bigger Boss
Dizzy & Soul Syndicate – Riot

5. What do you think you offer that other clubs might not?

A lot of clubs say across the board music and don`t live up to that policy – we make a conscious effort to do so.

6. Your current venue – how long and have you been there and how does it work for the club?

We have been at our current venue the BRB Bar now for over a year. It’s not big but not too small, holds about 130 easy! A lot of the punters love the atmosphere of this basement bar as for the venue they are very enthusiastic as we do bring a lot of people in and they tend to drink quite a bit.

7. And how many people do you tend to attract for each night? Do you think anything might put people off coming along?

We have an average of around 70 paying punters, the only thing that might put people off coming along is the heat! The lack of air conditioning down there can put people but others thrive on it! They have been known to say it adds to the atmosphere.

8. What’s your view on the current state of mod/soul nights?

My personal view, I think now you have to broaden the music policy to include all types. If we did a pure Soul and RnB night in Cambridge we would not even get half of the numbers we get now. Ska and Reggae is great dance music and it appeals to most of the club going public and then you can introduce them to the other types of music. We do have quite few non-scene people regularly turning up to the night now. There is no dress policy the only policy we do have is no idiot policy, we charge £5 to come in and that usually puts them off anyway!

9. What’s the best and worst thing that’s happened with the club?

Best was finding the BRB Bar at short notice, the worst was being double booked and we only found out 2 days before.

10. Finally, we need the lowdown on the club – listing details, how often, how to get in touch, that kind of thing.

Alley Club is on Facebook, so get details there. We try to do a night every 2 to 3 months as a guide and you can also ring me on 07748931357 for details on the next one.