The History Of The Gallery Leeds

File:Gallery night club leeds.JPG – Wikimedia Commons.

120px-Gallery_night_club_leeds

LEEDS GALLERY NIGHT CLUB HISTORY As far as I know, there are no books that give any history of the club. There are a few publications that featured it, like the Evening post, and Mixmag. There’s also a book called ‘what kind of house party is this’ that had a small mention of it. Here is avery generalised history of the Leeds Gallery Nightclub. It opened it’s doors in 1984 as a restaurant called ‘Coconut grove’ and nightclub called ‘Ricky’s’, owned by Leeds club and restaurant entrepreneur Derek Deegan. The Restarant was quite successful and also hosted a Jazz night upstairs which featured some of the Jazz greats like George Melly, Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball. The resident DJ was ‘Steve Luigi’ who had worked for Derek Deegan at ‘Casablanca’ prior to the opening of ‘Ricky’s’. Within a couple of years the restaurant and club was taken over by ‘Salvo’ of salvo’s restaurant in Headingley, Leeds. After a while it was obvious that the club part was going to be the way forward, and ‘Salvo’ sold the whole venue on to an ex Wakefield DJ, Paul Lamont. Who renamed the venue ‘The Gallery’ The name reflected the display of paintings around the balcony walls. Paul began his reign as owner with a Soul and R&B music night there on Saturdays; this was a huge success boasting over 1000 punters every Saturday night. This night ran for about 3 years until House music showed its face. Paul had been frequenting a few of the Rave venues around the country, and decided that that was what he wanted the Gallery to play. So in 1991 Paul told the resident DJ ‘Steve Luigi’ that that was what he wanted, and that the DJ had to start playing it if he wanted a job there. Steve had his work cut out as he was well known as a Soul DJ. But within a week, Saturday nights had changed from a Soul night to a Rave night. Steve Luigi remained resident DJ there until the club closed it’s doors in 1994. The Gallery played host to some of the finest DJ’s in the UK. DJ’s like Nipper , DJ Vertigo , DJ Sy , Carl Cox and Pete Tong to name but a few. The downstairs club ‘Ricky’s’ helped to kick start the careers of such household names as ‘Sasha’ and ‘Nightmares on wax’. While the upstairs part ‘The Gallery’ launched the careers of such names as ‘Utah Saints’& Tony Walker, Other DJ careers that were launched from the club were ‘Richard Simpson, Russ Richardson , Dean White & Carl Whitehead . Many famous bands from that era appeared there too including Altern8 , Flipped out , New Atlantic , Dream frequency, Love Decade, Doop many more. In 1992, 1 year after becoming a rave club, The Leeds Gallery’ was voted the second best rave venue in Europe by international music magazine ‘Mixmag’, second only to the world famous ‘Hacienda’ in Manchester. From then on the club was visited by clubbers from all over the world including India, USA, Japan and Australia. If people couldn’t get in the Hacienda for whatever reason, they would travel down the motorway to the Gallery as they knew that they were guaranteed a good night. The club also had celebrity guests such as Eric Cantona when he played for Leeds united, Gary Kemp of pop band ‘Spandau ballet’ & Vic Reeves (comedian). Unfortunately and very suddenly Paul Lamont passed on, and the club was handed down to Pauls Brother Chris. Chris didn’t really have the flair for running a night club and the club was soon experiencing financial difficulties. Eventually the Saturday nights were the only night that was keeping the club going. Dave Beer and Peter Riley came on the scene and offered them financial help on the proviso that they had the run of the club. It was then decided change the nights completely and that there was no room for the Gallery night in the new schedule. The ‘Gallery’ was renamed to ‘The pleasure rooms’ and there the history of the second best club venue in 1992 ends. The ‘Leeds Gallery’ changed thousands of lives forever, there are forums and websites dedicated to what many people think was the best club in the world ever, and that there will never be any club that will have the same effect on so many people. This is reflected in the regular reunion nights that are held in Leeds by Steve Luigi and the original Gallery DJ line up of DJs R.I.P. Paul Lamont the man who started it all off and had the idea of starting a Rave night there. Rest easy Paul, your legacy is carried on by the people you touched forever.
AFTER THE GALLERY; THE ‘POWERHOUSE – MIRFIELD (LEEDS GALLERY PART 2) After the ‘Gallery’ closed it’s doors, Steve Luigi wasn’t willing to let it die, and toured round the other Leeds clubs to see if any of the owners were interested in hosting the ‘Gallery’ night. Unfortunately none of them would take the chance although it was explained to them by Steve that there were over 1000 punters with nowhere to go every Saturday. Steve ventured further afield and found a club called ‘The dance mill’ in Mirfield, West Yorkshire that was willing to accommodate the night every Friday. Steve decided that with it being a new venue, a new name might be fitting, and so ‘The Powerhouse’ was born. The flyers and posters were printed and the Djs and artistes were booked. Steve, being a DJ on the infamous ‘Dream FM’ at that time also launched a radio advertising campaign. So the scene was set. Coaches had been arranged to pick the clubbers up outside Steve’s record shop ‘Racks of wax’ in Leeds, and take them to Mirfield and back home after the gig for only £3 return. Unfortunately, on the first week, only about 25 people turned up for the coach, on the second week about 15, and on the third week about 5. Although disappointed, Steve decided to carry on with the coach until no one wanted to use it at all. To be totally honest, the turnout to the ‘Dance mill’ was disappointing, the promoters had expected a far bigger turnout, although it was a risk with the club being so far away from Leeds, saying that, other clubs had been very successful at the ‘Dance Mill’, so the promoters of ‘Powerhouse’ thought that their night could work also. Steve had booked many excellent artists of the day such as N’trance, Pianoman, and Hyper gogo. The first 2 of these artist did quite well, but nowhere near the expectations of the promoters, in fact durin the first 5 weeks of the night’s launch, they had made a £4000 loss. Steve and his then partner Pete DeSantos, sat outside the club after the 5th night and decided that they could not afford to take anymore losses, and decided to call it a day. The week after was the week that ‘Hyper gogo’ were booked to play, one of the biggest rave bands of that time, and Steve and Pete worked out that even if that night had have been capacity crowd, they would still not recoup their losses. So that was that the end of the second instalment of ‘The Gallery’. For weeks after people were saying to the promoters “Why did you shut it down?” Steve’s answer to this was “Why didn’t you support it?”

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