Monday, December 21, 2020

Rock on

I've already wished Rock City a happy 40th birthday once - but I'll happily do so again (prompted by this article by Neil Heath for BBC Nottingham) out of respect to a venue that has meant so much to me.

It's a landmark anniversary that feels as though it should be national rather than merely regional news. As for Richard Selby, quoted in Heath's piece, Rock City was undoubtedly an "epicentre" for me between my arrival in the city in September 1997 and leaving for Birmingham seven years later.

The article is a trip down memory lane, bringing the sights, sounds, smells and stickiness of the floor flooding back - from queueing past the burger van and shitty short-lived sports bar RKOs to get in, to watching the sweat dripping off the mirrored ceiling of the Disco 2 dancefloor, unwisely sampling the rancid offerings of the upstairs "food" bar, bouncing off Big Wendy (who always wore a tank top to show off the knife scar on her shoulder) in the main room moshpit, and waking up worse for wear on the steps outside at 4am to discover that some wag had tied my shoelaces together.

"Everyone remembers their first gig at Rock City", Heath says - but I'll admit I had to consult this list and still can't be sure. I definitely recall seeing execrable ska-punk band (is there any other kind?) Snuff there in March 1998, but have a feeling I was at the Deftones gig the month before, having missed out on their previous visit just four months earlier. By that point, several months into my studenthood, I was already a seasoned Saturday evening pilgrim - but I'd already foolishly spurned the opportunity to see Spiritualized, Fridge, Motorhead, Gary Numan, Faith No More, Unsane and Daft Punk. In fairness, finances rather than foolishness may have been the stumbling block...

Even more embarrassingly, I can't even remember my last visit. I saw Elvana at the Rescue Rooms next door in September 2017, but wish I'd also witnessed their Rock City debut the following autumn. There would be a lot of vicarious pleasure to be taken in watching your friends headline a place that's so close to your heart.

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