Eighties and nineties club night reunions at The Gaiety Bar, Southsea - but with a Covid-19 twist

A year ago Jeff Powell put on a sold-out Paradise Club reunion at The Pyramids in tribute to his brother, Gordon.

Thursday, 29th October 2020, 8:17 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 5:06 pm
Jeff Powell at the Paradise Club Reunion in November 2019, at The Pyramids, Southsea.

The brothers had been the face of the popular dance night back in the ’90s, but Gordon died suddenly of a heart attack at just 55 last November. The night in his memory was a huge success, and Jeff planned more Paradise Club nights.

Roll on to late 2020, The Pyramids has been closed down, and the pandemic has changed clubbing as we knew it.

During lockdown Jeff thought it would be fun to try to reconnect with those who might remember the nights he used to DJ at.

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Jeff Powell (left) with Mike Jupp at the Paradise Club Reunion in November 2019, at The Pyramids, Southsea.

‘I decided to reach out on Facebook and see if anyone remembered some of the old clubs and bars that I used to DJ at in the late ’70s all the way to the late ’90s and the response was incredible.

‘I had more than 1,700 people joining the Ellie Jays, Sweatbox, Jazz Funk, Soul and Disco page and over 2,100 joining the Paradise Club house classics group.

‘As we were all at home I then decided to do a weekly live radio-style broadcast on Facebook of the music we all grew up with and the response to that was amazing as well. It had a real community feel and brought a lot of fond memories flooding back.

‘I started to broadcast for about three hours every Sunday and I had about 200 people joining me. And because I used to dance when I was younger and I knew most of the people watching, I said I'd have a dance and off I went…

‘It was quite funny really, but the emotion of the online interaction between everyone – some of them knew each other, so they’d be talking in the comments, and me playing requests, it was absolutely palpable in a really weird way.’

‘I had a great time with it, so I decided I would do some event around that. I looked around at what I could do this side of new year, and I noticed the pier was doing some stuff.’

A bit sceptical though, about putting on a dance event under the current restrictions, Jeff saw that renowned dance-music act Kosheen had recently performed there.

‘I asked (local promoter) Nick Courtney how it went and he said it was incredible because there's no other choice of what to do – people sat down, they ordered their drinks on the app, and it worked – people enjoyed themselves.

‘They had two remaining dates, so I took them both. I've got an Ellie Jays/Sweatbox jazz-funk reunion on November 7, and then a week later, a Paradise Club one on November 13.’

And Jeff promises some extra treats for the old-school fans.

‘I've dug out two of the DJs who used to work with me – for the jazz-funk one, it's the guy who used to play every venue in town alongside me, Mark Frampton.

‘And then the former resident of The Paradise Club, Mike Jupp is playing with me on the second one. And there's a couple of guests with me who I have not announced yet, but they're going to be doing something live as a bonus for when you're there.

‘It will be nice to see everyone. The only thing that's really weird is that it's doors at 6pm and out by 9.45pm, but it is what it is.

‘A year ago if I'd suggested this I would have been laughed out of Dodge, but there you go…’

Booking is essential.

JEFF POWELL PRESENTS...

The Gaiety Bar, South Parade Pier

November 7

November 13