Johnny G: The 80s Nightclub Reunion

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Johnny G (left) & DJ Katch (right, Resin Dogs) Johnny G (left) & DJ Katch (right, Resin Dogs) Image © Jeff Polley

In bringing you the best of ‘80s club sounds, the Christmas 80s Nightclub Reunion is honoured to have one of the greatest retro DJs of Brisbane, who has played many of the great clubs and was behind the legendary club event Flares throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and into 2000s – Johnny G.


For those too young, can you recount the Flares events please?
At a time in Brisbane in 1979 when the city was anti-disco, anti-punk, anti-politics, anti-everything a young Johnny Griffin starts up one Brisbane's most successful retro parties called ‘Flares’ at the original Brisbane Underground Nightclub. Flares was created off the back of punk, drug and violence and was pro-feminist disco playing disco and glam rock. By 1983 Flares was the biggest party in Brisbane and started a residency at Morticia's Nightclub, which at the time was Brisbane's leading club for playing electro, goth and rock. Flares was the anti-thesis of Morticia's and brought funk, disco and new romantic sounds to this almost punk club once a week. Flares grew so fast attracting up to 2,000 people that it went into larger venues like The Metropolis (in the Myer Centre) and then onto The Site in The Valley. In 1996 with the wave of retro-inspired movies like ‘Priscilla Queen Of The Desert’, ‘Studio 54’ and ‘Muriel's Wedding’, Flares hits a new high and with this Flares survives the new millennium continuing well into 2010, which after this Flares is now a by-request event for the venues.

Dance music in the '80s was in its infancy; how important to the development of the scene/ genre was this decade?
Starting on an anti-political platform it was not cool to like disco, there was an aggressive scene and by bringing some relief to the seriousness of the music of the day, having fun and not being so significant seemed to appeal to the youth at the time and a new reality emerged at most venues. The new wave and electro new romantics movement was hard to avoid. Knights Underground Niteclub had Future Music Festival boss Mark James on the decks playing electro punk slowing merging to disco. It really just evolved.

Johnny-G

What can people expect from the 80s Nightclub Reunion this Saturday?
They can expect the music that was going on in the clubs back in the day and not some crafted version of how it was. Alongside Les-Boss and K-Rasta who lived the ‘80s club scene we will deliver ‘80s new wave, disco, funk, early rap and electro pop with a high energy mix of ‘80s dance anthems.

The fashion/ styles of the '80s; again, for our younger readers, what was it like living in the '80s?
With the various scenes moving around the town, there was a statement in who you were and it was expressed in how you dressed. A clubber really stood apart from society and were almost outcast. Remember, Madonna was seen as a tramp with her move to wear lace. Big hair, mullets, gel slicks, rat tails while dressing like the likes of Duran Duran, Wham, Cyndi Lauper. Seeing someone walk down the street in not-your everyday wear gave you the sense that even Brisbane was moving forward with the fashion world.

Should people dress up with shoulder pads and other '80s fashion trends?
Clothes are optional; don't come nude!

Would an '80s kid survive in the modern world?
Not a chance. It was living in the now. There were no distractions. You went to a club and you socialised with your peers or danced (with another person, not facing the DJ). I guess you could adapt, but then the innocence of the ‘80s would be lost.

Biggest misconception about the 1980s?
That it was all commercial music and all fluro clothing and venetian blind shades.

What does an event like the 80s Nightclub Reunion offer someone who didn’t live in the 1980s?
A new ‘80s dance club revival has emerged with former club owner and operator Les Kostoglou steering the ship. 80s Nightclub Reunion will be reminiscent of what went on in the ‘80s clubs; it will feature electro dance, disco, pop and funk.

The Christmas 80s Nightclub Reunion takes place at the H Lounge, upstairs at the Hamilton Hotel, Brisbane, on Saturday 20 December.

Click here to win tickets to the 80s Nightclub Reunion.

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