May 5 2011 by Chris Clements, Hamilton Advertiser
A CHANCE encounter between old friends last year has led to a series of the biggest soul music club nights in Lanarkshire.
Kevin McCully and Frank Devine hadn’t seen each other in 10 years when they bumped into one another at a soul night in Kilmarnock last year.
The meeting sparked the formation of the Lanarkshire Soul Collective.
Frank explained: “That night, Kevin and I got talking about organising a potential soul event in the Lanarkshire area, and everything kind of developed from there.
“We were quite pessimistic to begin with, but I think the proof is in the pudding.”
Six months and a couple of successful events later, the blossoming organisation are planning their third venture – an Evening of Soul at the council HQ in Hamilton next month.
Music lovers can expect to hear a mix of Northern and crossover soul, rare groove, jazz funk, Motown and disco.
The Collective are Kevin, of Motherwell, and Blantyre man Frank as well as experienced soul DJ Colin ‘Sid’ Wilson and Brian Smyth, a sound engineer who handles the event’s technical requirements as well as graphic design.
Kevin, Frank and Sid have known each other for 25 years. Sid often played the legendary former Kilt Soul Club, which Kevin and Frank frequented as it ran successfully for five years during the early 90s in Newmains.
The club was famous throughout Britain for the quality of DJs and live acts it attracted to the little-known venue in Lanarkshire.
The Kilt has long since been flattened to make way for a supermarket, but its effect on the group has had a huge impact.
“There was nowhere left for soul lovers and people our age to go,” said Kevin.
“The Kilt Soul Club was well attended all those years ago, so we knew there would be plenty of people out there who have the same taste in music and who are in the same boat as ourselves.”
Kevin made enquiries about hiring a hall at the United Services Club in Motherwell and, from there, the ball was rolling for the Lanarkshire Soul Collective’s first Evening of Soul last November.
Frank said: “We were really taken aback by the number of people who turned up, and the number of people we had to turn away. It attracted people from all over Britain.
“And the great thing was, all the publicity was done over Facebook and things like that.”
Through social networking, the Collective even managed to bag one of their resident DJs, Jane Lott.
Jane has a cult following in her native Hannover, Germany, where there is a burgeoning soul scene.
Frank added: “To get Jane on board, flying over from Germany, was a massive coup for us.”
After the success of the first event – as well as an Evening of Soul 2 at the Strathclyde Hilton in Bellshill – the group are now in contact with soul lovers from all over Europe.
“The Collective is basically building on what we have. It’s a brilliant foundation for future events,” said Frank.
“An idea we have is to maybe re-introduce a well-known soul act back into Lanarkshire at some point.”
Kevin added: “We are also currently looking at a 1000-capacity venue for an all-day event next year, but that’s some way off.
“At the moment, it’s important for us to establish these bi-monthly events.
“We’re also looking at getting somewhere that the Lanarkshire Soul Collective can call home.”
He continued: “Sid is really important in all this. We all have our different strengths and abilities, and we’re all into soul music.
“However, Sid has played every type of music, and without his knowledge and huge vinyl record collection, we couldn’t have done this.”
Brian Smyth explained that the group are now looking to network further and get the word out about their events.
“We’re not particularly looking for more DJs, as we have been inundated with offers,” said the Motherwell man.
“We even had to bump the latest night up from three spinners to five.
“It has made us all a lot of new friends, and it’s got a lot of old friends back in touch with one another, especially those who haven’t seen each other since The Kilt days.”
An Evening of Soul 3 will have resident DJs Sid, Jane Lott and Fraser Dunn on the deck, as well as special guests Mark Linton and Willie McKenzie.
The event will take place at the Banqueting Suite in South Lanarkshire Council’s Almada Street headquarters on Friday, June 3.
It starts at 7pm, and tickets are £10 at the door.
l TWO lucky readers have the chance to win a pair of passes each to An Evening of Soul 3 next month.
To win tickets, tell us where resident soul DJ Jane Lott is from. Is it:
(a) Hannover, Germany;
(b) Melbourne, Australia;
(c) Cairo, Egypt.
Send your answer with your name, address and daytime telephone number to: Evening of Soul competition, Hamilton Advertiser, Press Buildings, Campbell Street, Hamilton, ML3 6AX.
Entries must be received no later than Wednesday, May 18.
Usual Advertiser competition rules apply.