in the autumn of 1991, Mike was contacted by Club Promoters Nicky
Dee and Billy Gillbanks with a view to playing Friday nights at
the newly opened Hard Dock Café. The night was to be called
Insomnia and Hard Dock café was a warehouse venue based at
Regents Road, on Liverpool’s Stanley Dock. The club was about
the same size as The State with a capacity of about 1000 people.
original flyer to promote the opening of Hard Dock Café lists
the promoters as also playing as DJ’s. But to the best of
Mike’s recollections this never actually happened. Nicky Dee
had been a resident DJ at The Quad, in its pre-house era. But his
main claim to fame was having appeared on the TV programme Blind
Date presented by Liverpool’s own Cilla Black.
about that time Friday nights at the Quad had been discontinued
due to Quad regulars preferring to go to other clubs, out of town,
and the fact that new clubs had opened up in the Liverpool City
Centre: i.e. Club 051 & the Academy. So a deal was struck, and
Mike started at the Hard Dock Cafe playing alongside former Coconut
Grove DJ Alan James. Then, following the demise of the Quad, shortly
after Christmas 1991, Mike moved permanently to the Hard Dock Café,
playing as the main resident DJ on both Friday and Saturday nights.
The music policy at the Hard Dock was techno & hard core, with
people like Carl Cox and Groove Rider making regular guest appearances.
Hardock was the third of Mike’s main club residencies, and
the one that he remembers with the least affection. The first six
months or so were quite exiting but, thereafter, Mike feels that
it all became a bit of a drudge. The size of the crowd dropped considerably,
and the venue was bleak and cold in the winter. The audiences were
mostly young and male; the atmosphere stressful, verging on the
aggressive. However, there were just a few high points in this later
period: live performances by The Bassheads, Prodigy & Shades
Mike’s residency at the Hard Dock Café lasted until
January 1994, when he left over music policy differences with the
new promoters, Useless Promotions. Essentially, Mike and Alan had
wanted to programme more Trance & Hard House, feeling that Hard
Core Techno had had its day. But the new promoters had other ideas.
It was after leaving the Hardock Café that Mike stared to
get asked to play at Back to the Old Skool events such as Anthem
City at the 051 and similar events at The Drome in Birkenhead (Anthem
Mania), Maximes in Wigan
(Quadrant Park Revival Nights) and Bowlers in Trafford Park (The