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Shaken not stirred

Liverpool's Chibuku has been mixing it up for a whole decade now. DJmag looks back…

LEGENDARY is a word that gets bandied about so lazily that it's just about lost all meaning, but in the case of Liverpool's Chibuku — celebrating their 10th birthday this year — the cap well and truly fits. After all, how many nights can say the late John Peel dedicated two pages to them in his autobiography? Or claim that French electro stars Justice call them up and ask to play unannounced for nothing more than a sleazyjet and a bottle of rum?

You can save the postcards, because the simple answer is none. Or, at least, none bar Chibuku — a party that grew from a debauched student session for 150 music lovers to the globally renowned, multi-room smash-up that redefined Liverpool clubbing for the genre-wrecking noughties.

"You've got to look at what Liverpool was when Chibuku started," explains Chibuku's top dog Rich McGuiness, a driving constant through much of its 10-year journey.

"It was Cream, it was Garlands and it was all door whores, shiny shirts, pointy shoes and glam house or trance."

Bringing things back to basics, the Chibuku crew had other ideas. They gathered their student mates and set up shop in the tiny, ramshackle Lemon Lounge. With door entry at £4 and music revolving around filtered disco and quality house, the place was soon packed.

"It was very raw, the soundsystem was dire and it was mainly our residents Luke Carr CHECK! and Wandy, but everyone would meet up once a month and go completely bananas," remembers Rich fondly.

"It was mayhem — people dancing on the bar, DJs bladdered, people falling asleep behind speakers. And it was ours. We didn't want to go superclubbing to trance, so this was like our little Hacienda.

When Chibuku upscaled to the depilated grandeur of the 3000-capacity Barfly (now know as Masque) in 2004, their growing hype soon spread nationwide.

"We booked Stuart Price [then known as electro darling Les Rhythmes Digitales] and sold the club out, we were just like 'what the fuck have we created here?'" says Rich. "For the first time, agents started to support us and it started to snowball. Yousef [friend, DJ and promoter of Barfly night Circus] helped introduce us to a higher level of agents and DJs."

And from there, the rest is pretty much history. From Sven Väth and Underground Resistance to Gilles Peterson and Marky, every DJ worth his salt has played Chibuku's genre-smashing spectaculars during their subsequent climb. They've championed dubstep, French electro and drum & bass to the main rooms of Liverpool — both at their beloved Masque and occasional home Nation — and even got an unsolicited stamp of approval from Ed Banger chief, Pedro 'Busy P' Winter.

"Pedro used to come over before we even knew who he was," explains Rich. "He used to fly over with his wife and you'd see this rock-star style dude having a dance with his stunning bird. When we finally worked out who he was and asked what he was doing here, he just replied 'I love this club'."

We couldn't have put it better ourselves Pedro.

CHIBUKU 10TH BIRTHDAY PARTY

Chibuku celebrate their 10th birthday at Liverpool's Nation on Saturday 13th March with Adam Beyer and Joris Voorn (live) in the courtyard, Justice, Cassius, Busy P and DJ Mehdi doing their Club 75 thang in the main room, and Mix Master Mike, Skream, Caspa and Shy FX in the annexe. It's a bit good, eh? And, better still, we've teamed up with the Chibuku to offer one lucky winner the chance to smash it up VIP stylee. Even better.

Up for grabs, we have:

  • Two VIP entry places for Chibuku's 10th birthday at Nation on Saturday 13th March
  • One night accommodation in a Liverpool hotel for you and a friend
  • Transport to and from Liverpool city centre for you and a friend
  • £30 of drinks tokens arrival at Nation
  • A sack load of Chibuku birthday memorabilia
  • Guestlist to Chibuku's fabric (London) party on Friday 12th March and all future 10th birthday parties at The Lemon Lounge and The Barfly

To be in with a chance just answer the following question and email your answer, address and mobile number to allan.mcgrath@djmag.com before Wednesday 24th February.

Where did Chibuku take its name from?

  1. An ancient Mongolian aphrodisiac
  2. A milk-based drink made and sold in Mali
  3. The winner of the WWF Royal Rumble in 1998