A nostalgic look at the glory days of Cream in Nation, Liverpool in the 1990s…

Posted on 24 June 2015
By Olivia Coles
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As part of our research for our TV- Scouse Proud we take a look back at Liverpool’s clubbing scene in the 90s, which managed to put Liverpool’s music scene back on the map after Beatlemania.

The Liverpool music scene sure did set the bar high for the 1990s, with the Beatles in the 60s and Eric’s Bar in the 70s and early 80s, however Cream sure did exceed expectations.

Liverpool’s dance scene began building momentum with nightclubs such as The State, Underground, and Quadrant Park in the late 80s, early 90s, so the city was perfectly poised to jump on the electronic music movement, emerging out of Detroit and Chicago.

These famous clubs, with their focus on acid house, were attended by some major pioneers of House Music in the city including; James Barton, DJ Andy Carroll and DJ John Kelly.

Cream began in 1992, founded by James Barton, Andy Carroll and Darren Hughes. Originally the night was hosted in the 051 nightclub, but soon outgrew the venue.

Cream acted upon their ambitions and moved into Liverpool’s 3000 capacity club; Nation, which is now its spiritual home.

In the early days, the night struggled to win a crowd and Nation’s owners even considered pulling the plug! Darren Hughes managed to save the night, by offering free entry to people from the North West.

The night soon blew up and Nation became a Super Club, maxing out its capacity week after week. Cream established itself as a weekly house night, running for a decade.

Dance fans and clubbers travelled from every corner of the country to Liverpool to attend Cream, but recently people have taken a look back to the club’s origins to ask – what was drawing them to the city?

Firstly, the music. In the 90s the House music exploded across the country, but Liverpool’s scene was unique. As a port town it often intercepted music from America, with the DJs mixing US and UK House Music and exhilarating the crowds.

At this time the House music scene was all about the emerging sounds and not the DJs, unlike today where the body behind the decks is God.
John Kelly even revealed that the decks would be facing the wall so the DJs back would be to the crowd.

Although it was not about the DJs, as the scene grew the names began to become a big part of the draw.
Cream brought huge American and British DJs to Liverpool, with names such as Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, Laurent Garnier. As well as Cream’s residents like Paul Bleasdale.

People also described the atmosphere at the club back in the day as electric. It was packed, full of ravers enjoying themselves and dancing to the early hours.

DJ John Kelly remembers that the hairs on the back of his neck would stand up as he span his records, due to the sheer raw energy emanating like a force of nature in the venue.

He said: ” As the piano or break would come in, the scream would go up. The hairs on the back of your neck, because it was so forceful, so much energy in there and you knew as you were bringing the fader across that it was all coming up and as you turned round the place would be exploding.”

“People hanging off every bit of furniture because it was three stories high, it was unbelievable. Best place I’ve played even to this day”

Although the weekly nights stopped in 2002, Cream is constantly expanding as an iconic dance brand. Now having produced the award winning Creamfields Festival for more than a decade and nights in legendary Ibiza nightclub Amnesia, they also return home to Nation for three shows a year.

And we at Purple Revolver HQ hope that Cream will continue to come home with the new housing plans hanging over the nightclub.