Happy nights at trail-blazing Sheffield 80s music venue Take Two

From being an industrial powerhouse to Banners department store with reputedly the first escalators in the country – Attercliffe has won many accolades over the years.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 1:21 pm

But one thing often forgotten is the trail-blazing music venue that opened in 1986. Neil Anderson – with help from former Star music writer John Quinn - remembers it:

Attercliffe’s Take Two club was definitely an enigma in the mid-1980s. In terms of a business model, the Staniforth Road venue seemed, at best, questionable. But, to the surprise of many, it worked and cool people, it seemed, were quite happy to travel out to darkest Attercliffe for a night out.

Marcus Reynolds followed the Thatcherite doctrine and made his dream happen via the Government’s £30-a-week Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

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The band The Alarm take a break from rehearsing at Attercliffe venue Take Two

He opened Attercliffe’s Take Two club to the world on Saturday, December 13, 1986.

It took a bus ride to get there, there seemed to be no decent pubs within a four mile radius and no-one seems to have any idea how they got home again but Take Two, for a few years, kept the wolves from the doors and proved you didn’t need to be on West Street or Leadmill Road to keep the left-of-centre generation in wine (or lager), women (and men), and song.

Music writer of The Star, John Quinn, was one of the devout regulars and has better recollections than most...

“Marcus was very tolerant of the ranks of punks, psychobillies, skinheads and assorted ne'er-do-wells who frequented the venue, and this policy of politeness paid off. I can't recall there ever being trouble at this particular place.

A Take Two membership card

“There is a tale about the eternally-overrated Stone Roses making their Sheffield debut and getting into a scuffle before taking to the stage because the support act had placed a Confederate flag there. I don't know the outcome but as the saying goes, it ain't over till the flat laddie sings.

“In 1987 I became editor of The Star's pop page so I was a regular writer about and visitor to Take Two, mainly a live music venue but also occasionally the place for indie music discos.

“People go on about the power of the press. Maybe on a national level, but local music journalists tend to delude themselves - I know I did - that what they write is somehow important.

The youth of 1980s Sheffield

“It may be a bit to the local bands we write about (that Pulp lot would never have made it without me, blah blah blah) but on a general level it doesn't matter one jot.

“This was proved to me when Take Two played host to a Northern Irish band called Bam Bam And The Calling who I'd described on the pop page as 'better than The Beatles' on the grounds that one of them was actually called Paul McCartney and as a sulky early-20s punk fan I wasn't too fond of the Fab Four at the time.

“Their first single was produced by songwriting god John O'Neill, of Undertones/That Petrol Emotion fame, and the latter band were actually named after one of their numbers. How could they possibly fail?

“This shameless bit of hype led to them attracting a massive audience of...ooh...four. Which wasn't fab, but I bravely fought my way to the front and enjoyed them anyway.

Coverage of the opening of the venue in The Star

“However, the venue had some bigger names too. Primal Scream and Dinosaur Jr played to full houses, while the Lee Brilleaux-led late-80s line-up of Dr Feelgood and punk veterans UK Subs seemed to be in a competition to see who could play there most often.

“The premature closure of the venue left one less outlet for local and left-field acts to peddle their wares. And I still think Bam Bam And The Calling were better than The Beatles.”

*Taken from Neil’s Dirty Stop Out’s Guide to 1980s Sheffield – available from www.dirtystopouts.com for £13.95

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