The Warehouse, Leeds
1984: A Short-Lived Club
I only worked briefly at this venue, promoting just six gigs during the first two months of 1983. It was a difficult experience.
Owned and run by Mike Wiand, The Warehouse had opened in 1979 and was much more up-market than any of my other venues. While Mike was keen on putting on bands, he was impatient for results – probably rightly given his investment and his target audience – and his vision very definitely didn’t include attracting those without money. The slightly flippant arrowed small print on the flyer tells it all. It reads: ‘WARNING: The Warehouse isn’t keen on admitting punx & skinz so skinheads need wigs and punx need long macs!!’
Bearing this in mind, I booked a programme for The Warehouse (and thus also for its sister venue, The Manhattan Club in Bradford) which focused on post-punk bands that looked like they were on the verge of breaking big. This was why I called the club 1984. And to meet Mike’s expectations and demands I targeted the potentially large Leeds indie / student audience. In retrospect, I chose well in starting with The Cocteau Twins followed by The Fall. However, audience numbers, though they started well, declined sharply after those first two gigs and, after the first six, we called it a day.
By then, I’d booked through to mid-April and so transferred the Leeds club to Brannigans in order to honour these bookings, many of which had been booked with The Warehouse specifically in mind and would, I still reckon, have done better there. I’m thinking of the gigs with Icicle Works, perhaps Sex Gang Children, certainly BB and Da Gamba, 52nd Street, The Go-Betweens, that Postcard label package of The Daintees and Hurrah, The Dancing Did with The 3 Johns and – of course – the gig that didn’t actually happen, but would have showcased Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Dead Or Alive.
Had I been able to continue at The Warehouse, I might have made it work, but some things just aren’t meant to be and, while we never actually fell out, I think Mike and me would have struggled to see eye-to-eye. He needed moneyed punters. I didn’t even want them. I respected him, but our aims were very different and in all probability incompatible.
Nick Toczek, July 2018