KCRW DJ Marion Hodges writes a tribute to the Optimo club night hosted by DJ’s JD Twitch, and JG Wilkes, which will be ending next month:
Having recently returned from a trip to Glasgow, I was all set to write a glowing recommendation of the club night Optimo. I knew it by reputation before I visited. I asked the friends that we were staying with if they might want to attend. This question led to my being regaled with stories every day leading up to the event; stories of staying up until dawn week after week, how it was easy to spot other Optimo attendees on a Monday morning by the zombie-like manner in which they drove to work, and above all else how DJs JD Twitch, and JG Wilkes were so good that they left you no choice but to be a zombie on Monday morning cause there was no way anyone could leave that club before it closed at 3am.
Everything was true, of course, as we watched the evening progress from relatively dark minimal techno sounds when we arrived to everything from The xx to a produced on the spot dance mix of the Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks,” to an untouched “Pink Panther Theme” right as the dance floor was at it’s peak. The legendary end of the night request for “One more tune!,” “One more tune!” was granted by another live dance mix. This time, with an excellent re-imagining of the already excellent Roxy Music song “Virginia Plain.”
Optimo was the night that made the music finding portion of my trip to Glasgow more than complete. With a rather heavy haul of indiepop records to bring back to the States, it seemed acceptable for me to not spend a great amount of time seeking out a club night where such music was likely to be played. A club, quite frankly, like the one I take part in here in Los Angeles (Hungry Beat!).
Optimo was something else entirely. It was very clear that the two men involved with the club spend most of their waking moments consumed by music. The expansive selections, and well thought out combinations that I witnessed during my brief time at the club gave me the strong sense that it would make KCRW fans feel right at home.
Of course, I’m no authority on this subject. I’m sure that there are Glasgow residents who have been attending since day one in 1997. I can only imagine how some of those people would express their feelings since the announcement that the club will be ending.
Still, my time at Optimo will remain one of my fondest memories, and I’m happy to see that the end of this club appears to be leading to only bigger and better things for both DJs. The fact that they will still be promoting Sunday nights at their Sub Club home certainly means that you are still guaranteed a good time, not to mention the chance to see either one of them spin on any given week. Naturally, something is lost without the two of them as a pair, and without the Optimo name, but at least we have the comfort of knowing that all has not been packed away forever.
Read more about this somewhat abrupt development here in the words of the DJs themselves, and the commentary of a clear admirer. And if you happen to find yourself in Glasgow on April 25th or before, then for goodness sake… go!