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Obsession Freedom - Que Club

There is something seductively religious about a club that is located in what used to be a place of worship. The DJ’s now occupy the altar, playing to a congregation of around 1,600, many of whom know what it truly means to have seen the light, and never such fun had in a church since the clearing up of all the queen’s burn treasure from St. George’s chapel. The arrival of the Que Club, (run in liaison with The Marquee), is a confirmation of everything that has been slowly building up within Birmingham’s club scene over the past 2 years or more, and this huge and hugely atmospheric club looks set to occupy a place at the forefront of all serious clubbers minds, many of whom will have visited it already.

The most recent event that Que played host to was an Obsession all-nighter; “Freedom” was a sell-out, with a DJ line-up that read like a who’s who of the dance music world (Ellis-Dee, Grooverider, John Kelly, Ratty and Dave Angel to name but a few). The 50k sound system and attractions including an ultra-violet trapeze artist, as well as a truly amazing constant visual display, including lasers and two animation screens suspended over the dance floor, meant that Obsession managed to create the sort of atmosphere more usually confined to big outdoor events. This said, Que does have its own very unique ambience, the high ceilings, wide stone staircases, and numerable chill out rooms all with heavy oak doors, mean that this Grade 2 listed building offers a veritable labyrinth of experience to the clubber, providing a refreshing and original alternative to the usual one dance floor, one chill out room set-up.

The attitude of the owners of The Que Club is based around the less is more philosophy, and as a result the interior is practical and simple. This minimalist approach means that collectives (such as Obsession) who hire out the venue can really let their imaginations take over and transform the main dance hall (or any of the other three 500 capacity rooms) into whatever they like. This offers an unprecedented degree of flexibility to the designer, and will hopefully mean that club culture art will continue to move forward and develop in even more new and exciting ways.

The Que Club has provided Birmingham with something it has been begging for, for a long time:- a decent middle sized venue. The city already has a plethora of very fine smaller clubs (The Attic, The Steering Wheel, Bonds) which in partnership with organisers like Cream, Chuff-Chuff and Global Grooves, make Birmingham’s club scene one of the best in the country, but the Que Club means that now things will be able to move towards providing a more rounded service. Live dance acts will, by the new year if things go according to plan, at least have a decent venue to use in the central area. The obvious gap in the market is what attracted the owners to setting up in Birmingham. The only club that comes anywhere close to giving clubbers what they Que hopes to, is The Institute in Digbeth. As yet, the threat is little more than a potential one, but only time will illustrate whether Birmingham is big enough for both venues. Pandemonium’s highly successful Friday nighter, “Club Andromeda”, is still being held at The Institute but the organisers, as well as various other club promotion groups in Birmingham, are said to have expressed an interest in using The Que Club as a venue.

Que has already secured an all night dance licence for three nights of the week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), an unmatched record, and with plans afoot to obtain various bar licence (to cater more for live events) its attraction as a venue solidifies by the second. Also planned for the future is a café/bar to be located in one of the building’s many rooms, which will be open during the week as well as serving breakfast after all nighters, although this idea has yet to receive full confirmation. If it does work out, clubbers enjoying their Sunday morning chill out, with coffee and croissants will be able to experience the sight of bright eyed and bushy tailed worshippers off the service in the church, which is underneath the dance floor of the main hall in the club. Unfortunately, Sunday events will never be possible at Que, because when the building was purchased from The Methodists, a clause stating that the activities of the club must not interfere with religious business was written into the contract. The relationship between the church and the club is one of mutual respect, and the church is happy that the building has been put to such good use!

The management of The Que Club seem to know what they are doing and if all the plans for the venue come into fruition then Birmingham really does have something to look forward to.

However, the success of the club really depends upon the willingness of Midlands people to give it a go, and it must be said that it has some very stiff competition from many well-established, albeit smaller venues around the area. The future looks exciting to see in which direction the Que Club goes; hopefully, for all our sakes, upwards.

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