He’s been DJing in Adelaide since the 90s, he adores his job and he treats his Jive crowd like a family.
Meet Craig Flanigan, Adelaide’s favourite indie DJ and host of Gosh!, DiG, The Austral on a Wednesday and The Wellington on a Sunday.
DJ Craig was a leading Dj in the underground techno scene back in the day and has since been involved in collaborations and his own nights, as well as festivals, dance parties, and Three D radio.
He was involved with Supersonic, Adelaide’s first night to focus exclusively on indie at the height of the Britpop era and has let his passion for alternative music shape a corner of the state’s club scene.
“I started out playing dance music which is ironic considering my stance on dance music now,” Craig laughed. “I started at a place called Control which is Enigma Bar now and then I went on to start my own thing with Supersonic.”
Now he hosts one of the best indie nights in the city, two retro nights, and also studies at university.
“I am studying Urban and Regional Planning which is my plan for when I eventually retire from DJing, but I will keep doing it as long as I love it,” he said.
As well as Jive, Adelaide’s longest running indie club, Craig recommends Transmission at Rhino Room and a night at the Kings Hotel held quarterly by DJ Mark Yusef Wilson, for those who aren’t part of the usual club scene.
These nights add to the rich culture of Adelaide’s club scene and the constantly changing nature of the industry.
“I think the club scene in Adelaide is diverse. I think there’s a lot out there. There’s clubs for every scene and every genre,” Craig said.
Unfortunately, according to Craig, strict new regulations are making it difficult for clubs like Jive.
“I’ve thought of having my own club but legislation is not really helping clubs like Jive. They’ve got the same overheads as places like HQ, despite having around one fifth of the capacity,” he said.
“The new government laws are really killing that mid-range club. The smaller clubs have lower fees, and big clubs can afford it. But the middle ground, which are the ones providing the diversity and vibrancy, are being strangled. It’s not the council’s fault; they can’t do anything about it. It’s a governmental thing.”
Despite the laws and fees that sometimes affects Jive’s operational sustainability, Craig, and the club itself have created a refuge for clubbers who want something a little out of the ordinary.
“I wanted Gosh! to be a sanctuary. A sanctuary away from commercial R&B, Hip-Hop, dance music and pop. I want it to be somewhere I’d like to go. Also, we only charge $5 at the door. There are clubs out there that charge $20.”
The music at Gosh! is varied, but always indie and Craig has introduced ‘Master Sessions’ to add a little flavour to an already tasty mix.
“With my Master Sessions, I post three bands up on the Gosh! Facebook group. Group members vote for the band they want to hear,” Craig explained.
“That Saturday night, I’ll play ten songs from that one band. If the place is going crazy I might play, 14 or 15 songs. I don’t just play the singles, either; I’ll play the album tracks too. The idea is to create a democratic culture and ownership of the night. I do about one a month.”
The way Craig invites his crowd into the process at Jive demonstrates why he is one of Adelaide’s favourite DJs, and the infamous sign above the DJ desk shows how his sets stay varied and exciting.
“I like to make it so it’s not the same music all the time so I will often throw in some songs that I like that aren’t as popular because I like Gosh! to be a bit of a discovery to people so they can hear new music,” he said.
“Requests are taken, but famously not after 1am but there’s always a flow to what I do so the punters often hold off their toilet break or cigarette to keep dancing. I would like to think Gosh! has contributed to the reduction in smoking but can’t validate my claim with any firm evidence,” he laughed.
But unlike other DJs, he is never too popular or cool to chat; he genuinely loves people digging the tunes he plays.
“I feel like I’m making the world a better place. It may only be a better place for this three hundred people and not 1.1 million people, but for those people it may be the better part of their week.”
“I don’t like to be haughty or unapproachable because people are there to have fun. It’s not just a customer/supplier deal, it’s a family. I want people to leave at 3am walking down the street singing the last song I played,” he said.
Visit Gosh! on Facebook
Gosh! is on at Jive every Saturday (except 1st Saturday of the month which is DiG 60s night) from 11.30pm (after Saturday night bands).
The Austral on a Wed night 9.30-late features music from the 40s, 50s and 60s every week.
The Wellington on a Sunday is a more relaxed affair with music from the 50s, 60s and early 70s from 2pm until at least 5pm, depending on numbers.
Story by Libby Parker
Feature photo by Louise Horobin