How do you describe a truly unique club that has been around for 20 years changing like a chameleon through the years as new and old enjoy the entertainment that is called The Rhumba Club. The unique blend of music through the years kept this clubs reputation as one of the best club nights in Scotland and at some points in it's life the best in the UK.
The Rhumba Club first appeared on the dance club scene on a Friday night in February 1991 at Roxannes nightclub in Perth Scotland. Wayne Dunbar and Zammo, under the banner of Floatation Perceptions, were the promoters and founders with Zammo taking up the part of resident DJ. At this moment in time Tayside had no real Club night where you could go and hear house music for an entire night, properly presented as a club night. Many things attracted house music lovers to the Rhumba for some it was the music, others the scene and others the ambience. One thing which shone from the start was how this was a distinctly different club night. Word spread fast and every night began to sell out.
Around July 1991 for reasons unknown the club moved to Fat Sams in Dundee where it began to introduce the most up and coming DJs to the Rhumba faithful. Names to grace the club at this point were Justin Robertson, Andrew Weatherall, Paul Wain, Slam, Steve Bicknell, Nipper, Jacqui Morrison, Harri, Parks & Wilson, Jon Da Silva to name but a few. Zammo held residency pumping out the best in Balearic beats while the guests each week brought their house music blend to the club creating a truly Balearic club. The club also developed a huge loyal following who came for the music, vibe and to see a guy called Higgins who became a clubbing legend with his Rhumba antics. Incredibly within 3 short months DJMag had named the Rhumba Club No1 in the UK in it's monthly charts. MixMag would follow that up with awarding The Rhumba the title Best Balearic Club 1991. The last night played at Fat Sams in Dundee was the First Birthday party in February 1992.
Again upheaval hit The Rhumba and it wasn't until April 1992 that a venue was secured for the future of the club. The move to the Citrus Club in Edinburgh raised a few eyebrows not least as the Rhumba fan base now had a 60 mile round trip to visit their club. Dance music was changing and the demand for quality clubs, music and a safe atmosphere was in demand. The Rhumba moved away from being a weekly promotion to a monthly promotion. The Rhumba began it's stint at The Citrus Club with the line up of Gaerth Somerville, Steve Bicknell, Zammo and Paul Wain on Friday 03/04/1992. With such a growing reputation the Rhumba was able to capture the cream of club DJs to its monthly nights. With the emergence of Cream, Ministry of Sound and Back to Basics down south the dance scene was reaching new heights. Most of the top club DJs of there time managed to squeeze an appearance in at the Rhumba from Alistair Cooke, Craig Walsh, Kelvin Andrews, Rad Rice, David Holmes to Dave Seaman and the guest DJs from the early days at Fat Sams flocked back as well. The Rhumba lasted for 3 years at the Citrus Club finishing in 1993 with the Christmas Festivity starring John Digweed, Rad Rice, Paul Wain, Zammo and Gareth Sommerville.
What started as a one off in 1993 with the Rhumbasaruas Rex began a 3 year stint at the Arbroath sea front Ballys nightclub which could hold 1000+. The Rhumba had now ascended to superclub status. It commanded the biggest crowd in Scotland and the biggest DJs made there way there every 2 or 3 months as the club night went from monthly to quarterly. DJs that came were the biggest in the business with Jeremy Healy coming at his Ibiza peak, the master himself Sasha with his Northern Exposure night and Paul Oakenfold just after his acclaimed Radio 1 Goa essential mix. Being a super club opened up avenues to attract the superstar DJs like Sasha, a DJ who was long overdue to play at the Club and really should have been there in the early days. In 1994 after 4 years at the top the Grand Finale night was announced and Rhumbateers young and old descended on the Flicks nightclub in Brechin. It seemed like the end, and for some it was, for others it had been a long time ago and for others it was only beginning. It was announced as the end but just like a phoenix from the flames the club night moved back to where it all began. In 1995 the Rhumba used the state of the art Ice Factory nightclub in Perth to hold it's 4th Birthday party. In 1995 Club Metro would once again open it's doors to the Rhumba crew who would keep coming up until the start of 1996 where a change in direction would see it permantly move back to it's roots.
The Rhumba took no time at all in 1996 to be convinced that the brand new Ice Factory nightclub in Perth with it's state of the art design was the place where The Rhumba club could flourish again with new and old. It had already held a few club nights under The Rhumba banner but had always kept it's ties with The Metro. With around a capacity of nearly 1000 the club was reintroduced to the Perth landscape and the club night changed to add a host of DJs at each club night. The nights were fresher more artistic feel to them. The club had maybe lost it's cosy feeling of the Roxannes/Fat Sams era but it had grown into one of the strongest commercial nights out in Scotland. The Rhumba held many a club night throughout 1996 to 2009 until the Ice Factory shut it doors in 2009. This was unfortunate for The Rhumba as in 2008 and 2009 it began to move from "best of" nights with Zammo and Michael Kilkie to once again attract the top name DJs in the business like John Digweed, Dave Seaman and the likes. It may have been the end of the Rhumba at the Ice Factory but a familiar friend was witing just round the corner to allow the club a new lease of light.
The Rhumba came full cirlce when in October 2009 it reurned to a very different Fat Sams in Dundee to take up a qaurterly residency. It had been 16 years since The Rhumba had been on overnight sucess at the original Fat Sams and it picked up where it left off all those years ago with Orbital opening up to a rejuvenated nightclub which was now twice the size. With the always popular Christmas Festivity planned for the end of December another era beckons for rrrrRhumba.
2012, and momentum had been building for months since 2011 to put on a spectacular show to pull down the curtain on this famous club. It had been tried several times before but you get the feeling this send off was so good that maybe this was just the last tune. With so many things to consider from who would spin the discs to how you can structure a club for all those clubbers that have been through the many doors of The Rhumba over the last 21 years. First choice by Wayne and co was to get some of the biggest names that have graced the Rhumba over the years with Justin Robertson, Slam, Jon Pleased Wimmen, Kilkie, Zammo to name but a few. Next the venue and a reopened Ice Factory opened for one night only over 3 floors in April to give the Rhumba Club one fantastic send off. With Wayne, Keith and Zammo pulling out all the stops to bid farewell to all Rhumbateers that could get their hands on a golden ticket. Clubbers young and old, Mums and Dads who had rocked to The Rhumba at Roxannes now danced with their kids at the Ice Factory. An emotional night for the promoters, DJs and clubbers. Who would have thought a young Acid House kid from Dundee who met up with a house DJ from Perth over 21 years ago would spawn a club that would bring together Dundee, Perth, Tayside and Scotland with House music that lit up clubbing for over 21 years, Rhumba Club take a bow, could this really be the end :)