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The rare photos reliving Belfast’s golden era raves

Words: Dylan Murphy

To celebrate the release of David Holmes and Timmy Stewart’s remixes for The Vendetta Suite’s debut album The Kempe Stone Portal, he’s shared exclusive imagery from the 90s that inspired their work.

The 1990s in Belfast were a turning point for the city. Club nights and the wider culture played its part in uniting people across peace walls whilst also inspiring the next generation of musicians and DJs. Key in those developments were David Holmes and Iain McCready’s events at the Art College.

They played a huge part in the work of The Vendetta Suite aka Gary Irwin, who was drawn to Holmes’ selection at the nights and he recalls routinely sending tapes of his own to the DJ until he later came on board as a studio engineer in Holmes’ ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable Studio’. It was through Holmes that Irwin met Timmy Stewart – a stalwart of the local scene and they began collaborating.

Now, in a full circle moment, Irwin has invited Holmes and Stewart to share remixes from his debut album. Today, we’re buzzed to share the exclusive first play of Holmes’ remix of ‘Purple Haze, Yellow Sunrise‘. To celebrate the release Gary Irwin has shared some exclusive imagery of the era of Belfast rave culture that provided their musical education.

Images from Holmes’ ‘Sugar Sweet’ night at Belfast’s Art College

Speaking on how they met, Timmy Stewart says, “David Holmes introduced the Vendetta Suite and I when he encouraged me to make the progression from a DJ to producer in the mid-nineties by inviting me to experiment in his Exploding Plastic recording studio. The deal was generously simple, I could use the space and all of the equipment for absolutely niche, all I had to do was pay for the engineer’s time. Gary Irwin (TVS) was the engineer at David’s studio. The rest as they say is history!”

A selection of posters from events throughout the 1990s

Digging back onto old hard drives and sifting through his archives, Gary Irwin found old posters from events gone by and images of the heads in attendance at the legendary parties.

He even managed to find an old hand written letter from none-other than the recently deceased Andrew Weatherall.

Hand written letter from Andrew Weatherall.

Listen to ‘Purple Haze, Yellow Sunrise (David Holmes Remix)’ below:

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