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The Four Aces Club




In the 1960s Mr. Newton Dunbar arrived in the UK from Jamaica and founded one of the first Reggae-oriented music venues called ‘The Four Aces Club’ which, for some 33 years, was home to the most influential black music and musicians to date. It showcased new music genres like Blue Beat, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, Jazz and Soul performed at the time by artists such as Alton Ellis, Desmond Decker, Jimmy Cliff, Count Shelly, Ann Peebles, Percy Sledge, Ben E King, Billy Ocean, Cimarons, Aswad, Black Slate, Matumbi and many others. This gave the club authenticity to attract artists like The Clash, Chrissie Hynde, Bob Marley, The Slits, Sex Pistols, Marc Bolan and Bob Dylan who were heavily influenced by the infectious pulsating rhythms.

The club’s success led to regular raids from the local police which gave it a bad reputation - he press targeted the venue as ‘A Yardie Drug Club’. Despite the negativity that clouded the club it went on to pioneer the early indoor rave scenes in the late 80s when the club became known as 'Labyrinth'. These were the days of Acid House, Happy Hardcore, Drum & Bass and Jungle music. It hosted artists like The Prodigy, Ratpack, Ragga Twins, DJ Slipmat, Billy Bunter, Vinyl Matt and Kenny Ken. Eventually the venue was forced to close its doors in the late 90s due to a compulsory re-possession order to make way for the regeneration in Hackney for the 2012 Olympics.
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