Heavy Soul – The Verdict


After much build-up from the Futuresound promotions team, I went to check out The Cockpit’s new Friday night for myself…

At first I really didn’t have high hopes of what was to be one of the best night’s out I’ve had in ages, although it’s well-known that the best experiences are the unplanned ones. Being the sensible student I am I guffawed that Heavy Soul at The Cockpit STARTED at 11pm, although when I used to go out regularly in my first year of uni my friends and I wouldn’t set off till that time. But still, it was a shock to the system. When I arrived at ten past it was clear that this night was just beginning with only a handful people in the ‘quiet’ bar and I wasn’t even allowed in the other two rooms as they weren’t ready.


Looking around it was clear that the first ones in were regulars, comfortably squishing together at the tables, looking tattooed and twenty-something. After asking my plus one for his verdict he said that he didn’t notice much difference in the décor other than the candles lighting the room and the tie-dye fabrics pinned to the walls. He did however notice the drink prices which were noticeably more expensive than they had been at The Session, £3.40 for a single spirit and mixer. We’d asked about deals at the bar but were told there were to be no deals for Heavy Soul which was a little disappointing.

Therefore, we decided to settle for cocktails, a choice of four or five, that were selling two for £8 – I couldn’t tell you how much they were individually because they led me to get pretty smashed (more on that later).

Finally, the second room opened and the first thing that hit you was a wave of incense bellowing from two massive oil lamps in front of the decks. There was more fabric hanging here and there, and a psychedelic projection of bubbles and liquid oozing across the back wall. There was a very bohemian feel to the room and the DJ looked like he’d come straight out of The Mighty Boosh with big bushy hair and a feather-donned fedora. The music was very feel-good and I couldn’t help but nod my head whilst scribbling away with classics such as David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel and the Pixies’ Here Comes Your Man.


As Room 2 began to fill up it was interesting what an eclectic mix of people there were from the aged mosher to the average schmo uni student. There were also the odd hipster, and downright loonies.

With all the bopping and diving the place really started to heat up and I wanted somewhere to stash my coat but the cloakroom wasn’t immediately obvious to me. It turns out that it isn’t actually open to the public but if you give the bar staff a quid (£1.50 for a bag) they’ll take your coat to the cloakroom and return with a ticket. So I suppose customers will just have to learn that system through word of mouth.


My friend and I hit Room 3 for a change of scenery but at first it wasn’t immediately obvious what was so different about it – the same fabrics, the same sort of crowd, even the same visual effects. However, after listening to the music playing away in this top room the differences became obvious. It was so funky and jazzy up there. People had to adjust the dance moves to adapt to this snappier genre, a lot more bump and grind than bop and jive. It was really nice just to stand there and watch as people soaked up the sounds which made them so happy, really decent tunes going back as far back as the 1960’s.

After this point, the cocktails that were going down my throat as easily as a Capri Sun started to get to me; the notes stopped and the night gets blurry. I vaguely remember my mate telling me how decent the Jager-bombs were in price as I took them from him and necked, clearly losing normal sensibilities by this point.

So, my verdict of Heavy Soul is an overall very positive one and makes a heck of a change to the crap you hear at your bog-standard nightclub. The music’s good, the drink prices don’t matter once you’ve had a few, and the vibes are very mellow. You can tell that people loved it by the looks on their faces and the way they moved. If you’re looking for a night that’s a little bit different but will also leave you feeling extremely cheerful, if not a bit sizzled then come to Heavy Soul on a Friday night!