Iconic Chester night club Rosies are returning to their live music roots with “Quaintways Live” a nod back to the days in the 1960s and 70s when the venue hosted many high profile musicians.
Chris Cunliffe General Manager told us that “The big idea is to re-invigorate the live music scene in Chester. Theres been a nightclub here for 40- 50 years, prior to that there was ballrooms, bars, cafes. We have a photo from the 1800s when there a was pub here. The ballroom had its day in the 40s and 50s, and in the 60s it was taken over and it was known as Quaintways. It started off as a Monday night jazz club, then the entrepreneur/manager (Gordon Vickers) decided he wanted to do something different. One of the first bands that were due to play here was Cream, with Eric Clapton. They were booked to appear in 1966 but unfortunately Ginger Baker had a throat infection so they couldn’t lay. After that Fleetwood Mac toured their first album here, and then it went on from there. Thin Lizzy, Slade, Judas Priest, and it just got bigger and bigger. From 1966- 1978 there was 2 or 3 nights a week when they would have bands on, They had in house bands, The Undertakers, Hands, we are looking to get these guys back, they are still gigging. The managers seemed to have a habit of getting things early doors and booking bands just before they went stratospheric. We found out this week that Robert Plant played here before Led Zeppelin, with his Band of Joy. One of the last bands to play here was The Sex Pistols, we’ve no idea how that went down in sleepy Chester ! Dire straits, massive stadium band of the 1980s played here. After 1978 the live music petered out and it became a few different things, Rendezvous, RB’s and ultimately Rosies. We have not done live music here and haven’t thought of doing it before.
“We were in the office kicking around some ideas, and we all knew about Quaintways, but we hadn’t looked into it until we came across a Wikipedia page that listed all the bands that played here. We did some digging and decided that not only was it feasible but we had a strong case to be up and among the best live venues in Chester and probably the North West, with a capacity of 500 people. As a high tech nightclub we have lights, sound, video walls with high end live music PA ”
Alternative rock band Screaming Devil Pleasure Beach are the headline act on the 22nd July as regular live music returns to the venue for the first time in over 40 years. Lead singer David Gregory said: “I wasn’t aware of the history of the venue before I was told. Its really appealing for us to be involved and we’re going to make it the best night we can. “
Assistant manager Becca Acton commented that “We are trying to be more of a creative space rather than just a nightclub venue because 90 percent of the time we’re closed. We want to look after everybody and make it a place they want to be. The venues current champagne/ VIP bar will serve as the green room for visiting bands with new shower facilities also being installed. To support the acts initially Rosies will not be charging a booking fee, with the band taking all of the proceeds.
Chris says that alongside the revived Quaintways, the venue are looking at other alternative uses for the venue. “If someone comes to me and says I can sell 3-400 tickets for a bingo night, we will do a bingo night! I have background in live comedy so we are going to be running love comedy sessions as well, around Christmas/freshers time. Its the change between opening the doors and needing 1500 people through the front door, and opening the doors for 200 people and having a really good event. We don’t have to fill the venue, the club makes enough money within Stonegate, so we can afford to try these fun new things. We can balance the original live acts at other times with tribute /cover acts to appeal to the student market. “
“The processes and procedures we have here fit everything. We have over 80 CCTV cameras, our own first aid room, an in house door company, different spaces to do different things. We are getting the whole venue ultra HD ready, with 4k projectors putting up, and we’re looking at doing the World cup. At Halloween we’re planning to do the Rocky Horror Show on the screens with a Narrator, get people dressed up, I think it will be massive. Its giving people the experience they need after the last few years.
“The club is flying, we’re doing really well, but we aren’t getting the 28 – 35 age group we used to get in Popworld, Its the cost of living.. reticence after Covid.. we are trying to give something for those people. We’re a nightclub so its 18 and over, but as a 48 year old guy I wouldn’t come to club full of 18 year olds but I might come to see a really good band!”
“The Quaintways brand is a nod back to what went before, it needs to be shouted about. As far as we aware this is the room where the bands played, we have the original building plans. I’ve always said this venue has a beautiful feel, we are really looking forward to the opening night and having these lads on. You will always get negative people, but Thin Lizzy, Slade, Robert Plant played here, what’s your point ?”
In the long term the venue have high ambitions. “A lot of it is getting into touring schedules, so we are aiming for that in the spring. I want to get to the point where a band that is playing Manchester and Liverpool in a 2000 capacity venue, can come here for a warm up gig. ”