When music was bigger than life

Cream of the pop - DJ and presenter Trevor Nelson is back in the city that changed his life. A time wnen clubs like Cream were the centre of the music world
By Dawn Collinson FOR DJ and presenter Trevor Nelson, Liverpool in the ‘90s conjures up a very special memory. “I went to Cream in the early ‘90s as a club promotions manager for EMI and I remember taking Juliet Roberts up there to do a performance, and Oaky was DJing and Rampling and they were absolute superstars,” he recalls. “When I saw that I thought it was the ultimate. That was what it was all about: coachloads of people coming from all over the country to go to a club that became an institution. It was incredible, the power of Cream at the time.” That was Trevor’s first experience of Liverpool, although as a Chelsea fan he was obviously aware of the football played on both sides of Stanley Park. “But Liverpool has an incredible tradition musically and I don’t just mean The Beatles,” he reflects. “It’s one of those cities that when you’re in it, there’s a certain swagger and there’s a certain history.” A pioneer of the UK urban music scene, and an MBE since 2002, Trevor is back in Liverpool and back to what ranks as his favourite music decade this month. Reminisce ‘90s R & B with Trevor Nelson, featuring Shola Ama and Damage, is already sold out and he confidently predicts a great night. “I’m really glad we’ve got those two British acts, everyone’s going to shed about 20 years going ‘oh I remember this song’,” he laughs. The nostalgic feel makes for a unique atmosphere, he adds, thanks to a combination of the age range who tend to go and the music itself. “I think when you’re 30-something, it’s a change in your life; you’re grown up, you might have kids and a mortgage and responsibilities. You don’t go out just because it’s Friday night like you do when you’re a teen, you’re going to go out to something you know and love. You cherry-pick. “I think also you have to remember that in the ‘90s we didn’t have access to everything via the internet and music at our fingertips, we had to invest in the music we liked, and go to a club to hear certain tunes or go and physically buy records. “In my line of music it was bigger than life then – the biggest budget videos, over the top, ghetto fabulous bling bling culture. It was all fantasy. You could live in a council flat and pretend you were P. Diddy when you went to a nightclub. “It was escapism, it was a lot of fun and for R&B the ‘90s was the era, the decade.” Trevor’s Saturday night LIMF gig, part of the four-day festival from July 20-23, will be at the Palm House in Sefton Park. “I’ve seen it and when I was asked to do it, it was a no-brainer,” he says. “We could have done a much bigger gig, we sold out very quickly, but I think it’s a beautiful venue and anyone who’s got tickets should be very excited.”