Best London clubs Saturday night

Why half of London's nightclubs have shut down for good

British nightclubs have been the wellspring of British rock going all the way back to The Beatles. But for years they've been fading, CBS News' Jonathon Vigliotti reports.

Getting past the bouncer and into the nightclub has been a Saturday night mission for generations. From New York's famed Studio 54, the blueprint for modern clubbing, to today's superclubs, nowhere else exists a place where alcohol, dancing, love - but mostly lust - fuse together for one night out.

In the U.K., nightclubs have given birth to some of the country's greatest music scenes. London's Roxy gave the world punk, the Sex Pistols and The Clash. Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet were known as the Blitz Kids after the New Romantics club.

And The Hacienda in Manchester ushered in the rave era with bands like the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and Primal Scream.

But now there's concern that the heartbeat of British nightlife is flatlining.

The Hacienda was demolished 13 years ago, and a string of high-profile clubs have shuttered their doors.

There were over 3, 000 nightclubs in the U.K. a decade ago. It's now nearly half of that. Even the historic center of London's music scene is about to be redeveloped, which begs the question - where has all the music gone?

In London, a city with some of the most expensive real estate on the planet, new high-rises are going up and pushing noisy clubs and creativity out of the heart of city.

A smoking ban and extended late night drinking laws in bars are also taking a toll.

Analyst Rachelle Denton said everything is about online profile.

"Now, you can look online, you can see people's behaviors in the minute, " Denton said. "So you can decide to pack up everything and go to where anyone is that you know. You don't have to feel like you're missing out. You don't have to pre-plan, and this means that your behaviors can be much more responsive, immediate and interesting."

British DJ Dave Haslam has been looking the history of what Britons do with their Friday night out.

"What always intrigues me is how we think, whatever generation we are, we think we invented going out, " Haslam said. "We didn't, and in fact our grandparents didn't, but they thought they did as well."

Haslam said what's happening to British clubs is a generational shift.

"Nightlife is always evolving, and that's what gives it energy - it never stays the same, " Haslam said.

Superclubs like London's Ministry of Sound are still going strong, but smaller clubs are moving out.

"In every city, clubs and bars are in a cheap part of the town, and they help re-energize that part of the town, and eventually the money men move in, and the big business moves in, and it becomes gentrified, and it becomes homogeneous, and it becomes boring, so people move somewhere else, " Haslam said.

Where people are going is to music festivals, in huge numbers, to stunning set piece spectacles like Arcadia, only held a few times a year.

And staying home as the website Boiler Room allows anyone to stream the best DJ sets from anywhere in the world at any time straight into their living room.

All that, said Haslam, may be killing off the traditional nightclub scene but will never extinguish any generation's need to party.

"Has an app, " said Haslam, "ever replaced the feeling of being on a dance floor with a thousand other people hearing amazing music, feeling connected with everyone else, catching everyone else's eye and saying, 'We are having a great moment. It's Saturday night. We are alive.'"

Interesting facts

  • Marvin Goldhar (1934 - March 31, 2002) was a Canadian actor, best known for his voice work in animated programs and in made-for-TV movies.
    Among his voice credits include Cedric Sneer on The Raccoons, Mr. Weatherbee on The New Archies and Bronto Thunder and Bonehead...

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