Cream was the brainchild of James Barton, Andy Carroll and Darren Hughes formed in October 1992 as a weekly house music night which was hosted at Liverpool’s Nation nightclub.
Cream’s foundations had been laid in the years previous, as Barton and Carroll ran a night at the 051 nightclub in Liverpool during which they themselves DJ’d, playing an eclectic mix of house music from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
These early nights were vital in the development of the Cream night and Barton and Carroll managed to secure several headline events for their night bringing dance legends Tony Humphries, Laurent Garnier and Sasha to Liverpool. However the night soon outgrew the 051 and Barton, Carroll and Hughes moved their operation to Nation.
This move was accompanied by low attendances in the first few weeks of its association with Nation and it is astonishing to think that the then owners of the nightclub, Stuart Davenport and Lennie MacMillan, gave strong consideration to ending the Cream night at their club as a result.
However, Darren Hughes and an associate Joseph Murphy, offered free entry to all patrons from the Northwest and soon turned Cream into one of the most popular club night in the UK.
The night began its existence with Paul Bleasdale as the clubs main resident DJ and Bleasdale remained in this position throughout the nights existence as a weekly event.
As with the Cream night held at the old 051 club, Barton, Hughes and Carroll managed to attract some of the major stars of the International Dance music scene.
DJ’s like Paul Oakenfold, The Chemical Brothers and Paul Van Dyk all appeared at the burgeoning club night while Paul Oakenfold, Judge Jules and Seb Fontaine, amongst many others, became resident DJ’s at one point or another.
The weekly Cream club night at Nation came to an end in 2002 as the British dance music scene experienced something of a downturn in fortunes from its 90’s heyday. Although the Cream night lived on and has continued to hold events at Nation, typically about four every year, including a party in October/November marking Cream’s birthday celebrations and an annual Boxing Night show.
The Cream label has continued to expand as a brand name and is now synonymous with dance music, being responsible for the sale of millions of compilation albums around the world.
In 2004 BabyCream was opened at Liverpool’s Albert Dock with another BabyCream set up in Leeds with a view to open more venues in Manchester, Swansea and Glasgow but after a troubled existence the Leeds venue closed in 2006 while the other venues were never realised.
BabyCream at the Albert Dock fared better but it to came to an end in 2009.
A more successful venture for the Cream brand has been an annual festival held in Daresbury, Cheshire called Creamfields which attracts 40,000 dance music lovers over two days in August. This is topped off by a residency at the self proclaimed ‘worlds best club’, Amnesia, in Ibiza when Cream take over and draw some of the biggest names in dance music through its doors.
The Cream club night at Nation is certainly part of a crucial three when it comes to venues in Liverpool as almost the third age of the Liverpool music scene. From The Cavern in the 1960’s, through to Eric’s in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Cream took Liverpool through the 1990’s and into the 21st century and conquered the dance music industry along the way.