Listening to JD Twitch talking about Optimo’s early days, it becomes clear just how incredible it is that the rag-tag duo behind the club created one of Glasgow’s era-defining parties. They launched at the Sub Club in 1997 with the aim of uniting those who watched DJs and those who watched bands. But for its first year and a half, there were “rarely ever more than 100 people” through the door.

Twitch and his partner, Jonny Wilkes, kept putting their hearts and souls into the music, happy because they never expected anyone to come anyway. And then all of a sudden, things changed.

“Almost overnight, from one week to the next, the club was packed. And I remember thinking ‘that’s a little weird – what’s going on here?’”

It was the beginning of something beautiful. A new millennium was on the horizon and this unique club night, that had broken down the partitioning wall between the city’s club-goers and band-watchers, had finally found its audience.

“It was almost like a collective lightbulb had gone off in people’s heads in Glasgow and they had finally got it,” says Twitch. What followed is the stuff of legend: a super-hedonistic parade of bands, blow-outs, and bewitching DJ sets.

Bedlam, in short. Guests ranged from the insanely arcane to the world-famous. Franz Ferdinand played one of their first gigs there, LCD Soundsystem too. Even the obscure Liquid Liquid, whose song gave Twitch and Wilkes the name of the night, were coerced into coming over from New York for a set.

Eighteen-and-a-half years later, Optimo is no longer a weekly concern; the Subbie no longer the only acceptable place to be on a Sunday night. The decision to end the weekly night in May 2011 – at the peak of its success, let it be remembered – was a sore one for clubbers across the city, but for its originators it made sense.

A packed weekly schedule of international DJ gigs had left them lacking the energy needed to give 100 percent to their baby.

“Even thought it had been going for so long, each week was still really amazing,” Twitch says.

Optimo’s weekly edition went out on a high, riding joyously into the sunset rather than becoming a shadow of its former self. It is Arnie’s Terminator lowering itself nobly into the molten steel so that it doesn’t end up limping on diminished forever, a rave version of The Simpsons.

That decision has ensured that in 2017 the duo are still as essential as they ever were; elder statesmen of the city’s club scene. They take to the Subbie tomorrow night to jump-start the club’s second consecutive weekend of 30th birthday celebrations, with New Yorker Justin Strauss the guest.

Strauss’ musical career stretches back more than 40 years: he was an icon in the city’s early ‘80s punk scene and one of the first DJs to pioneer the art of the remix. With Twitch and Wilkes backing him up, there will be a hundred years of DJing experience in the booth: a statistic that underlines their importance to the city’s club scene. In fact, scratch that. It’s a statistic that proves beyond doubt that they are the city’s club scene.

• Optimo: 100 Years with Justin Strauss, tomorrow, Sub Club, 11pm – 3am, £10


The Knochendorroch Festival, down in Castle Douglas, is one of the country’s biggest celebrations of traditional music. It’s not all fiddles and bagpipes, though: over the years, electronic acts like The Orb, Mr Scruff, Fantazia, Scratch Perverts and Mungo’s Hi-Fi Soundsystem have graced its stages. This early-summer warm-up has Glaswegian wordsmith Loki, riot grrrl duo The Twistettes and folk-dance outfit Yoko Pwno playing live before DJ sets from Mungo’s, Samson Sounds and Windebank bring the party into the wee hours.

• Knockenglesga, tomorrow, The Art School, 11pm – 3am, £7

Grand Theft Audio

Twenty years ago, a tiny office of nerds in Dundee going by the name DMA Design created and released Scotland’s greatest cultural export to date. The development house that had previously had a hit with Lemmings unleashed the first Grand Theft Auto upon an unsuspecting world before being absorbed into gaming conglomerate Rockstar, and the series has gone on to become a global phenomenon worth billions of pounds.

The games are as legendary for their soundtracks as their gratuitous violence, and tonight at Broadcast there’s the chance to get down to the sounds of NWA, Afrika Bambaataa, BJ The Chicago Kid, The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem, and a hundred other iconic artists who have featured or wrote original music for the series.

• Grand Theft Audio: The Club Edition, tonight, Broadcast, 11pm – 3am, free