If 1985 had laid the groundwork for the Haçienda’s survival and rise from the difficulties of the early years, 1986 can be seen as the year that the future legacy of FAC 51 all started coming together. A lot of it down to the arrival of new general manager, Paul Mason in the January of 1986 along with Paul Cons handling press and promotions who became the guide for the clubs gay nights and influence which ultimately became “Flesh”.
Paul Mason had previously managed Rock City in Nottingham and began to make some initially unpopular but much needed changes at the club, moving the club towards regular DJ nights which were seen as more profitable and many long running nights including Dave Haslam’s Temperance Club began in 1986. Club culture in the UK was beginning to establish itself in 1986 and The Hacienda was right at the forefront of defining this as it took in early house records into its playlist whilst the Festival Of The Tenth Summer, a week of events in July was one of the first big moments to crystallise the emerging Madchester scene.
The regular nights at the club began to bed in well and the formula for later years began to be established with a growing emphasis on including fashion shows and installations. The start of the week saw Paul Cons’ Gay Monday bring the influence of Canal Street into the club, Martin Prendergast’s Tuesday club dispensed psychedelica and rock and Thursdays became Temperance Club from May onwards. Friday’s Nude night was increasingly setting the place for the emergent scene and although Saturdays had been through some changes following the departure of Hewan Clarke, Chad Jackson, DMC Champion of the year was resident up until the middle of the year before Wide with Dean Johnson took over the Saturdays.
Although the early part of the year saw Paul Mason bringing about his reforms, the switch to DJ led club nights proved a success, with the club actually turning a profit for the first time in 1986 while the I-D Party in June was the first time sweat was recorded coming off the ceiling and the walls in FAC 51. Although rare groove was in fashion at the time with the London style press, with Urban reissuing classics like Maceo And The Mack’s “Cross The Tracks” and The Jackson Sisters’ “I Believe In Miracles”, at The Haçienda this supplemented the existing policy of Motown, Rap and Soul but 1986 also saw the earliest American house records hit the clubs, eagerly picked up by Mike Pickering and championed at Nude.
Records release in 1986 which rocked The Hac include seminal tunes that became classics that are even revisited today, Doug Lazy’s “Let It Roll”, Mr Fingers “Can You Feel It”, Fingers Inc “Mystery Of Love”, Marshall Jefferson’s “Move Your Body”, Marshall’s Sleezy D “I’ve Lost Control”, Adonis’ “No Way Back”, Jamie Principle’s “Your Love” and Farley Jackmaster Funk’s cross-over smash “Love Can’t Turn Around”.
While Fridays became home to the sound of the new jacking grooves coming out of the States, Dave Haslam began his long running Temperance Club on Thursday 1st May 1986, which like Nude was to survive to the club’s temporary closure in 1990. Conceived by Dave and Paul Mason, the night finally accomplished Tony Wilson’s long cherished aim of bringing Manchester’s students to the venue , something Paul achieved by laying on a bus from Owens Park to the club. Mixing electro and hip hop such as Mantronix and Eric B alongside the indie staples of The Smiths, The Fall, New Order and classic rock tracks like The Stooges. Dave’s eclectic playlists and taste in music opened up a new avenue for the Hacienda and in many ways developed a new crowd for the Hacienda and not only students but also indie fans who’d previously been gig goers but not necessarily clubbers. The club was actually to see its first ever full sell out with a Temperance Club night on A Levels Results night in August, something that then became an annual event and this opening out of the regular crowd was to be an important factor in shaping The Hacienda towards the late Eighties and early Nineties.
The fourth birthday party came in May as well, and featured acrobats suspended from the ceiling as well as the party’s first fairground, something to be repeated in 1992 for the tenth birthday while a defining moment for both The Haçienda and the development of what came to be termed “Madchester” came with the “Festival Of The Tenth Summer” in July 1986. A week of events which commemorated both the infamous “I Swear I Was There” Sex Pistols concerts and the summer of punk a decade previously which had set bands like Joy Division and members of the Factory family including on their way. The week of events culminated with a huge G-Mex concert on the Saturday, headlined by The Fall, The Smiths and New Order and in many ways this occasion is looked back on as one of the real starting points leading to the crystallisation of the Manchester scene over the coming years to its highpoint which arguably came in 1990.
Although the club events were taking an increasing precedence over the live concerts, 1986 did see memorable gigs as well. The Velvet Underground’s Nico performed her last ever gig in January 1986 as Nico And The Faction, Vince Clarke’s post Yazoo project played twice during the year, along with bands such as Cabaret Voltaire, Spear Of Destiny, and New Order’s annual bail out show on Monday 13th October.
As the media and people outside Manchester and the Factory circle began to warm more to the club as well as the definite improvement in the running of the venue, 1986 had seen great improvements, the club was finally coming under control and there were very few security or drugs problems at the venue. With the Christmas and New Year’s Eve Parties a great success, it had been a breakthrough year for FAC51, and everyone involved, although not knowing yet what the future held, was very confident about the state of the club.