When we look back over the years, there have been only a small number of club brands that have survived the test of time, more often than not, their lasting appeal down to the fact that they have a following both internationally as well as here in London. And there is no doubt that Salvation’s success, particularly of late, has been as a result of its global rather than domestic standing, the foundations that were originally built in London, now firmly planted in Europe, allowing promoter Steve Elliot & his team to springboard the concept into South America, Australia & South Africa, but also to include destinations like Paris, Stockholm, Ibiza & Mykonos in their year round calendar packed schedule, Berlin having been added to the stable of favourite forays a couple of years ago. So, when we decided to also stretch our own legs into Europe, Salvation simply had to be on our schedule too, a trip to the German capital etched in our dairy a good three months ago and our excitement & anticipation rising relentlessly as the big weekend arrived. So, why all this enthusiasm and were our expectations fulfilled?
Having just about re-charged our batteries from Hustlaball the previous evening, we made a rendezvous with D.J. pals Eduardo De La Torre & Danny Verde, Edu having forgone a Friday meet up due to work commitments & Danny having just arrived from Milan, a late lunch then followed by a sneak preview of Salvations host venue. Having checked out the literature beforehand, we were expecting the place to be pretty close to where we were staying in Shoneburg, although knowing Berlin as we do now, this district of the German capital is pretty large, our trip with Edu, Mrs De la Torre & Danny in the car taking us right into the sticks. However, the trip proved invaluable, as we managed to landmark our directions for later, having decided to be adventurous & t6ake the train, rather than a cab, even bumping into a fellow Londoner on route who had done the same. Mind you, has it not been for our i-phone map application, we may not have made it to the industrial Malzfabrik at all, our arrival instead being as smooth as silk.
Having decided on an early arrival, we were at Salvation’s doors at just turned 11.30 p.m., virtually immediately bumping into a busy looking Steve Elliot, one familiar face in amongst many others, although, to our surprise the cute looking guy managing the entrance also recognised us (what happened to anonymity in this city?!?!), we being waved through in a trice and our belongings efficiently packed away in the adjacent coatcheck. With that small formality over, our sashaying in Schoneburg was about to begin, the main room literally opening out in front of us, this massive warehouse having previously been the home of the infamous sex parties held by the Kitkat club, the raw feel of the warehouse style of the place broken by sophisticated lighting & the massive LED D.J. booth which was making a colourful splash & statement.
And this was our first port of call, bounding up to say hello to Edu, who was warming up this Salvation showing with some seriously tech infused sounds which were booming out from the massive speakers banging down from the ceiling which was a good 50 foot above. With our greetings over, we retreated to the bar to seek refreshments, this time opting for the energy boosting choice rather than the beer of Hustlaball before, we also being conscious that some serious pacing was going to be required , should we also make the essential trip to Berghain as so many people had said we should do. Relaxing into a spot by the bar, it was clear we had arrived early, as it took quite some time for the crowd to develop, however, like many Saturday night gatherings in London, one minute the place seemed rather empty & the next it was packed full, the collective crowd very much more the club type we were used to, a myriad of muscled men, plenty of glamorous girls & even familiar club kids, one guy in particular noticing us from our times at Fire in Vauxhall (isn’t the world small sometimes), while a number of other faces were familiar, obviously the trip to Berlin this weekend being a popular choice & Salvation a definite draw.
But, we were now very expectant of the arrival of not just Danny Verde, but also an inbound Nick Tcherniak, whom we had seen just a week or so previously back in London, both of us very much looking forward to partying together outside of our usual haunts, rather internationally for the first time. And arrive they both did, Danny spotting us as he made his way to take over from Edu in Malzfabrik’s main room, while Nick assumed the decks up in the second room upstairs, the entry to which was up a most industrial & well worn set of stairs, the whole ambience both on the ascension & the arrival in the room, much more draconian than we were used to, although Nick’s music was anything but, we finding our steps to his sounds in an instant, the space soon filling out with plenty of party people, very much into the more intimate atmosphere of this separate space. And with a tremendously warm welcome from the man himself, we couldn’t have felt more at home, this feeling made even more fulsome by the second familiar face of fellow D.J. Paul Coals, who had been warming up the space & was later to take position in the main room.
Now we were very much in Salvation mood, trading this lofty space with devotions to Danny downstairs, each visit back & forth timed to perfection as both Nick & our Milano mate picked tunes that tripped off our musical memories, Nick’s “My People” track yet again a highlight, having already played a prolific part in our weekend, Danny’s “Let Me See Your Underwear”, “Pushin To The Top” & even his bootleg of Madonna’s “Vogue” getting airplay. However, the music in the main room was only part of the scintillating story, as not only were we treated to a pulsating P.A. performance by London based Valerie, but a succession of dancers were intermixed by fire eating displays & a most explosive angle grinding show, played out virtually in front of our eyes on the expansive podium to (yes you guessed it) the left of the D.J. booth, our favoured spot in any club.
Henceforth, we simply couldn’t separate the delectable deliveries from the deck maestro’s performing in our midst, darts back & forth intermixed with plenty of camera clicking of Raul Gonzalez’s drop dead gorgeous go-go’s both males & females impressing immensely, the crowd showing their appreciation with every move they made on the podiums, Danny’s brilliant beats even ensuring that on the few occasions the elevated areas were absent, they were quickly filled with bare tops beauties from the cavorting crowd, the laser lighting & ticker tape drops from the ceiling above adding to the amazing atmosphere in this truly voluptuous venue. Even Nick was having his say upstairs, true devotees to his terrific tech honed house music there by choice, we even bumping into yet more faces from back in London who were as pleased to see us as we them, the sweat from their furied frolicking evidence of just how good our fabulous friend was entertaining enthrallingly.
With Danny virtually done with his set, the second impromptu back-to-back set of the weekend was about to take place, the duo of Nick Tcherniak & Paul Coals taking over the main room music, both upping the tempo from the second room before, Paul especially impressing with his diversity compared with his guest spots & residencies back in London, Nick sliding easily into the change of pace & playing to the crowd like the seasoned pro he is. And, the crowd were incredibly receptive of their performance, not the thinning out that you all too often get back in London, when the call of a certain afterhours drags people away prematurely, these Salvation sophisticates seeing out most of the remainder of this exceptional event close to the 7 a.m. finish, even the performers, Danny, Edu & Valerie partying around us right till the end, everyone thoroughly enjoying the whole experience so much they, like us, didn’t want it to end. But, with the last tune played out by Nick, the time had come to move on, we choosing a relatively swift exit with Mr Tcherniak & Valerie, to make that essential must visit to Berlin’s Berghain club to continue what had been a simply sensational Saturday come Sunday soaked in Salvation splendour.
In Salvation as a club brand we have enjoyed some truly prolific parties, most if not all in London’s Cafe de Paris, very much on the glamorous end of the clubbing venue market. Having said that, the Hippodrome made for a truly awe inspiring setting, as have the couple of occasions we have sampled it in the brilliance of Barcelona, although to see it acted out in the Industrial & bohemian setting that was Malzfabrik in Berlin was an experience we will remember for a long time to come, as not only did it show Salvation in a new light, but it made for an altogether fresh & fulfilling time in what has fast become one of our favourite city destinations. Yes, the venue was a little bit out in the sticks but that made Salvation much more of an adventure & given the numbers through the doors, there is still clearly a penchant for this long established brand, not just in Berlin but across Europe & even the further reaches across the globe, meaning that sashaying in Shoneberg was certainly scintillating & we salute you, superb Salvation, bring on the next party, we can’t wait. (DISCO MATT)