Archive for November 29, 2010
When multi-national organisation Gaydar decided to take the plunge into the bar & clubbing market, adding to its already well established online dating & networking business, as well as its popular radio shows & other online services, some immediately questioned why they should be entering a market place that was in complete contradiction to is regular offerings. Yet, with its first foray out on Frith Street, the venue gained considerable following, filling a neat gap in the selection of Soho sophisticates, although this massive conglomerate was keen to make a bigger impact of the capital’s clubbing scene and like its bar operation, fill a much needed gap in central London, particularly given the fact that many existing venues were either closing down (in some case bulldozed) or diminishing in popularity. So, they soon sought out a space on Wardour Street which had previously seen failed attempts to do similar, a launch under the guise of “Sweet Suite” falling at the first hurdle, although with the might of Gaydar behind it, this new operation had every chance of succeeding where others had failed.
Lo-Profile hit the ground running in 2007, very much capturing a change in clubbing trends, as people began to desert the larger venues in preference to the more moderate affairs that were better matching the needs & demands of a shrinking audience, some laying the blame on this change, funnily enough, at the door of online organisations like Gaydar, for revolutionising the way people meet & connect, this trend change meaning that the traditional way of meeting people, in bars & clubs, was becoming much less the norm. So, very much flying in the face of their bread & butter business, the bold move to open a nightclub was seen by some as controversial, as was the extrovert decor of Lo-Profile, the overt shapes of lighting around its entrance working well, but the replication across the club , a little too much for some. Plus, with certain club ventures failing to ignite expected attraction, it seemed the club was, like its predecessors, would flounder, although three years on, it is not only still alive, but very muck kicking.
So, given both the appeal of its sister venue, Profile, now located directly above on Wardour Street, plus with all the recent improvements to the club space, we simply couldn’t forgo making the trip down to Lo-Profile for its 3rd birthday celebration, even if we had stated we were suspending our reviewing activity for November, we very much pleased to make this exception. Therefore, we made plans to meet up with D.J. close pal Brent Nicholls, who was due to perform at this special birthday bash, making our way to Profile for around 10 p.m. for the liaison with our friend, also catching up with Profile’s Friday resident D.J. Phil Marriot, who was in his usual chirpy mood & keen to party on downstairs after his stint behind the decks, transmitting his show live to Gaydar Radio’s Club Nation audience. And with the bar a frenzy of activity, not least with the bubbly enthusiasm exuded from fellow friend Andrea, who bounded up to make her presence felt
But the main focus was downstairs, so with Brent Nicholls leading the way, we headed through Profile and then down past the clubs reception, entering Lo-Profile’s space in time to catch the end of the VIP reception for this special birthday occasion, D’Johnny in charge of the musical direction, pumping out a neat selection of tech infused house hits to a select bunch of invitees ready to party deep into the night. So, soon finding ourselves at the bar, we grabbed some refreshments, served by the charming Philippe and began to circulate the space, bumping into familiar face, one after the other, including yet more D.J. pals (was it a convention?!) Alessandro Londra, Paul Heron, Nick Evans & Jamie Head, all making their appearance to toast Lo-Profile on its third year in operation. Plus, some the Gaydar top brass were around, we even getting invited to a glass of champagne, most agreeable, everyone in cheerful & celebratory mood as the club began to swell in numbers before our eyes, the staff motoring to get everyone served in their now customary efficient manner, special “3” balloons festooning the back bar to re-enforce the birthday message.
So, now we were set fair to soak up this Lo-Profile special occasion, planting ourselves in our favourite spot (come on you should know by now) just by the D.J. booth, the perfect vantage point to see the new lighting system swing into action, the bank of lasers swinging to the beats D’Johnny was bashing out & bouncing off the sea of bodies that was now filling the dancefloor. But when the podiums filled, first with enthusiastic party goers, one such hunk stripping to the waist, although he was soon to make way for an even tastier guy, part of the troupe of dancers that were to entertain our eyes throughout the rest of this pulsating party. And it came as no surprise that Mr photographer himself, Chris Jepson, was on queue to snap the gorgeous dancers in action, although fortunately we were also in pole position with our phone pointed directly at this sexy stud in front of us, our hands quivering as we shot away to our hearts content.
With D’Johnny’s set now over, it was down to Brent Nicholls to further elevate the already awesome atmosphere, he very much taking the music, grasping it with both hands and giving it his trademark latino edged & funky filled touches, with plenty of house heaven anthems from across the three years of Lo-Profile’s existence, trading classics like “Sunday’s At Heaven”, with more recent hits “Devil Walking” “Hey, Hey” and many more, although the rapturous reaction to Toca’s “Miracle” was one of the most amazing we have seen anywhere & proved a truly magical moment within this Aussie D.J’s superlative set. And we were very much in full flow, especially in the company of Mr Marriot, who had now made it down from upstairs to join in the party, we not only trading dance moves, but also sharing more than a joke or two which was, yet again, proving to be a fabulous Friday sashaying in Soho rather than being vivacious in Vauxhall.
With Brent in complete control of the decks and the new lighting & effects in full tilt, we were going nowhere, our original plans to stay for just an hour or two, laid to waste, our dancing dervishness showing no signs of slowing down, so good was Lo-Profile, even outstaying the usually energetic Andrea, who curtain called before us. But with yet more people swinging by, including the charming Suzana Quentin & the lovely Naomi Ruiz, as well as beautiful Brazilian Lunarde Martins, the captivating company couldn’t have been better, our spot by the D.J. booth proving the perfect place to be, Brent continuing to delight with one delicious dance tune after the next, all very evocative of this special 3rd birthday bash, he pitching the music perfectly, ensuring the dancefloor remained rammed right up to the 4 a.m. finish. And, whilst we really wanted to stay to the end, the call of our bed & resting before a journey to family duties the following morning, meant we had to grace our exit, collecting our bits from behind the D.J. booth, saying farewells to those around us, then sliding out into Soho to wend our way home & reflect on what was certainly a superb celebratory event extra-ordinaire.
There is absolutely no doubt that Lo-Profile, in its three year history, has gone from strength to strength, Fridays as well as Saturdays proving more & more popular as time has gone by, this being no surprise, particularly when you consider the wealth of D.J. talent the team employ to attract the masses, talents Steve Pitron, Mikey D, Jamie Head, Paul Heron & Gonzalo Rivas, among a host of others, all very much the cream of the London clubbing scene, that many a larger club operation would be proud to sport, meaning the music is the best you will find anywhere. And with both D’Johnny & Brent Nicholls masterminding that music for this 3rd birthday bash, we were very much treated to a truck load of terrific tunes from start to finish, all added to by the brilliant new lighting installations that have made such a big difference to both the atmosphere & ambiance of this Soho sophisticate, combining to make Lo-Profile, not just a credible alternative to the larger offerings south of the river, but a captivating club in its own right. So, we raise our glass in hearty congratulations to the team behind this prolific place & look forward to celebrating the next birthday in just as much style as this. (DISCO MATT)
To mark Lo-Profile’s third birthday, resident D.J. Brent Nicholls has compiled a special mix, marking this special occasion, his 18 track devotion covering the three years of the clubs history with some truly amazing anthems, Brent describing it, modestly, as “…nothing groundbreaking, just a collection of good time memories defined by house music…” this hardly doing justice to what is one of his best creations of 2010 so far, keeping us addicted from start to finish and will surely do the same for you too.
So, to download this mesmeric mix, go to http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/music & click on the relevant link. Plus, to see the new look Lo-Profile in full swing, captured in video by Mr Nicholls, go to either his own website or to direct link http://seenqueen.com/web/tag/lo-profile-3rd-birthday/ and sink yourself into both the music & the action of this outstanding outfit.
Looking back over the last few months, indeed years, there is no doubt that when it comes to Saturday night clubbing, the scene in London has seen some quite dramatic changes in trend, this usually most popular weekend slot having pitched & yawed in popularity, only a handful of brands surviving to tell the tale. Indeed save for some of the major brands, finding somewhere to party like (as the song goes) 1999, is increasingly more difficult, much of the central London locations either having been bulldozed to make way for other uses or filled with club brands that don’t necessarily appeal. So, as a consequence, Saturday’s have become rich pickings for the likes of SuperMartXe and, until recently, Matinee, one other brand showing itself on a monthly basis to make its own mark on a struggling slot when venues such as Barcode & Lo-Profile end up making the most of.
Lovechild very much has established itself as a prime contender for Saturday nights in the capital, making the bold move to change its original Sunday slot in favour of what, at the time, proved a wise choice & & popular decision. Indeed, it hardly seems a year since promoter Alex Erfan decided to move his lovable clubbing brand from its first home, Pacha in Victoria, to Fire in Vauxhall, the move giving him the flexibility he need to broaden both the appeal & dynamic of the monthly parties, a whole host of events having made a considerable splash on the capitals scene, firmly establishing it as one of the venues more popular events, well on a Saturday at least. This move to Vauxhall has also allowed Mr Erfan & his close team to expand into other brands, both home grown & international imports, although it would be fair to say that Lovechild is Alex’s first born in his recent relationship with Craig Elder’s group, so remains close to his heart and one which we have both supported & attended on a regular basis. So, despite certain issues with another scene club promoter, forcing us to take a sabbatical from our review duties, we made an exception for this special Lovechild “Anniversary”.
Another major reason for breaking our embargo on reviewing, was the arrival in London of Barcelona based boy, Javier Medina, whose work we have been promoting since the spring & indeed someone that has become a good friend, we spending time together as recent as September in Paris, as well as having connecting when he played on behalf of Lovechild at the August Bank Holiday As One event. So, whilst up until the actual day, it seemed doubtful we would make it to Fire, as Saturday dawned, we decided to brush aside, or at least dispel for a few hours, the issues that had forced us to suspend our writing & clubbing, the night actually becoming quite busy early on, with a boat party trip on the Thames, followed by a dip into Soho to celebrate both friends Michelle Thornber’s & Tom Marchant’s birthdays. But, a 1 a.m. liaison with Brent Nicholls, who was due on Lovechild duty, saw us arrive at Fire at a little shy of 2 a.m., we eventually finding ourselves at the venues “Lightbox” entrance, the revised arrangements for this anniversary occasion.
Making our way through & around towards the rear entrance (not tradesman’s before you ask) we were greeted by the man himself, Alex Erfan, who was beaming from ear to ear although very much concealing his concerns over the revised set up for this special one year celebration of his lovable brand, he guiding both us & Brent through into the replacement for the usual lounge space, the small “raw” room, which, if we are honest, has never really worked from the day it was opened, the space being very much divorced from the rest of the club. Dropping off our bits & boobs behind the D.J. booth & catching a hello with Terry Vietheer behind the decks, Alex then escorted us through into the Lightbox area and then on into the mirrorarch room, we very keen to catch up with our Catalonian companion, although as we arrived at the D.J. booth, Mr Medina was nowhere to be found, instead, Tony English was in charge of the sounds, Alex advising that a revision to the D.J.’s timings had been necessary due to the change in the club configuration. So, after a brief stop off in the upstairs VIP area, when Alex discussed some issues of the day with us & Brent, we found ourselves back in the raw space where Mr Nicholls acclimatised himself with the change in surroundings & scenery and prepared to commence his set.
Still wanting to catch up with Javier, we soon headed back into the mirrorarch to find him in situ by the D.J. booth, our Barca boy giving us a hearty hug & delving into catch up conversation, we also being introduced to his travelling companion, who was already stripped to the waist & well into the action. Fitting in a sneaking smoke break, we soon found ourselves back in the mirrorarch & getting into the swing of Mr English’s sounds, very much more uplifting & accessible than we normally expect from this talented D.J., his usual style more euro-beat in its make-up, Ibiza & Spanish influences much more his flavour, although with the room packed & Thiagio Drewery’s dancers making the first of many showings, this anniversary event was certainly hitting the spot, the macho & testosterone fuelled feel that Lovechild has come to be known for, back with a bang & even the dancers much more butch & muscular than we had seen of late.
But the best was to come as Mr Medina rose to the decks, immediately upping the pace of the music & taking the crowd on a magical mystery tour through Spanish sounds, tribal tunes & much more hard edged house, the kind that always seems to go down well in this, our favourite space at Fire, Javier really capturing the imagination of the crowd, who soon filled the podiums in front of the D.J. booth & further down the room, whoops & cheers coming with every record selection & a stream of people coming up to our spot to find out who the maestro in charge of the music was. Indeed with scores of people intent on soaking up his superb sounds, the mirrorarch, which had been packed before, saw no signs of receding, rather filling out even further as the waves of go-go dancers delighted & then the superb PA performance by Lizzie France well & truly erupted this exceptional event.
However, in contrast to Mr Medina, who was definitely making his mark, as good as both Mattias in the Lightbox & Brent in the raw room were, they were struggling to capture the crowd & the imagination, even though their music was very much in tune with Lovechild & the moment, Javier rather having the lion’s share of the party people. And the already busy main space filled further when two hunky half naked dancers ascended the stage and began a teasing display, slowly revealing their prone assets for all to see, not least Mr scene photographer himself, Chris Jepson, in perfect position to catch these well endowed muscle men’s posing, even D.J. & pal Phil Hewson looking on in amazement. Now, we were going absolutely nowhere, Mr Medina’s music captivating us with every track selection, we spinning on our spot in a-typical Disco Matt dervishness and loving every minute of it.
But, with an unfortunate encounter with one of our clubbing critics, a protagonist that had become intensely personal following an issue at Beyond a few weeks before, our elevated mood was dented considerably and with Javier’s stint nearly over, although looking like it would continue as Gonzalo Rivas had not yet arrived, we headed for the comfort & security of the raw room & Brent Nicholls, who was still spinning his latin infused & funky sounds, his friendly reassuring smile filling us with the confidence we had lost, even Paul Heron’s impromptu arrival helping tremendously, Brent joining in the joviality which made for an altogether pleasant end to our stay at this special Anniversary Lovechild celebration. However, with the call of Beyond, yet the need to drop our excess baggage off at home, Brent dispatched us to say our farewells to Javier, before we made our way out of Fire and into the Vauxhall early morning to reflect on a party with a difference, some for good reasons, others not so.
There is no doubt that, in the room format that we found it, Lovechild this time round had a distinctly different feel and without both the main room & the lounge spaces, was definitely lacking in overall appeal & satisfaction. However, the mirrorarch space very much made up for the missing elements, not least Javier Medina’s performance, which truly captured the essence of Lovechild for us, euro style sounds & macho mesmeric music that was much more akin to the brand rather than the usual uplifting & energetic genres that seem to feature across the London scene so much. That said, Tony English’s performance went down extremely well, we also hearing that Phil Hewson’s set was superb, plus with the calibre of D.J.’s like Brent Nicholls, Mattias Alessandro Londra, & Terry Vietheer, not to mention the prolific PA Lizzie France, there was no short of terrific talent on this special occasion.
However, as good as all these individuals were, not forgetting the drop dead gorgeous dancers on display f course, we cannot escape the fact that the topsy turvy room set up at compared to previous Lovechild’s in Fire, was not just disruptive to the flow of the party, but made it feel completely different, a shame when this was supposed to be a celebration of Fire being this brilliant brands best home so far. Plus, when we heard the main room had been given away to another event, so as to keep the refurbishments fresh for Revolver the following weekend, we were short of dismayed at this move on many counts, mostly, as being one year on, you would have thought the venues management would have allowed its strongest Saturday night brand the free run of the venue it deserved, rather than reserving some final changes to the main room for a crowd that might not (and indeed failed to) materialise. As for Lovechild itself, with expansions into Europe & beyond, life couldn’t be better for Mr Erfan’s lovable club & with London firmly established, we look forward to celebrating many more anniversaries as well as birthday’s to come. (DISCO MATT)
Postscript – Lovechild Music
There is little doubt that Lovechild has & continues to sport one of the strongest resident line-up’s on the capitals clubbing scene, not to mention a host of guest D.J.’s that make the music it plays not just diverse & interesting, but some of the best you will find anywhere. International talents that have graced the clubs decks in the year it has partied hard at Fire have included Albert Neve, Leomeo Carandang, Justin Ryan, Johan Khoury and, of course, Javier Medina, while London based guests extend to Terry Bryan, The Oli, Alan K & Nick Tcherniak. Yet, as this list wasn’t sparkling enough, you then include the list of residents & it truly becomes awesome, Italian’s Pagano, Gabriele Cutrano & Alessandro Londra, Australian’s, Brent Nicholls & Terry Vietheer, Englishmen, Phil Hewson, Tony English, Lee Harris & Jc Christopher, Scot, Paul Heron and Swede, Mattias, even South African Leroy Tayler, a roll call indeed.
But it gets better, as not only is there a special site dedicated to the music of Lovechild, mixes available from the likes of Nick T, Paul H, Mattias, Alessandro, Gabriele & many more, all 13 episodes which can be downloaded from http://lovechildclub.podomatic.com. But, yet more are available via the D.J.’s direct web pages, all worth a look, http://events.leroytayler.podomatic.com, http://justinryan.podomatic.com, http://soundcloud.com/djalessandrolondra, http://funkylondon.podomatic.com (Phi Hewson’s site) & http://soundcloud.com/gabrielecutrano.
However, marking this 1st Anniversary party as only he can do best, is Brent Nicholls, with his compilation entitled “LoveChildOne – Feels Like Fire Mix”, which he describes as “…a collection of funky flavoured nufunk, tech dipped & disco inspired tunes…” and he is not wrong there, our fave tracks being “C’mon Get Funky”, “Let’s All Chant”, “Sweep The Floor” & “Disco Disco Disco” (there’s a surprise), but with 13 more terrific tunes besides, making for what we would describe as a retro meets modern gem of a compilation with the Nicholls magical twist to it. So, this is truly a gorgeous gift to Lovechild on their 1st Anniversary and can be one to you too, by going to http://djbrentnicholls.com and then either scrolling down the home page, or selecting his “music” section.
Finally, the “official” Lovechild Anniversary mix was pressed onto CD for the party & handed out across the evening, this 44 minute marvel mixed by resident D.J. Tony English, which is a glorious collection of both uplifting vocal tunes & euro-style beats, very much evocate of his superb set on the night and is a MUST for your collection. Now, for those of you that weren’t around & didn’t get a copy, the good news is that it will be released on http://lovechildclub.podomatic.com in the next week or so, although in the meantime, if you fancy a copy, then just drop your details to Disco Matt headquarters via firstname.lastname@example.org & we will arrange to forward a copy to you. Plus, for Tony’s regular podcasts, go to http://tonyenglish.podomatic.com.
So, with well over twenty Lovechild inspired mixes available right here, as we love to say, “…sit back, select those sounds, turn up the volume & let them play, as Music Is The Answer…”