Casting our minds back to when we were twenty, finds us frolicking in the clubs in & around Johannesburg, our informative years having been spent in South Africa, but in moving to London when we did, signalled a real step change in the way we clubbed. And the music we listened to, the hi-nrg sounds of the eighties transforming to the hard house tunes of the nineties with one club shinning out over & above the rest as the real trendsetter in this respect. Plus, setting its stool on a Sunday morning was also very much an evolutionary step for the London scene, especially at a time when the only option after the mainstream clubs closed, were illegal raves for clubbers & cruising for others, this now legendary institution quickly establishing itself as THE place to be & be seen, the place being Turnmills & the club being Trade.
Since its launch back in 1990, Trade has assumed that legendary status with consummate ease, along the way bringing us larger than life character’s, not least its creator Laurence Malice, but also other including the amazing artist, known best as Trade Mark, as well as a host of D.J. talents from Malcolm Duffy, Alan Thompson, Steve (Janet) Thomas, Ian M, Pete Wardman, Gonzalo & who can ever forget, the late great Tony De Vit. And these main room D.J.’s really set the trend for the hard edged Sunday morning partying that went on at Turnmills throughout the 90’s, further enhancements including the introduction of the Trade lite lounge, spurning greats like Guy Williams, The Sharp Boys & Fat Tony, while the post weekly Turnmills years have seen the brand choose venues like The Renaissance Rooms, Colosseum, Area, Fire, Egg, & MOS to lay its specialist night hat, never failing to celebrate its birthday in style somewhere, the most memorable of late being the 18th, which was held at The Arches in Southwark. So, celebrating Trade’s 20th birthday was a given and in returning it the place of those memories of two years ago seemed an incredibly popular move, but how did this landmark anniversary in the clubs history turn out? and what were our huge highlights?
With the anticipation for this 20th birthday building to a crescendo, we found ourselves in a lengthy queue at Arcadia’s (formerly The Arches) doors at not long turned 5.30 a.m., the fevered frenzy feel that used to grip us back in the days of Turnmills back with fervent, our hearts tripping a beat as we patiently waited for our turn to be checked in by the extremely overzealous security on the entrance. Mind you, given the incidents at the 18th birthday, it came as no surprise that the checks were somewhat over the top, clearly slowing the process down, as was the woefully undermanned coat check system once we were inside Arcadia’s walls. However, as with those heady days back in the 90’s, we quickly learnt patience needed to be the order of the day, this being rewarded by our release into the club with fellow Trade party goer Benoit, to grab refreshments at the busy main bar, having already in this short time, caught up with a score or more of familiar faces.
Main room bound, we were keen to check on exactly what the D.J. line up would be, the first room by the entrance already having been laid aside for Gabriele Cutrano to warm the crowd into proceedings, we finding the delectable Per QX opening, not necessarily the start we had expected, the usual form of Malcolm Duffy mysteriously absent. However, we quickly warmed to Per’s electro twisted beats, the main room already filled to brimming, even at this early hour, an indication that this commemorative Trade outing was the lions share choice over any other. Establishing our spot, strangely nowhere near the D.J. booth for a change, we soon bumped into yet more friends & faces from clubbing years past & present, Chris Brogan & co lapping up the building main room atmosphere, even old Trade babies Glen & Maz, two iconic individuals from our years in Turnmills, very much in the thick of the developing action, the Arcadia main room having the closest feel to the former Farringdon home we have experienced. And looking around, the team had certainly gone to extra effort to make it feel as much like Trade & Turnmills as possible, the walls blazoned with Trade Mark artwork, classic trade production hanging from the ceilings & just enough laser lighting to give it that truly decadent & rave house feel that we had so loved back in the club’s heydays.
But, we were keen to investigate further & with the other spaces opening, we ventured forth, first checking out the classic room which was about to get going, then the space opposite, interestingly set aside as a darkroom, and eventually finding our way down to the lite lounge where Circus resident Kris Di Angelis was setting the scene with some sordid sounds. Bounding up to say hello, he seemed as pleased to see us, as we him, our encounter temporarily putting him off his stroke, although it wasn’t long before he was back in the groove & stirring up a storm of terrific tunes to tantalise, so, having found our feet across the expanse of the venue, we headed back into the main room where Nick Tcherniak had taken over the decks duty. Finding favour with each & every track selection, his set slowly built from the more melodic classic Trade sounds through to energetic hard hitting house that had us spinning in a dervish in our spot towards the back of the dancefloor, yet with the space now rammed with party heads, we struggled to find room to dance extravagantly as we had so been used to doing both in the Trade of old & the Beyond of new, eventually finding a spot to swing our pants & settle into his set.
So good was Nick’s music, especially when he pulled out & played the fabulous “My People”, we were in absolute heaven & loving every minute of his magical mixing, our pal Benoit struggling to find his own pace with the tough edged tech sounds, but so many old Trade faces lapping up this 20th birthday bash with gusto. Then, as if Nick had been brilliant enough, up stepped recording partner & Trade original resident Steve Thomas (known affectionately as Janet) upped the ante with an octane fuelled string of sounds that well & truly set the room alight, closing our eyes for moments of his magnificent music, transporting us right back to the 90’s & those tremendous times at Turnmills in his hands. So superb were the sounds & so amazing the atmosphere, we were now going absolutely nowhere, even the massive screen in front of the D.J. booth firing up & displaying iconic Trade visuals to add to the incredible laser lighting & other effects that were giving this main space at Arcadia a fantastic Trade-esque feel.
Now the place was swarming, our extravert moves on the dancefloor only rarely traded for refreshment & relieving stops, the whole venue a veritable feast of eclectic & euphoric Trade followers, very much a who’s who of clubbing and clearly the only place to be on this final day of October 2010. And with the morning hardly half way through, there was so much in store, not only from a prolific PA performance from Lizzie France, who, to our delight, ascended the main room podium right next to us to belt out the Tcherniak & Thomas collaborative EP hit “The Answer”, but didn’t stop there, treating us to three other tracks, before making her leave & handing the controls of this colossal commemoration to Trade over to none other than Pagano. In an instant, this disc spinning maestro had the room in his grip, switching the feel, pace & direction delightfully, swarms of Pagano followers surging forward towards the D.J. booth to soak up his sounds, while the podiums were topped with Logan’s muscle-bound go-go dancers to give this Trade party a distinctive edge.
With the heat of the main room beginning to bite and our pal Benoit in need of some lighter edged music, not to mention a truck load of messages on our phone from a sadly missed & absent D.J. friend, we headed into the lite lounge where Fat Tony had taken charge, flanked by the vivacious vocalist Tonnic, ready to take the space by storm. And that they did, the room a wall to wall sea of bare chested bodied man hunks & glorious girls, all intent on non-stop dancing to Tony’s towering tracks, while, like in the main room before, we quickly found our feet re-tuning ourselves to this more uplifting & accessible musical magic, this time positioning ourselves in our favoured spot, yes you guessed it, just left of the D.J. booth, fighting off the perspiration & heat of this lite lounge love-in, as Tonnic delightfully added her vocal infusions to the scintillating sounds been selected. Now Benoit was in his own heaven, the feel more akin to Beyond than Trade, although we knew exactly where we were, memories of two years ago flooding back in our minds, only the stifling heat stopping us in our tracks in favour of respite out on the rain soaked smoking terrace and the occasional dive into the main room.
With morning turning to afternoon & the a list crowd showing no signs of dissipating, we continued to savour the delights of this awesome Trade anniversary, the lite lounge finding favour over the other spaces, many familiar faces also finding their way there, we catching up with the pals Michelle Thornber, Clayton Wright, Tom Marchant, Clington Forbes, Tamsin Roberts, Joel Thomson, Guy Williams & many more, all soaking up the lite lounge sounds, even bumping into yet more faces old & new. Plus, catch up moments out in the terrace, including those with Simon Patrick & Pagano himself, matched by earlier liaisons with Per QX, Lee Yeomans, Mauricio Ortiz, Paul Weller, Adam Barr, Gabriele Cutrano, Ross Patterson & Hassan Hatoum, to mention just a few (we can’t leave out Glen & Maz of course), meant that this party was living up to its billing as not the place to be but the gAylist place to be. Indeed, the constant wave of people either saying their hello’s to us as Matt or as Disco Matt, some recognising us from recent times, others from the past, all combined to make this one of the more memorable events in our clubbing year thus far.
But, as truly terrific this Trade birthday bash was, our decadent delighting had to come to an end, the stifling heat in the lite lounge having drained us of most if not all of our energy, an upsetting encounter in the main room sealing our departure fate, not to nicest end to this prolific party that we had wanted, although the mound of mesmeric minutes we have experienced throughout our nine hour marathon far outweighing this unfortunate end to our day. So, waving farewell to Arcadia & Trade, we sauntered into the West End to recharge our batteries & gather ourselves for the next instalment in our weekend of wonderment at DTPM’s “Eastbenders” bash, yet still full of tremendous moments of Trade magic etched on our mind & in our soul that would mean it would be hours before the euphoria of this epic encounter with the mother of all clubbing brands wear off.
Trade, having dominated our lives throughout the nineties, can be held solely responsible for shaping our clubbing world. Yes there have been so truly ground breaking clubs since that have & still form a major part of our lives, the iconic Crash being one & Beyond undoubtedly the other. Yet, as much as Trade is now only an occasional outing, it still holds all that magic it did back in those heady days of Turnmills. And with its 20th birthday bash, the brand proved that it remains just as decadent, just as debaucherous & just as delightful as it always was. Whilst Arcadia did prove a brilliant host venue, the heat of both the main room & the lite lounge was sometimes too much to bear, plus the overzealous security did put a dampener on the party for some, reports coming in of sporadic checks for no reason, an unfortunate result of issues from two years before, added to the fact that the place was a little on the dirty side for others.
However, that said, Trade’s 20th lived up to our expectations & more, real highlights coming in the shape of scintillating sets from Nick Tchernaik, Steve Thomas & Fat Tony, even the vocal infusions from Lizzie France, Tonnic & friend, adding extra spice to an already enormous event that has to go down as another titanic Trade triumph. But, all the highlights aside, what really made the party were the people, a magnificent mix of old faces & new, all intent on having the best time possible & making the most of this mesmeric mash up as only Trade & a handful of other parties can achieve. Plus, the news that Laurence’s brand will be back for more on a regular basis, should sufficiently shake up the scene & give it the injection of energy it needs, leaving us to raise our glass to Trade & its Tremendous Twenty Turn and may we wish it plenty more. (DISCO MATT)