Archive for December 30, 2010
Ever since we first dipped our toe into the international clubbing arena, toe being the optimum word, as it was the Supersized Pool Party in Paris where we did our first bit of international dipping, we have been yearning to fill our clubbing calendar with trips away from London to pastures new. Indeed, brilliant Berlin was to prove one of our most enchanting experiences of the year, capturing not just Hustlaball & Salvation, brands that we have been used to back here in the capital, but also jumped at the opportunity to take in a slice of the breathtaking Berghain. However, as good as both excursions to the German & the French capitals were, it was our Christmas cavorting with the Lovechild crew that was to top our year of outings, Antwerp proving to be the jewel in our crown of clubbing trips abroad. But hang on, this is sounding more like a yearly round up rather than a reflection of our latest trip, one that we had been so looking forward to since the date was announced back in September and a journey that was to prove both emotionally enthralling & enlightening.
Now, there is no surprise that Lovechild has been very much one of the biggest success stories of 2010, as not only has it survived the struggling Saturday market back in blighty, but is has well & truly thrived internationally, a whole string of superb showings at destinations that have included Amsterdam, Cologne, Istanbul, Paris, Rome and even Johannesburg & Sydney. However, probably its biggest bash & success was when it joined forces with the might of La Demence on their anniversary weekend, touching down on Antwerp’s Red & Blue club, presenting a special “Gods & Monsters” event which was a sell-out smash, reports coming in after the event that coach loads of people were still arriving at 4 a.m., a staggering five hours after the club had opened, to get a slice of this outrageously extravagant outing. So, with such as success on their hands, it was no surprise that the team from Red & Blue wanted Alex Erfan & his loveable team back for more, choosing Christmas Day as the next event in the emerging affair between Lovechild & Antwerp.
It is fair to say that Christmas now rarely gets us excited, we much preferring New Year as the time to act like we are still a child (well that’s stretching it a little), maybe more like a teenager (even that’s pushing it!) although this year was going to be oh so different as the day arrived with alarming speed and we found our early wakeup call speeding us across (under in fact) the channel to a snow swept Belgium and our rendezvous with Red & Blue, in the captivating company Lovechild’s head poncho Alex Efan and a supporting cast of D.J. Alessandro, host Chrissy Darling, P.A. Lizzie France & stage showsters Bruno Knight & Ben Brown. And with our best Christmas in recent memory already signed sealed & delivered by amazing Antwerp, not least by a welcome in our hotel that surpassed any we had experienced, we found ourselves at Red & Blue’s doors with our Lovechild lot, all ready to prepare for what we later discovered was the clubs first ever Christmas Day event, expectations suitably muted and being echoed by the chilly climate & sporadic snow showers outside, although nothing was going to dampen our spirits on Schipperskapelstraat.
Arriving early as we did, allowed us to take a look around the venue, a very smart and clean affair compared to compatriot clubs back in London, the bare brick wails giving the place a sophisticated feel, as were the modern industrial touches against the luminous lighting & traditional furnishings, all making for one of the most impressive interiors we had seen for a long time, the addition seasonal touches including a three massive Christmas trees suitably positioned for maximum effect, while the already luminous lighting was made even more breathtaking by a dangling display of neon blue lit streamers that made an sparkling statement. And with our first impressions box filled with a massive tick (a trademark of this whole weekend), resident D.J. Ruben Winters arrived to whisk us away for a chat & catch up, leaving the Lovechild lot to prepare for this very special Christmas cracker, while we took the chance to delve deeper on Ruben’s D.J.’ing in the comfortable surroundings of a local bar, before heading back to the lure of Lovechild. Despite expectations of a tepid turnout, the club had actually filled considerably by the early hour of midnight, we finding position at the top bar with Mr. Winters, having dropped our bits & bobs off in the dressing room & catching a moment with Alex, Chrissy & co. From our vantage point with Ruben, we could survey the territory in front of us, the dancefloor already pulsating with party heads, some even up on the stage & podiums, relishing the renditions of heavenly house music from resident D.J. Elof De Neve, we even getting to meet the man in motion behind the decks, Alex giving us an introduction to this charming chap & his crew.
Now we were keen to make the most of this Lovechild affair with Antwerp at Red & Blue, testing out a few spots on the dancefloor before settling on one that fitted the best, although on this occasion to the right rather than spookily was just shy of the D.J. booth on the right as opposed to our usual left, this position giving us a perfect view of the stage & the superb Red & Blue sign that dominated the space, as well as the bank of screens around, spotted by a simple swivel of the head. And it was here where we took in the full extent of not one, two or three, but five sparkling showings by the Lovechild cast of performers, first the delectable go-go dancers, centre-pieced by Bruno & Ben, both dressed to the high pins in suits that would later be stripped off to the delight of the amorous audience, then by host Chrissy Darling, sporting her colossal costume headpiece that has so become her trademark and finally by D.J. Alessandro assuming centre stage behind a smart set of decks balanced atop two massive modelled hands that made a superb statement of their own, the icing on the Lovechild “Christmas Party” cake being the arrival of prolific P.A. Lizzie French, who immediately captivated the crowd with her presence, pounding out a succession of dance tune smashes, including her very own “The Answer” EP release.
With the party in full swing and we having very much found our stride with the magnificent music from by Elof & Ale, mixes of euro-style and tech house beats blended in with uplifting & espaniol vocal master-pieces had us spinning in a dancing dervish just as though we were back in Beyond, the glances from fellow Red & Blue frolickers testament to some of the attention we were attracting with our audacious antics. But our night was only going to go from strength to strength with more introductions to folk from both Alex & Bruno, then, as we headed to the bar for refreshments, being caught by surprise by the small but perfectly formed & beaming Lesley, who had made our welcome in Antwerp so wonderful just a day before, was our cake icing. So, with a gracious return to his hospitality in hand, we spent some special moments with our angelic aide before duty called with a return to our spot to soak up the stream of shows & mesmeric music, which included Mr Knight’s angle grinding display, Lesley even joining us in our escapades for a short while, before retreating to the comfort of his own preferred spot (see we all have them!). Mind you he missed out in the continual plumes of snow & ticker tape that added to the amazing atmosphere, ice cannon blasts keeping the heat down but the party pace up, Chrissy adding her own cannon catapults from the stage to the delight of the dancefloor dudes below.
Such was the extent of our enjoyment, we were now firmly in clubbing overdrive, having very much over indulged in lots of ways, although we really wanted to savour all that Ruben Winters could deliver from his set, we doing our best to hold station for his showing, following the final curtain call from the Lovechild lot, who all assumed the stage for their spectacular serenade by Lizzie France. However, with this curtain call done, so were we, the extent our devotions turned to another, as we attempted to rally the troupes to join us in some magical minutes with Mr Middleton, we trying to grab Ruben’s attention before withdrawing from our spot to be by Lesley’s side. With Alex joining us for a moment, the others were obviously exhausted from their own outrageous escapades, not least Chrissy who had made a connection of her own with the cute cameraman which certainly climaxed her evening exceptionally, as had ours been for reasons & company of our own. So, with this Red & Blue affair coming to a close, we waved goodbye to the splendours of Schipperskapelstraat to wend our way back to our hotel, still floating in the clouds of complete captivation for the amazement of Antwerp Lovechild style.
It isn’t often that the place & the people exceed those of the music & motion in a clubbing event which we visit, whether home or abroad, although with the resounding brilliance of Red & Blue as a venue along with the cosmically captivating company we held throughout the night, they pretty much did & certainly spoke for our volumes. Yes we were immensely impressed with the performances of resident D.J.’s Elof De Neve & Ruben Winters, indeed they would certainly find favour even with the pickiest of party people in London, the contrasting styles of the two working extremely well with the progressive style of the club and Alessandro sandwiching the two like butter to bread. However, as good as they were, as good were the spectacular showings by Bruno & his boys, as well as Chrissy’s cavorting, it was the crowd, the venue and the company that tipped our scales, a more obliging, a more mixed and a more welcoming bunch of beauties we couldn’t have asked for. And whilst the club was never packed, considering it was their first Christmas Day outing & that the weather clearly had taken its toll, both Lovechild and Red & Blue should be well pleased with the outcome, as we know we were. Plus to leave the club & the city with our heads dreamily in the clouds and, five days later, still struggling to pull our feet back to the ground, is an incredible indication of the impression made on us during our amorous amazement in Antwerp, meaning we will be back for more for sure. (DISCO MATT)
We wanted to take this opportunity of thanking the following people, without whom our Christmas in Antwerp would not have been the splendidly special time it was, each and every person making it a Christmas to remember for a very long time to come. The list is in no particular order but cannot be complete without one, who has made an indelible impression us. So to Alex Erfan, Alessandro Londra, Ben Brown, Bruno Knight, Chrissy London Darling, Elof De Neve, J.d. Cerronez, Lesley Middleton, Lizzie Jane France, Patrik Danser, & Ruben Winters, thank you one & all.
Plus, why not get a slice of Lovechild at Red & Blue through the specially commissioned mix by Alessandro London, available to download at http://djalessandrolondra.podomatic.com/ as well as Ruben Winter’s recording of his set live at this “Christmas Ball” event which is out now at http://soundcloud.com/d-jayme/red-n-blue-december-02