Archive for January 10, 2011
There is a lot to be said for a strong club brand, as not only does it stand out against the rest, but it very much attracts a loyal & steadfast following, not just when times are good, but also when the going gets tough and there is no doubt that in Salvation this rings true in every respect, many people still remembering those halcyon days in the capital when it ruled the roost (as opposed to the roast) on Sunday’s, attracting hoards of heavenly house hedonists to an amazing series of scintillating soiree’s come full on clubbing cavorts down at Cafe De Paris, days that will live in our memory for ever, yet are days that have very much set the standard by which all Salvation parties in London are measured by. However, moving to a small succession of new homes did not find quite so much favour, the Hippodrome two New Year’s ago riddled with issues, while the Troxy failed to ignite any sort of fervent following that the brand had enjoyed in the past.
So it was, that Salvation regressed into its international operations, events that saw the brand continue to go from strength to strength, stretching its signature swish style right around the globe, as near as Amsterdam, yet as far as Australia and much in between, although as all encompassing the international operation was & remains, the inevitable question, what about London? has continued to be asked of its promoter Steve Elliot, a question that he has been unable to answer fully & confidently until just three months ago in fact, when news of Salvation’s return to its roots was announced and the dream of recapturing elements of the magic that made this, one of the world’s strongest clubbing brands, big once more in the capital. And whilst going back to those heady Cafe De Paris days was never really an option, what the team achieved was pretty much the next best thing, so all eyes were on Camden come January 1st, when Salvation “The Return” was ready to swing into action.
Arriving at our destination at just turned 8 p.m. on a rather chilly New Years’ day evening, a healthy & indeed lengthy queue of ticket holders & others had already developed outside Koko, the host venue for this Salvation “Returns” event, although there were also handfuls of guests filing into the club, nit least our Brazilian boy beat Lunarde Martins, who bounded up to say hello and join us in a sneaky ciggie before making his way inside. Waiting for our friend & clubbing pal Stephen to arrive, we caught up with the bubbly & friendly door hosts explaining the delay in our entry, but with our liaison complete we were in through the regal Koko entrance and heading into the club proper, a meet & catch up with Salvation team members Pieers & Nabil as well as chats with the handsome & fortunately much better Llywd Morgan, representing Manhunt and then off duty D.J. Mikey D, who was passing by to savour the splendour of this Salvation soiree.
So that’s where we headed, down the theatre like ramp that led into the main auditorium, the baroque delight of tiered levels steeping back from the main arena, which was already brimming with pumping party heads intent on soaking up every morsel that Salvation had to offer, we eventually finding ourselves down onto the dancefloor level and twisting our way through the crowds to get close to the stage. In doing so, we were pleasantly surprised with just how many familiar faces there were around, some from more recent times, but others from those Cafe De Paris heydays, such is the fervent following that Salvation still commands. Having weaved our way to the front, we could now get a full idea as to the extent of the crowd packing out the place already, as well as having a great view of the muscular if but relatively motionless dancers cresting the podiums on the expansive stage, our eyes being drawn towards the D.J. booth at the back where Salvation resident foxy lady, Mis-White, was spinning a scorching selection of sounds, uplifting in their making, but hard hitting in their delivery, very much captivating the crowd who were clearly enjoying every minute of her magnificent music, we even finding time to move & grove to her rousing house renditions in the tight space we found ourselves in.
Deciding to take a look around the expanse of this impressive Koko venue and also to get a bird’s eye view of proceedings, we retreated from our forward spot and ascended the, what seemed like, never-ending tiers of stairs leading up to the exclusive VIP area at the top, each level creating its own unique vantage point of the Salvation shenanigans below and sporting friendly faces from Romano Hendry to Naomi Ruiz, Ben Kaye to Jeremy Precelton and many more besides, our climb to the top worth it, as the view was spectacular. And we made it to our elevated spot just in time to catch the first of two P.A. showings, sandwiching incumbent D.J. Oliver M’s set, the huge screen lowering to conceal the stage, showing the previously absent Salvation visuals that we had been waiting for, Rozella then first belting out two numbers to rouse further an already excited audience, the scantily dressed muscle go-go’s together with cirque du soleil (or should that be Salvation!?!) inspired dextrous dancer framing her pulsating performance.
Now the party was in going off with a bang, Oliver M holding his own impressively, mixing a handful of new tunes like the magnificent Norman Doray remix of Sandy Rivera’s “Hide U” with scores of classic tunes from “Addicted” to “Sundays At Heaven” and plenty more besides, the dancefloor smashes he was selecting clearly going down with the Salvation faithful and throngs that were filling this Koko arena, although we were struggling to find our own top gear of gyration, rather deciding to stand in our spot up on one of the balcony tiers and survey the territory below. But there was certainly no shortage of entertainment, as Oliver’s stand-out set was complimented by an acrobatic display that certainly grabbed attention, as the plucky performer suspended himself high above the crowd clinging & then twisting himself around an inconsequential cloth rope, showing amazing skills as well as brave intentions, we diving down to ground level to take in the full extent of his acrobatic audacity.
With pal Stephen in his own groove we still couldn’t settle on a spot, Koko as good as it was, not really delivering on our intrinsic requirement, so yet another ascension was in order, this time catching up with friend Tom Fuller who was on semi As One/We Party ticket selling duty, but also commenting on what a fervent following this Salvation “Returns” event had attracted. But for us the best was yet to come, as not only did the second PA performance, this time from Tina Cousins herald the addition of some breathtaking lasers, which short of transformed the atmosphere & feel of the place, but the music pace then turned up a few notches as guest D.J. Guy Scheiman took to the decks, delivering a much more impressive & tech fuelled sequence of sounds & tunes, more akin to the international intentions of Salvation and very much warranting his guest slot at this London party, even if it hadn’t been given the headlining position it deserved. Yet in some ways it didn’t matter as it was Guy that was to leave the strongest impression on our evening, really hitting the ground running with his much beefier & bold musical style, the more rounded sound of his selections finding resonance with us, compared with the more mainstream music of before.
But time was against us and whist we wanted to stay & soak up the full extent of the Scheiman splendour on show, our stay in the hands of Salvation at this, its most extravagant & opulent host venue since Cafe De Paris, although our exit from our elevated spot was nearly as lengthy as our entrance, eventually wending our way down the scores of steps to collect our coats and head off to our next engagement with our pal Stephen in tow. But with the party going on well past midnight and reports coming in that the majority of the crowd not only held station but soakied up this whole superb Salvation showing right up till the 2 a.m. finish, is testament to just how well its return was received,
And our verdict? Well you cannot deny that Koko was a brilliant choice by the team to host this first showing in London in close on two years, the numbers through the door extremely impressive given how lack lustre they had been at the last event at The Troxy. To see the place so full must have been heartening for the Salvation crew and deservedly so, as they did put on a prolific party with all the ingredients present that have made Salvation so special over the years, enthralling entertainment, magnificent music & theatrical style shows. All the D.J.’s, in their own ways, delivered delightfully, Guy Scheiman our shining star of this Salvation as his offer was both fresh & fulfilling, although that takes nothing away from either Mis-White or Oliver M who but delivered to expectation and that distinctive Salvation sound. Plus, there was plenty of entertainment on offer to ensure the party had prolific proportions that helped propel this from just any old event into something quite special, the laser lighting & large screen visuals tipping the scales for us in making this a superb rather than a same old Salvation and bodes well for its continuing fortunes in the capital, although as New Year is generally a pretty safe ticket, only time will tell whether the fervent following will continue unabated, although we se no reason why it shouldn’t (DISCO MATT)
If you happened to miss out on this superb Salvation “The Return” event, then fear not as Chris Geary was there from start to finish and has compiled this magnificent video of the party , very much capturing the mood of the event, but also close-up’s of the stage shows, which is an absolute MUST view at http://facebook.com/video.php?v=193416297339276.