Archive for January 22, 2011
There can be no other brand in our lifetime that has received quite so much accolade as Beyond has, this truly colossal club having dominated our lives for all but one year this century, that because it simply wasn’t around in the year 2000. However, from the early captivating days of Colosseum, through to the more recent amazing times at Area, Beyond has not only been a cornerstone in our clubbing, but has consistently been an intrinsic ingredient in our New Year celebrations. Memories of queuing in the rain by Nine Elms, braving the chilling cold on Albert Embankment, but then being blown away by its sheer brilliance, has meant that Beyond holds higher regard than any other club we know and as much of the whole essence of Beyond is the audaciousness of its afterhours qualities, it is also about the music & moreover the music makers that have forged this unrepentant love affair we have with the brand.
So, as we feel in Love with Beyond back in 2001, mourned what was a temporary passing in 2006, then heralded its return in 2008, two years on the brand not only survived in a tough old world, but seemingly went from strength to strength, building on its solid foundations in the capital, with forays to Brighton & Manchester, to Amsterdam & Paris and even as far as Mykonos, sharing with our international clubbing compatriots, the magic that beyond seems to posses in endless amounts. And this uncompromising ability to showcase some of the best parties the scene had seen this last year, it was inevitable that it would not only play host to our birthday bash but would also scoop a whole series of our own awards, not least best club of 2010. Yet as 2011 dawned we found ourselves somewhat absent & missing out on Beyond’s first outing of the year, a packed to the rafters affair which would surely be a hard act to follow, but as second so often proves to be sweetest, 2nd January was our moment to let Beyond leave us breathless.
Arriving at a chilly Area entrance at not long before 7 a.m., a little late for us, although with As One having tucked at our heart strings for longer than expected, we were greeted by the ever present Tom, who clearly had his hands full managing the door in a way that only he knows best, although even this master of entrance ceremonies was clearly being kept very busy, such was the popularity & penchant for this, the second Beyond in two days. So, with our smooth entry sorted & a quick hello to hostess Chrissy Darling over, we were in the club and in the massive queue to put our coats in, the lack of organisation of late evidenced by the long wait we had to endure. However, with the main room doors swung open, we took the option of choosing the front coatcheck as our drop off point, a further wait ensuing, bit with the patience & virtue of a king, we were soon released into the action, heading straight for our spot and a liaison with Steve Pitron who had just started & playing our track of the moment, the fabulously funky “Now Or Never”.
With our embarrassment of two days previously at his party over & done with, Mr Pitron returned to the decks to send us into a dancing dream with yet another truly spectacular showing, the Beyond main room erupting before our eyes , the podiums quickly filing and our spot swelling too, so much so, that we traded spaces with a whole host of party heads intent to soaking up their own slice of Steve, a veritable feast of familiar faces, as always, passing us by, including our beauty of a Brazilian Celso Moura (Steve’s other half), female friend Sophie Perrson, a nonchalant Nick Evans, the full of beans Clington Forbes, our Barcode boy Eduardo, the ever present Lee Harris, as well as another off-duty D.J. the hunky Jamie Hammond, plus a whole raft of others that added up to a space staked with Beyond supporters ready to paint the club red right through till Sunday afternoon. And Steve was really giving it gusto behind the decks, serving up one terrific track after the next, from the classic (and his anthem it has to be said), “Here Comes The Rain”, through to the more modern “Commander”, & “Show Me Your Love”, along with yet another “Addicted” re-work and the mother of them all, “Release Me”, which clearly sent into a dancing dervish, although our spot, like back in May the previous year, had been virtually totally infiltrated, resigning us to the corridor behind to share our “Doing The Disco Matt” moves with pal Stephen who had joined us for a moment or two.
Such was the extend of this perfect Pitron performance, we only glanced at the time on our phone as Gonzalo Rivas walked past, clearly he arriving to take over where Steve was about to leave off, the line-up being a main room mirror of that we had enjoyed back on our birthday bash, our Spanish star, assuming the decks and immediately giving us a second turn of “Now Or Never”, this tracks starting 2011 top of our pile & looking being, like “Release me” had been for such a long time, the Disco Matt anthem. But, having dancing like crazy for the whole of Steve’s wet, it was time for a short respite, we taking our usual course round the rear of the main space & then up through the Chapel room, our advance towards the outside space stopped in its tracks by a packed & pulsating space, that had Hifi Sean at the helm, we weaving through the cavorting crowd to pop up by the booth & wave a New year hi to our jovial jock, our diversion delighting even more, as we stumbled on friends Michele Thornber, Rob Ferguson, & Lee Yeomans, we suddenly turning as a tap on our shoulder revealed the man that always leads us astray, Nick Tcherniak beaming a welcoming smile in our direction, while partner Tom Marchant also turned to say hello.
So, it was here that we laid our hat for a while, slowly shaking off the exhausting heat of the main room and moving & grooving to Sean’s deep house sounds that soon had us ducking & diving in manic moves with Nick, a further shoulder tap resulting, this time, in a glorious greeting from incumbent D.J. & brilliant Bello, Alessandro Londra, this saucy Sicilian making his Chapel room debut, the excitement clearly showing on his face, although a fair amount of nerves running through his veins. However, for us, it was the need for some t=fresh air that was consuming our minds & souls, so went in search of just that, weaving our way through a packed Sunrise Terrace room banging to the beats of Fat Tony, we rather sliding outside to savour some of that cooling climate that quickly turned to freezing fathoms, just enough time to catch a sneaky ciggie (yes we’re giving up on 4th Jan) & a catch up with Chrissy, our hostess with the mostest (or is that moistest?!), before braving it back indoors.
Finding a now relaxing Tom Fuller, we offered up a New Year drink with him, attemting to select a spot where we were not crushed from the rush and also had the chance for a chat, choosing the bar at the head of the main room as our landing spot, Gonzalo clearly still in full control & fusing funky, chunky, uplifting & downright delicious dance tracks together tremendously, Tom grateful for this moment away from the action, he remarking that it had been a good 30 or so days since he had taken a proper break away from work, although with a holiday in the sun looming, this was the time to relax. But our relaxing was far from over, as further dips into the Chapel room for Sean & then Alessandro were in order, along with re-assuming our spot in the main space, Mr Rivas reaping rapturous renditions of superb sounds on a room that just kept craving for more, the continual stage appearances by Elektra Paris, Shaun Capewell & co, adding spice to proceedings, while the amazing area lighting & lasers, along with pyrotechnic explosions elevated an already amazing atmosphere to even dizzier heights. But as good as this second Beyond bash of 2011 had become, the heat from the main room, added to by the exhaustion of As one before it, resigned us to an early bath, the noted absence of Alan K sealing the fate on our foray, rather we heading out into the Vauxhall morning light and wending our way home to take stock of a splendid start to the year, not just from a NYE party at Pitron’s, a superlative stint at Salvation & the awesome affair that was As One, but the icing on the brilliant cake that was this breathtaking Beyond.
In summing up we have pretty much done soalready in these words, “breathtaking” & “brilliant”, two adjectives that we often use in describing our most favourite of afterhours, Beyond having climbed to the top of our all time greatest pile and in both our birthday bash back in December and this latest & first of our outings in its hands in 2011, combined with scooping our best club of 2010 award for the towering “Tokyo” triumph back in October, looks set to continue this year where it left off last, as the biggest draw in our week and the one club where we can say with conviction, that we are right at home with, especially in our spot. As for this second is sweetest shindig, there were myriads of magical moments to add to the memory banks, Hifi Sean’s set, Gonzalo Rivas’ showing, the host of familiar & friendly faces, our time with Tom and our chat with Chrissy all examples, but towering above them all, was that precision perfect performance from Mr Pitron, Steve once again setting the scene & selecting the sounds that spun us the most, making us smile from ear to ear in ecstasy and something that you simply cannot beat. (DISCO MATT)
Had we been on top form this last week, we would have lauded a full on preview of a birthday bash that truly deserves our attention, as this clubbing brand has been setting the standard for hip hop & happening nights in the London mixed race, mixed gender & generally mixed music taste crowd that have craved for something a little alternative to the same old, same old gay clubbing, this groundbreaking brand offering that & a whole lot more right from its launch back in 1991, at a time when being a little different in society was still very much frowned upon. Yet, Queer Nation has stood the test of time, survived along with only a handful of the fittest and as it celebrates 20 years in existence, is looking just as fit as it did in its informative days, promoter Patrick Lilley and his band of merry men & women, continuing to cut that edge & step that stride, not just rubbing shoulders with, but giving its bigger brands a real run for their money.
So, tonight (Sat 22nd Jan), Queer Nation has a birthday bash that will blow the mind, as its latest home, Fire in Vauxhall, plays host to one of the biggest parties & one of the most spectacular collections of eclectic people & minds it has seen. And such is the penchant for this party, that Patrick has decided to extend the event across three rooms of fun, starting with the “House Nation” main room, which will sport the likes of regular residents Supadon & Pierre Ned, as well as D.J. Connoisseur and special guest, making a welcome return to the Queer Nation decks, Gutterslut’s head poncho & our very own super Swede, Per Q,X, who is riding his usual ecstatic electro, tech & funky filled house, so will be lavishing lots of that funk on you all tonight. Then we turn to the “Disco Nation” (we love the name!) room, where Jeffrey Hinton will rule the roost, although main man Mr Lilley will be getting an extra special look in on the decks too (something to watch out for), while no Queer Nation would be the same without heaps of modern style rhythm & blues as the “R’n’B Nation” third space will sport the likes of Big John Freeman, Isaac & Jamel.
So, what’s Queen Nation all about and what’s it been doing these past twenty years. Well, let’s pause for a quick delve into their history, to give you an idea just why this has become such an iconic institution. The brainchild of main man Patrick Lilley, this now legendary club started life at The Gardening Club before moving to what, for us, were the heyday’s of its existence at the fabulous Substation South in Brixton, Queer Nation providing a neat alternative for the mixed race & audience that it attracted in huge numbers and a love affair with life by Electric Avenue lasted a good 10 years or so. However, it was a sad day when Mr Lilley called time on the brand, like many suffering from the “Vauxhall strangling effect”, although, ironically, it would be Vauxhall that would be its saviour, Queen Nation’s short life at Pendulum in Soho, seeing it spring back over the river and into life at Barcode, a run of three parties bringing back a sense of the special feel it had developed ay Substation. But, with club politics getting in its way as well this latest venue’s ridiculously stupid miss-placed loyalties, the breakdown a short lived relationship was on the cards and the actions of what was proving to be the perfect home for Mr Lilley’s outstanding outing, risked pushing Queer Nation back into obscurity. As a result, an olive branch hand was needed to see it survive once again, so in stepped The Orange Group and Queer Nation re-established itself in Vauxhall, slotting into the hectic monthly schedule of the group, as well as playing its part on major weekends from time to time, the clubs new home, Fire, giving Patrick & his team the flexibility they needed to offer two, sometimes three separate spaces, catering for the varied styles of music the brand has become renowned for, New York house, funky electro beats, plenty of pop disco & a healthy dose of R’n’B to boot.
So with that quick whizz through time & the “water under the bridge” history laid to rest, what else can you expect from this special 20th birthday bash at Fire tonight?. Well, there will be plenty of exciting performances for a start, not least from Jessica Mitchell, who will be mixing it up with the men in “House & Disco Nation” rooms, while the truly fabulous Total Beur, who will be landing on London direct from gay Paris, this dance troupe braving it with the boys in the R’nB room. Then there is of course Patrick, who is sure to hold fort in all three rooms and when this man gets going with a mic or on the stage, it is a sight to behold. Both Isaac & Jamel are renowned entertainers, so plenty of fun will be had there, while no Queer Nation party would be the same without the influence of Clington Forbes, who will be treating us to a whole heap of dance displays throughout the night. Add to that the inclusion of a special guest, the one & only Luke Howard, who will be playing alongside Patrick & Jeffrey Hinton in the “Disco Nation” room, and this, is one birthday you will not want to miss.
Now to the all important detail and Queer Nation’s 20th Birthday kicks off tonight (Sat 22nd Jan) from 11 p.m. at Fire in Vauxhall, the club running through until 7 a.m. with advance tickets still available online via special link http://fire.clubtickets.com/gb/2011-01/22/queer-nation-20th-birthday priced at a mere £10, but please note folks, this price & availability is EXCLUSIVELY on-line, so get clicking, although should you wish to pay on arrival, more will be available on the door, but priced at £15. However, we highly suspect that discount entry vouchers will be banded around Soho this Saturday evening, so keep your eyes peeled for Tom & his band of flyer boys and see you on the House & Disco dancefloor from 11 p.m., now don’t be late and as we always say, “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)