If there was one brand that got our attention & devotion the most in 2010, it was promoter Alex Erfan’s lovable club, a whole string of events throughout the year really capturing the imagination, from its inclusion in the years biggie, As One, to its own outings, highlights surely being “Wet”, “Makin Hay” & Hot Tropicana”, while a count of nine individual reviews of this monthly club was only topped by one other, and that was a weekly affair (you can probably guess which). And with it continuing to play out in the capital unrepentantly, was testament to just how it bucked the trend against Saturday night clubbing, it also finding itself expanding where others were contracting, forages into Europe & further afield, seeing it have a superbly successful twelve months, rounding it all off with a convivial Christmas in awe-inspiring Antwerp, which proved something extra special for us.
So, if you follow our reviews, it should be blatantly obvious by now that we could only be talking about Lovechild, a club brand that has slowly but surely found its way where others have lost theirs and has, in our world, established itself as a firm favourite, not quite toppling the big one, but coming close in lots of respects. Alex & his team always manage to keep its offer as fresh as possible, the injection of international guest D.J.’s, just one element that ensure that not one Lovechild feels the same as the last and having not just witnessed it in action in London, but having tripped down to Brighton when it starred in the Dance Nation weekend, not to mention that trip to Diamond city, our associations and, yes, love for Lovechild have blossomed like a rose in spring. So all this meant come this latest affair, even a nasty ear infection wasn’t going to keep us away, although given our plight & predicament, how did our shindig “Snowball” style turn out and what made it so alluringly Aussie?
Finding it difficult to balance due to our infected ear, lots of calls for us to stay indoors & away from any aggravating sound fell on you know what, yes deaf ears, as we made our way to Fire and this latest Lovechild outing, which had a distinctly wintery theme, Alex & co having teamed up with the European Gay Ski week to promote this annual event on the slopes, thus the “Snowball” influence. However, arriving the Vauxhall venue’s doors & to an impressive fire eating display (how appropriate), snow was the last thing on our minds, not least as the D.J. line up had a more than a nod to all things Aussie, very much hinting more to surf than snow, the likes of Johan Khoury & Troy Cox having flown in from Sydney to join fellow antipodeans’ Brent Nicholls & Terry Vietheer, a captivating corked hat combination that, on paper at least, would delight like a dream. With the fire-eating flames avoided, we were greeted by main man Mr Erfan, welcoming us in his usual understated yet sincere fashion, while Simon Patrick, also in attendance, set us straight on our trip into the club and this snowy shindig spectacular.
Dropping off our coat in the check, it was pretty much immediately apparent that the whole feel of the club wasn’t going to be quite the same, nothing to do with Fire or Lovechild so much, but due more to our blocked ear, meaning that not only was our hearing more mono than stereo, but our balance & ability to stand was in considerable question. However, undeterred by our predicament, we took some distinctly gingerly steps into Fire’s main room, grabbing hold of the thankfully positioned rail on the walkway that led us down towards the stage, the place already pumping with action, not least from the direction of the D.J. booth, resident cutie Phil Hewson in charge of the uplifting & rousing sounds, he having literally just landed from a trip to Oz, the first indication that the feel of the night was heading for the surf rather than the snow. But, as good as his music sounded, from our good ear of course, with our balance a little jittery, we headed into the relative comfort of the love lounge space next door, the first real Australian influence being the vivacious & terrifically talented Terry Vietheer, serving up a smart selection of soulful sounds, funky & chunky in their makeup & dream worthy in their delivery, we grabbing a quick hello with this friendly fellow, before heading to the bar for refreshments. And there we bumped into the familiar face of friend & fellow Hard On! follower, Toby, who’s attendance at Lovechild was a little surprising, yet pleasantly so, we forewarning him of our ailments, before he kindly led us back into the main arena, clutching our arm for support.
Finding a spot close to the stage with the wall behind for supportive comfort, we were just in time to see the first of a whole wave of shows from Thiago Drewery’s gorgeous go-go dancers, we also being greeted by an arriving Brent Nicholls, the second of our Aussie influencers for the night, he relatively shocked yet pleased to see us, given his knowledge of our hearing impediment. Mind you, he made the most of our unfortunate situation with his light hearted wit & way, leaving us not only in hysterics but reeling on our feet, causing us to lose balance on more than one occasion, the safety of the stairs next to the stage coming to our fortunate aid. But all this was detracting from the saucy & seductive shows, the dancers attracting plenty of attention, not least from our third audacious Aussie, the handsome & hunky Johan Khoruy, who, unsurprisingly, had himself in pole viewing position of the dancer with the biggest assets, although a quick glance in our direction saw him bound up & wrap his ample arms around us in a welcoming hug that made our tricky trip to this Lovechild love come snow-in all worth the while.
With the first dancing display done along with repeated snow plumes from the specially installed machine covering the heads & shoulders of a whole host of folk, admittedly the only real evidence of this “Snowball” theme, yet effective nevertheless, it was time for us to find safety & solstice in the lounge space, where Mr Nicholls was firing up what would turn out to be our performance of the night, we grabbing a spot by the D.J. booth to dance as deliriously as we could, given our balance & hearing issues, this favoured place allowing us to survey the very special crowd that kept wafting through, far from your a-typical “gAylist” lot, rather an eclectic mix of guys & girls we had rarely seen in Lovechild before, probably a reflection of the month or maybe the broad appeal of the brand. However, balance & hearing apart, Brent was definitely hitting our musical sweet spot, with one favourite track after the next, “Release me”, Now Or Never”, “Trapped” & even “Stereo Love” all getting airplay, the latter sending us into an emotional state & floating our thoughts across the miles to a Lovechild inspired experience far away.
Whilst we were pretty comfortable with our lot in the love lounge, the odd trip across the club saw a main room still alive with action for a while, at least when the stage shows with a stream of sexy strippers attracted an audience, although the mirrorarch space, the home for the infamous Lovechild contact room & play area was more the place to be, Johan Khoury masterminding the magnificent music, uplifting in its intent dynamic in its delivery & rapturous as a result, very much evocative of the euphoric energy of this Aussie & his music, Johan giving this second space a soaking of his superb Sydney inspired sounds and the feeling that you were living it at Live, or delving into Day Wash, such was the feeling we were down under with our man from Oz, rather in London with Lovechild. And with Phil Hewson & new found friend adding their own entertaining elements, we found our second wind it this second room & in our second spot of the evening.
Zooming (well more like weaving, such was our failing co-ordination) back to the love lounge & to Brent, it was evident that what people had been dancing on the main floor had moved in on Mr Nicholls, the space well & truly packed, Alessandro Londra, who had taken over from Johan in the contact room, getting a similar response to his truly scintillating set, meaning the choice of where to lay our final hat was a difficult one. However, with an unexpectedly early closure of the lounge, our Aussie pal sealed the fate on our surfing snowboard of a shindig, we taking the wise choice of saving our deteriorating balance & shielding our vulnerable ear from further excessive sound, rather heading out to the relative calm of a chilly Vauxhall morning, to wobble our way home and reflect on this latest Lovechild instalment in the peace & quiet of our own four walls.
Well, to say that was one of our more interesting Lovechild’s is a tad of an understatement, especially given our ear infection predicament that should have confined us to our home. However, balance & hearing issues aside, we are glad we made the trip, not least as hooking up with our best Aussie mate was just the tonic we needed to raise our spirits & cleanse our souls. As for Lovechild itself, well it had the usual ingredients of magnificent music, super saucy stage shows & plenty of audacious action to chase down. However, as for the “snowball” effect, yes the snow plumes in the main room added an element, but the supposedly virginal look of Fire was distinctly absent, rather with the alluring Aussie action, courtesy of Brent, Terry Vietheer, Troy Cox & the gorgeous Johan Khoury, combined to give it more of a down under rather than an up in the alpine feel, but there was nothing wrong in that. As for the crowd?, well a smattering of scene faces helped break the eclectic (some called it special) feel of the people present, but that said, there is some quite, well lovable about Lovechild, hence why it rose to the top of our 2010 poll (and maybe another’s!) and with the second birthday looming as well as a tour of South Africa, our love affair continues & we will definitely be back for more. (DISCO MATT)
Given the Aussie feel to this latest event, it would be a crime not to share two truly terrific podcasts with you from the guest D.J.’s for the night, Johan Khoury & Troy Cox. Both were commissioned for Lovechild’s, Johan’s very evocative of the sets he plays at Sydney’s club, “Live”, but also reflected his superb set on Saturday, while Tory’s is pure him & pure Lovechild too. So, go grab your slice of Johan & Troy, head for Lovechild’s podcast page at http://lovechildclub.podomatic.com/ where both magnificent mixes feature.