We look back over the years and find a whole host of clubs that have become bywords for hedonism, for decadent behaviour and outright debauchery, Trade probably heading a cast that includes FF, Sherbert, Warriors & Medikation in pushing the boundaries of normality and sending us into clubbing territory that we never thought we would tread. But tread we did, often extending our weekends deep into Monday morning then opting out of sleep as we assumed the normality of our office working week switching the dancefloor for the desk, often collapsing in an exhaustive state come Monday night. Yet, whilst nearly all these clubs were a product of the nineties, it was the noughties that would sport what has become the naughtiest of afterhours debauchery, Orange, which has pretty much dominated the Monday morning market for ten years and now in its twelfth, seems to have breathed new life into itself, spurning a whole new following that fails to flinch with the concept of partying deep into the working week.
Yet for us, Orange is a pretty irregular occurrence, as Monday morning generally signals us landing from a weekend that has started on a Thursday and rarely stops still Sunday. Yet, come a Bank Holiday or extended weekend, Orange always seems to throw up some of the best events around, whether it be at their traditional home, Fire, or over at Area, which has sported some prolific parties, their “Summer Of Love” series just one of many examples that have really done it for us, a host of afterparties throughout 2010. Indeed, in recognition of just how good Orange can be, we awarded it best afterparty slot of the year, an accolade well deserved as Orange never failed to deliver throughout the year, extending our weekends well beyond the boundaries of normality in deliciously debaucherous fashion. So, as 2011 dawned, we were faced with yet another afterparty treat, this time following the massive WE Attacks at The Coronet, although having been such an energy draining weekend, would Orange survive to tell the tale and just how did this latest afterparty in a long series of successes fare?
Having taken an hour or so to re-charge our batteries from the WE Attacks main event, feeling a little out of sorts we toyed with the idea of giving the afterparty a miss, but in true London original party boy style, we headed down to Fire and to the attraction of Orange in this first bank Holiday Monday of the year. Finding ourselves inside the smart new Fire entrance at not long turned 8 a.m., a short wait at the coatcheck soon let us loose on the club proper, the first port of call being the bar for beverage refreshment to set us on our way. So, in typical fashion we sought to find our bearings, heading down the new elevated sidewalk to the right hand side of the extended & new look main room, which was pretty full of revellers, surprising considering that the New year weekend had been so long, yet un surprising in the fact that London & gayland London particularly, has become renowned for stretching the boundaries of normality, Orange a perfect example of the theory rolling out into practice.
Before we could investigate the second, RAW room space, we bumped into a beaming Guy Scheiman, whom we had met & gained an introduction, just hours before at The WE Attacks event, Guy leading us through to the Mirrorarch room to grab a concentrated chat about all things music, writing & the New Year in general, he also dropping into our colourful conversation, his up-coming birthday as well as his commitment to a return flight home later in the day, all hinting towards his early departure, although with a promise that we would catch up later, we let him loose to retire. But as one liaison ended, another started, the ever adoring Minty right behind us and consumed with a very good looking man who was definitely making her morning. So, whilst this Minty meet was right up our street, to save feeling like a gooseberry in her man meat pie, we headed off in the direction of the D.J. booth to say our hello’s to Hifi Sean, who was in charge of the deep & delicious house that was beginning to fill out this RAW room space, a dart onto the dancefloor also catching a foursome of familiar faces whom we had partied with on the Thames not two months before and whom had since become clubbing companions at many an event.
However it was clear that we weren’t quite on top form, our feet a little agitated and our head a little dizzy, leaving us a tad undecided as to which space should get our devotion, a dive into the main room, which was now packed to the rafters, resigning us to squeeze into a spot just left of the D.J. booth (surprise, surprise), while both Fat Tony and the terrific Tonnic stoked up the already amazing atmosphere even more. And having seen this duo in action so many times, it did make us feel more at ease with our lot, Tonnic’s skilful use of vocals in adding spice to Tony’s sound selections, not overpowering & domineering like some could be, rather her timely additions adding just the right amount of tasteful tones to the treats of tracks Mr D.J. was delivering, the outrageousness of the Orange crowd at its brilliant best, not least one individual on the small stage, wearing a pig’s head costume that was grabbing amazement & attention from admirers around. Finding our stride, we slid into a more sizeable space to strut our stuff, giving us an opportunity to savour the much improved Fire main room in full swing, the laser lighting & the Orange production & pyro’s adding to the ever building atmosphere of the official WE afterparty, Fat Tony & Tonnic doing their bit brilliantly.
Now we seemed to be getting back into our party mood, although as the area continued to fill and the party people poured in, our need for space to dance overwhelmed our desire to soak up the sounds, so we headed outside in need of air & respite for a while, once again catching up with Minty, but also with Booster boy Romain Lopez and then the ever attentive & generous Steven Sharp, not just Orange’s supreme promoter, but an amazing D.J./Producer to boot, as well as a much missed main man at Beyond. Indeed we took this moment to remark on just how much we missed him at the helm of our favourite afterhours, Beyond very much holding a special place in our heart and under Steven’s steership, enjoying some of its best days & exceptional events, not least “Tokyo” back in October, which was our best of that year. However, this is taking nothing away from his efforts at Orange, indeed the club saw a major resurgence in popularity during 2010 due to his efforts, hence we lauding our special commendation on him for his services to the scene throughout the year.
But cutting back to the chase, it was the WE Afterparty that called for our attention and with our long chat with Steven, Romain & Minty over, it was time to soak up more of the superb sounds on offer inside, David Jimenez now in charge of the tunes in the RAW room, while it seemed the unstoppable Fat Tony was still packing them in on the main room dancefloor, we struggling to find any sort of space by the stage, resigning us to a position at the back of the room, albeit that we could get an all-encompassing view of the audacious action unfolding. And from this new found expanse, at least we had the room to stretch our legs and entertain a little of the “Doing The Disco Matt” dancing we love so much, one individual determined to get us swinging on our spot as he spun himself around us continually, craving for a little attention maybe, but definitely in a happy party mood, as were pretty much everyone in this madcap main room of Orange outrageousness. However, with the inevitable conclusion that we weren’t quite on top form and the ravages of the previous three days of non-stop indulgence taking its toll, we were destined to hang up our dancing boots for another weekend at least, waving farewell to this final fling in our New Year forays, heading home to hit our pillow and ponder over this citric colossus in consummate comfort.
Orange has always proven to be the perfect ending to a full on Bank Holiday of pristine partying, it having gained the reputation as the best brand to entertain afterparty’s, examples of which littered the listings in 2010 and this first outing of the year proved to be just the same. However, with the weekend having been an exhaustive one for many, some starting at Beyond on NYD and not stopping until here, hence fitting in a possible eight or so parties, it came as no surprise that this WE wave-off wasn’t quite as packed as expected. However, in this Orange event, we cannot deny that it more than did its job and with standout showings from both Fat Tony & Tonnic, as well as a superb supporting cast of Hifi Sean, David Jimenez & Gonzalo, there couldn’t have been a better way to round off our weekend romp of enthralling events that counted to a mere six. And whilst our stay was shorter than we would have liked, from what we saw, it proved a success, plus evidence that Orange remains a force to be reckoned with in the afterhours & afterparty market, although whether it & its promoter receive the accolades they deserve will remain to be seen, that said, they certainly get & got our vote. (DISCO MATT)