Archive for July 2011
It was just last weekend that we took a serious look at our Weekend Recommendations newsletter, our format of “Best Bites & Short Shouts” having been running for close on six months, although the concept behind it for much longer. However, as we detailed in our report, “Best Bites On A Break” (direct link http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/reports-best-bites-on-a-break-weekend-recommends-newsletter-review-saturday-23rd-july/), we questioned the possible favouritism we were adopting by choosing certain bars, clubs & events over others and in so doing decided that, for this newsletter at least, we would trial a new look & a new direction, as our title here suggest, making it less exclusive & more inclusive, covering more by mentioning less & setting aside our preferences for other posts like our Weekend Focus & Extra Bites reports.
As a result, the new, or should we say, trial newsletter is here, our “Bar Bites & Club Cuts” aimed at running you through what’s on offer across Soho Vauxhall & elsewhere, but in the Short Shout rather than the Best Bite format, yet still retaining that element of where we think you should be & be seen on the scene. So, let’s crack on, although with the format as new to us as it is to you, hold on tight as we whistle-stop tour you through the highlights of what’s on offer this weekend.
To Soho first & Profile Bar, always a good way to start your weekend, this one being no exception as tomorrow night (Fri 29th) Jamie Hammond makes a welcome return to the scene, warming up your weekend from 8 p.m., while on Saturday its scene stalwart Rob Sykes’s turn to do the same. Now, don’t forget the happy hour, which runs daily from 4 p.m. till 7 (all night on Monday), while their food offer just has to be sampled, full details of the menu & other offerings available via their website at http://profilesho.com.
Downstairs at Lo-Profile it’s another “Society” Friday, the team welcoming Nathan Six & D’Johnny to the decks, so expect plenty of beefy beats to match these music making men’s physique’s, while the go-go dancers will also pop your eyes out (maybe something else too!), while on Saturday we hear cheeky Czech, Andrea Drudikova, is playing hostess with the moistest, sorry mostest, the club having a real Beyond flavour to it with Gonzalo Rivas & Mikey D on the decks., so surely a night not to be missed. With doors opening both nights at 11 p.m. & the club running through till 4 a.m., entrance is £8, while more details on these & other events can be found at http://loprofile.com.
To Rupert Street and having celebrated their 15th birthday last weekend, its business as usual this, D.J. duties going to main resident Alessandro Londra which picks up both Friday (29th) & Sunday (31st), while he is sandwiched by Brent Nicholls on Saturday night, both Friday & Saturday’s kicking off from 9 p.m. through till midnight, whereas Sunday is a little earlier from 7.30 p.m. till 10.30 p.m. With food served during the day, every day, plus a tasty champagne offer from 5 p.m. till 8 p.m., it’s worth starting early, more details out at http://rupertstreet.com.
Down to Ku-Bar, the Lisle St one, and the weekend highlight is once again tomorrow night (Fri 29th) as resident The Very Miss Dusty O hosts another heat of their “D.J. Quest 2011” competition, this being the right same place that the delectable DouGuim came to fame. Revving up the rhythms from 10 p.m. through till 3 a.m. expects plenty of cute lads & their admirers, while Sunday’s “Hit Factory” with Lady Lloyd is also worth a look in, as it Lisle St’s dinky little sister bar on Frith St is attracting quite a following, not least as they have the most gorge set of barmen around, as well as D.J.’s on duty right across the weekend. Check out http://ku-bar.co.uk for more info.
Now to The Shadow Lounge, which re-opened on Monday following an extensive re-ft in time for its 10th birthday bash which takes place tonight (Thurs 28th), this being the official re-opening and sure to attract the scene glitterati as well as a host of special VIP celebrity guests & the lion’s share of the press (although not us sadly!). With Friday (29th) seeing the return of regular night “Therapy” and the ever popular “Inferno” on Saturday (30th) with Andrew Elmore back too, Sunday (31st) sees a new east meets west night kicking off from 6 p.m. & running through till midnight, so plenty going on in the new era of Shadow Lounge, details of which are out at http://theshadowlounge.co.uk.
So that’s our bar bites for Soho, what about our club cuts?, well it would be fair to say Soho is no longer renowned for full on clubbing, although just on the edge at Cafe De Paris, Jodie Harsh’s “Circus” roils into town for its annual pyjama party and one looking every bit as outrageously fabulous as last year. With Kris Di Angelis, Jim Warboy & Jodie herself providing the slumber styled soundtrack, expect the followers of fashion to dress down into their bedroom wear which could even mean the odd naked torso or two, while hosts aplenty will make sure all your dreams come true tomorrow night (Fri 29th), more info on this exceptional event out at http://thisiscircus.com.
Right down to Vauxhall and there’s lots happening this weekend, not least some new nights & special events to grab your attention. So let’s head to Barcode first who have first bite at the new cherry with the launch of “React Now”, an old skool, nu skool party with a D.J. line up of superhero’s that includes icons Blu Peter, Princess Julia, Rich B, Jon Dennis, Mark Westhenry & Jo Publik among many more. Plus, with the launch tomorrow night (Fr1 29th) being free entry, this should see Barcode back packed & pumping, while Saturday’s remain as popular as ever, this week seeing Micky Galliano, Steve Artis, Elliot J Brown & Mattias masterminding the music, so plenty of great names to conjure with, more info on this Vauxhall watering hole come club out at http://bar-code.co.uk.
Now to the Orange Group and as usual they have a breathtaking schedule of parties right across the weekend, for us kicking off with Onyx tomorrow night (Fri 29th) when they hold the 2nd part of their birthday “Double Bill”, this one seeing Area transformed into a beach oasis, welcoming party goers to dress in swimwear & the like, the hot, hot, hot go-go’s definitely leading the way in that department. Music wise, special guest Gonzalo Rivas takes to the main room decks, supported by lee Harris & Jc Christopher, while its tech in the terrace & pop in the chapel. With doors opening at 10 p.m. & free entry until midnight (grab a flyer though), not to mention special drinks offers, it seems birthdays don’t get better, more info out at http://fireclub.co.uk/gayparties.
Onward and to Sunday morning when Beyond have their double say, holding a “Double Whammy” party which basically rolls entry to this awesome afterhours in with Later afterwards, which has its usual session at Fire on Sunday afternoon. Back to beyond and you can expect the lion’s share of the clubs all-star D.J. residents, including The Sharp Boys, Mike D, Paul Christian, The Oil & Fat Tony, while main man Steve Pitron rests up before his return the following weekend. Advance tickets are definitely the way to go if you don’t want to queue or burn a huge hole in your pocket, as they come in at just £10 from with http://clubtickets.com or from the usual Soho outlets, while make sure you get that stamp for Later afterwards as the forecast for Sunday is looking sun, sun, sun all the way.
But hang on we hear you say, we though Later was hitting the high seas? Well, yes it is, as The Later “Summer Boat Party” takes place too, this more of an exclusive offering as the good ship Fire has a limited capacity of just 250. Now we covered this special event in an Extra Bites post (out at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/recommends-setting-sail-on-sunday-later-summer-boat-party-sunday-31st-july-weekend-extra-bites/) but suffice to say, with The Thames looking like a mill pond on Sunday, you won’t need strong sea legs to cope with this club cruise with a difference, so best you get your hands on one of the last remaining tickets at http://clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/31/later-boat-party and join host Mauricio Ortiz along with D.J.’s Jamie Head & Junior as this will definitely be a summer highlight not to miss.
Then when the good ship Fire disembarks, its straight back to Vauxhall for new club night launch “Blessed” which takes the place of Booster at Area. Aimed at a slightly more upmarket crowd, Area will see the terrace bar transformed into a relaxing chill-out zone with table service, great quality drinks & that all important link to the outside space, while the music worshipping will take place in the aptly named chapel room, D.J.’s Fat Tony, Mikey D & DouGuim head up a residency team that includes Booster’s Ferno & Matt King. Having covered to detail in our post “New Times Two” at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/recommends-new-times-two-blessed-le-boy-sunday-31st-july-friday-5th-august-weekend-focus-special/, suffice to say, all Later party goers (boat & terra firmer included) get free entry to “Blessed” , which runs from 7 p.m. till midnight, leading neatly to Orange afterwards.
Looking slightly further afield and another new night launches on Saturday (30th), this time at The Eagle, who host “Frisky”, a concept brought to the scene by the peeps behind Megawoof & Funkarama (that will be Daz & Diddy then), this new venture serving up sounds akin to Chicago house & NYC old skool, as well as more modern tech by the likes of Leonardo Glovibes, Nico de Ceglia & Astroboy, the Eagle crew throwing in a free bbq for good measure. With “Frisky” framed by regular nights Tonker on Friday (29th) & Horse meat Disco on Sunday (31st), check out their website at http://eaglelondon.co.uk for more details.
No Vauxhall coverage would be complete without mentioning the venerable institution that is The Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), who have another classic weekend in store, not least as their “Anthem Old Skool Renuion” takes place tomorrow (Fri 29th), with Wayne G, Porl Young & Steve B turning out uplifting NRG, trance & heavenly house hits that made this club a Saturday must in the late 90’s & early 00’s, while “Duckie” takes over on Saturday, followed by S.L.A.G.S./Chill-out on Sunday (31st), more info out at http://thervt.org.uk.
Right to our alternative choices and first to Shoreditch at The East Bloc who have a massive weekend in store, its star player being Gutterslut, who return to this Shoreditch spot on Saturday (30th), resplendent from their superb showing at Summer Rites three weeks ago, with a prolific party that will see favourites Per Q.X., Nic Fisher & Miss MC Crystal joined by special guests Musisclove Makers in the rave room, while GS’s Ralf Obergal will also feature alongside James Phillips & Will Viper in the second space, so a definitely must for way out wackiness followers. Add to that, another new night on the scene, as East Bloc brings “May’s Buckled Up & Ready For Something Dirty” tomorrow (Fri 29th) along with “Ponystep” which takes up residency at East Bloc on Sunday (31st) and this vibrant venue to certainly proving the place to be out east at the moment, more details of the weekly happenings available at http://eastbloc.co.uk.
Heading south and The Brixton Clubhouse are creating a bit of a stir on the scene and with the weather perking up this weekend look like coming into their own with that terrific two tiered outside terrace space that is its usp. And with Steven Geller’s “Bodyshakers” having chosen to hang its hat here on Friday’s, tomorrow (29th) will see it return with guests Steve Thomas & Daniel Stone joining Mr Geller on the decks, while on Saturday (30th) the man returns with Daniel for another late night/early morning session called “Crunch”. However, it’s Sunday (31st) that will steal much of the spotlight, as the scene sees the return of club promoter Logan Schmitz, who holds the first of his summer private parties, “Up” returning to the venue that was Dex when it was last held, Per QX included in the D.J. line up which will also see Tony English spin selective sounds. Now, this is strictly invite only, so make sure you check your e-mail inbox, details of all other happenings at The Brixton Clubhouse available at http://thebrixtonclubhouse.com.
Now, in the spirit of the “inclusive nature of this new style newsletter, here are some short shouts for other offerings across the scene in Soho, Vauxhall & elsewhere, very much depicting what a diverse yet dynamic scene we find ourselves within. So, other options for Friday (29th) include Popstarz at The Den, G.A.Y’s “Camp Attack” at Heaven, A:M at Fire, , “Discolicious” at Village, “Disco 3000” at Escape, & “Addiction” at The Edge, then on Saturday (30th) G.A.Y.is back at Heaven with a special “Wii” inspired party, while other options include “Fabulous” at Ku Bar, “Wig Out” at Ghetto Factory, “Adamix” at Village, & “Kitsch Karaoke” at Escape Bar, while further afield, West 5 celebrate their lucky for some 13th birthday. As for Sunday, well cabaret seems to rule the waves, The Two Brewers, 79 CXR, Halfway To heaven, The Stage, The Cambria, Molly Moggs & The Black Cap doing the business, details of all these options available by going online to http://boyz.co.uk.
Right, that’s about it for this new look “Bar Bites & Club Cuts” newsletter and as we get used to the new look we hope you will too. So, it’s just left for us to wish you a wonderful weekend wherever it finds you & whatever you get up to. As for us, it’s Onyx tonight for the 2nd half of their birthday “Double Bill”, then looks like we are on strict orders to make it to Beyond, having been missing last week, that followed by Later’s “Summer Boat Party” & the “Blessed” launch. So, if you see us out come say hi, but remember, to be & be seen on the scene you need to “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
We never cease to be amazed by the wealth of new ideas, new projects & moreover new club nights that continually spring up across the capitals clubbing circuit, some ideas really capturing the imagination, others sinking without trace within weeks of launching. While Soho has clearly been getting much of the attention lately, successes Gigolo & Room Service two clear winners, not least as their marketing machines and social networking has been the key to their success, something that G&T was either lacking or failed to deliver, it seems that the spotlight over the next two weekends will move back onto Vauxhall, which continues to strive to serve the clubbing community with a wealth of events. And while Casa Latina was one of this south of the river scenes new(ish) success, all eyes will be once again on The Orange Group as they launch two new nights, one aimed at the male market and another at the Sunday evening (so called t-dance) scene that continues to bubble on the surface of success.
So, it is to “Blessed” that we first devote our attention to, this new Sunday evening club launching this weekend (Sun 31st July), taking up the slot at Area that used to be held by Romain Lopez’s creation Booster, that club having started life in Union but came across to The Orange Group when the prospect of better marketing & promotions support presented itself, very much the key elements of a successful club. And whilst Booster very much found its niche, attracting a clubbing crowd that simply didn’t want to stop as well as a core following that made it one of the more colourful events on the weekly clubbing calendar, it was always seen by many as a stop gap between Later & Orange, being fed & then feeding its two peer parties. But by this very virtue, Booster has proven a success and will continue cut its own stride, whether seen as a feeder or a niche offering, but perhaps doing both as it moves from a Sunday to a Thursday at Area, the timings shifting slightly as it will run from 9 p.m. through till 3 a.m. each week
However, we digress somewhat, “Blessed” being the first focus here and in creating this new brand the team are looking to strike a new identity for Sunday evening’s, attracting a new & discerning audience that like to know what they are going to get, the music makers coming from a stable of residents whose names & reputations speak for themselves, while in the brand, the connection with Sunday’s was a clear marketing move that will hopefully see this new outing being blessed with success from the off. And in the launch, the magnificent music for which the club bases itself on looks pretty much assured, as Fat Tony, Mikey D & DouGuim head up a residency list that also panders a little to Booster fans, as Ferno & Matt King will feature. Spread across two rooms, in the promotion teams own words, “…The Chapel is our sacred place to celebrate & dance your holy Sunday away whilst the Area Terrace room becomes the garden of Eden, with table service, wine selections & shisha’s for the perfect summery Sunday…”. And if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, then news is that a surprise guest P.A. will be centre staging the event too, although with details still under wraps, like us, you will just have to make it down to Area to see who.
So, it is clear from that statement that Blessed aims to be offer something much more akin to a Sunday t-dance, a room specifically set aside for music, while the other will be a place where clubbers can relax, take a breather, yet be pampered with table service, good quality drinks & all in an ambient area, the venue also benefitting from an outside space directly linked to this so called Garden Of Eden room. With us very much liking the sound of this new launch already, we will be sure to be heading for Area in Vauxhall, this new launch kicking off from 7 p.m. this Sunday (31st July) and running through until midnight. Now, if you are setting sail with Later this Sunday (check our Extra Bites post at ) then your “good ship Fire boarding pass” will gain you free entry to “Blessed”, while if you have been to the regular Later which takes place at Fire terra firmer as usual, then a stamp from there will get you in for just £5, otherwise tickets are on sale online at http://clubtickets.com, entry on the door available but for more.
Now to Le Boy, a concept born out of the desire for something a bit more macho but without the usual dirty, sleazy feel of some clubs that have run at Fire in the past, this new venture very much a men only club, but one where sex is not the predominant feature, more a club where men can booze, cruise & dance. And when we look across the scene & then cast our minds back, this kind of club has very much being missing & wanted for quite a while, too many offerings falling into the trap that all gay men just want to get their dicks out, watch porn or watch others up to it (yes we know there are lots of you that do, but there are as many who don’t!). In fact Vauxhall has filled itself with clubs like that for too long now, Le Boy marking a refreshing change and in many ways, harping back to those halcyon & pioneer days of Crash, the club more than any other, responsible for putting Vauxhall on the clubbing map. Moreover, le Boy is aiming to bridge the gap between the vanilla style of Onyx & the sleaze that clubs like Rudeboiz were labelled, get our drift?!
While, undoubtedly, this new venture will have a sexually charged & underground feel (we would be naive to think otherwise), it will be the music that will do most of the talking, the launch seeing three internationally renowned D.J.’s take to the decks, Paul Heron, Gonzalo Rivas & Hifi Sean, between them having covered every single continent of the globe three times over at least, added to which Paul Heron can claim to have been one of the residents from Crash (well he was a mere babe in those days), while Gonzalo’s clubbing pedigree stretches back even further, Trade being a major stomping ground of his before Crash was even thought of. As for Hifi Sean, well he is a bit of a Fire veteran, having made a name for himself at Juicy, since when he has featured in a whole host of parties there, not least Orange, where he is part of the RAW team alongside Mr Rivas & others.
Add to this, the prospect of a special superstar guest D.J. for the launch night & a regular guest slot for future parties, while no men only club would be without sexy, muscular & drop dead gorgeous go-go dancers, Le Boy being no exception, it will be more a case of sexual seduction rather than all out porn. That said, the team will be lining up a top London stripper, while they have also set aside a “Seduction Lounge” space, which has been described as somewhere where “… you can get hypnotised by the super sensual go-go boys & pole dancers captivating the room with suggestive moves and lots of flesh on show, a spot where you can also chill & relax with a drink with friends and take advantage of our titillating waiter service in an arousing and inviting surrounding..”. And this air of slight sophistication looks like it is in good hands, as co promoter Mauricio Ortiz has good experience in this field, plus given the excellent job he has done with Casa Latina, we have big hopes this new men only club in his hands.
So to the all important detail and Le Boy launches next Friday (5th August) at Fire in Vauxhall, door opening at 11 p.m. & the club running straight into A:M at 4 a.m., so ALL customers to Le Boy can stay on for A:M for free (bargain!). Advance tickets priced at £10 are on sale both online at http://clubtickets.com and at the usual Soho outlets, while entrance on the door is £6 with a flyer or ad before 12.30 & £8 with the same before 2 a.m. and if you haven’t seen them around as yet, the Le Boy promo guys will be offering discount entrance passes over the coming weekend at all the Orange Group events & around Soho, so keep your eyes peeled for them. And once in the club you can expect the big room experience every with live shows from our sexy go-go boys every hour from 1 a.m., as well stunning visuals from the massive LED wall, as well as video & plasma screens, pyrotechnics and big production that has become a byword for Fire. More information on this party launch can be found at http://fireclub.co.uk/gayparties.
So, two new nights on the clubbing scene within a week that will definitely switch the focus from Soho to Vauxhall, both very much on our reporting radar meaning that if you see us out then please come & say hi, remembering that if you want to be & be seen on the scene, either at Blessed or at le Boy, you need to “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)
Casting our minds back some eight or so years, the face of Sunday afternoons in the capitals clubland was changed pretty much for ever as a new venture played out in front of our eyes at Fire in Vauxhall, since when Later has become part of the schedule furniture, pitching & yawing through the years but never failing to pull a crowd, the draw of the outside space, especially in the summer sun (when we get it!), too tempting a prospect for those taking a breather from a brace or more of clubbing events. But Later is not just about the outside, far from it, as it continues to attract some of the cream of the scene D.J.’s and has been responsible for some of the most hedonistic happenings we have experienced since the days of Trade, New Years Day 2006 sticking in the mind more than any others, although there have been a lot.
However, as great the parties at Fire are, we somehow seem to enjoy ourselves even more when Later goes on the move, generally in the direction of Area, the last Bank holiday being a perfect example when we partied from late afternoon deep into the evening. But Later is about to go further than before (sounds like a Star Trek line coming up!!), as come this Sunday (31st July), the club literally floats on water as it embarks on its “Summer Boat Party” on The Thames. Now, having been on these sort of pleasure cruises before, we can say with qualification that this is one Later that you simply have to make, as there is nothing more fun filled & fabulous about a music mash-up mariner style and whilst we don’t mention or think of The Marchioness (that was years ago!), what could be finer that floating up & down the Thames, sinking (not literally!!) into scores of superb sounds, shimmying with scene socialites, all while seeing some of the world most stunning sights.
So, in the words of the Later crew (excuse the pun!), “…As summer hits the Later crew take to the water for a very special one off Thames experience. See the sights of London as never before, on board the Pride of London boat alongside DJs Junior and Jamie Head playing Later summer vibes over the upper and lower decks of the good ship Fire plus an open outside terrace, all with outstanding views of the city’s bankside landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, The London Eye, The Tower of London and Big Ben. This special one off party hosted by Mauricio Ortiz is not to be missed…”. .And in D.J. Junior Moura, making his appearance following a superb set at Casa Latina, we have a talent that is sure to score with plenty of those summery sounds to stimulate, while Later resident Jamie Head will be toughing up the offer on his deck, very much more akin to his sets down at Fire on a Sunday afternoon, so making the Later followers on float feel right at home. Plus, with the marvellous Mauricio masterminding this magnificent meet, you can pretty much guarantee the hottest totty around, along with plenty of scene glitterati that will be packing out this pretty exclusive excursion.
Now to the detail and Later’s “Summer Boat Party” sets sail from Millbank Pier at 2 p.m., which means you need to have your shipmates sorted in good time, as embarkation commences at 1.45 p.m. With the good ship Fire, aka The Pride Of London’s capacity limited to 250, a host of VIP guests already invited (ooh yes please!) & with the remaining tickets selling quicker than a Sealink £1 offer, best you get your party passage booked now by going to http://clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/31/later-boat-party, the £15 ticket also getting you entrance to new club launch “Blessed” (preview coming up) which takes place at Area right after this Later boating brilliance docks at 7 p.m. Now, getting to Millbank Pier in pretty easy, especially if you are heading there direct from beyond at Area, as it is just a short stroll across Vauxhall Bridge & then down opposite Tate Britain, while Pimlico is the closest tube if you are coming from further afield. However, for those of you that don’t have sea legs, then fear not as Later will be also operating from its usual “terra firmer” Fire location, details of which we will cover off in our upcoming new Weekend Bar Bites & Club Cuts newsletter, while more information on both Later & Blessed can be found at http://fireclub.co.uk/gayparties.
Naturally we will be on board to review it all, so if you see us then do come up & say hi, but remember, to be & be seen on this sailing splendour, you need to “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)
Very much like the old adage about London buses, “…when you waited ages for one to come & then twelve arrived all at once…”, it seems that birthday celebrations on the scene are currently quite similar. Indeed having been birthday bare for a good couple of months, within the space of a week we have seen no less than six, first Barcode’s 5th, then Bootylicious’ 12th, quickly followed by Onyx’s 2nd, Rupert Street’s 15th S.LA.G.S.’s 12th and now Shadow Lounge’s 10th, And this is an anniversary that will mark a real step change in the history of this classy club in Soho, Shadow Lounge entering a new era as it reaches double figures, this coming Thursday (28th July) heralding the beginning of a new phase in its continuing quest to be the market leader in the ever increasingly competitive & sophisticated scene that is Soho. But before we delve into the detail of this birthday bash, let’s reflect a little on Shadow Lounges history & how it set the trend for change in this amazing area in London.
At a time when Soho was being shaken up & cleaned up by the ruling council of the day, the vice, the crime & the sleazy reputation that had been part & parcel of this scene spot, The Shadow Lounge was very much at the forefront of this change in direction, very much setting its stool very high indeed, the style & sophistication that it quickly become renowned for, setting a trend that was to see a score of other venues follow its lead. Yet in 2001, society was still frowning a little on the Soho scene & set, this retreat on Brewer Street still finding itself in the thick of hookers, pimps, red lights & porn, but Shadow Lounge’s launch was seen as the start of a tide change that sees Soho a much cleaner & smarter slice of the social scene 10 years on.
So, having set the trend and attracted the crème of the social scene, along with a host of celebrities too, The Shadow Lounge now looks to a new era in its history, marking its 10th year in operation with a nip, a tuck, some botox & reconstruction that, like lifting Cher’s looks, has pretty much transformed this sophisticated space and setting it fair for the next phase in its tenure as the smartest spot in Soho. And while others have kind of caught up with this Brewer St beauty in recent years, this refit should elevate Shadow Lounge to a new level, heralding a new set of socialites that will want their slice of the sophisticated soirees that the club is planning.
But before the new era kicks in, it’s time to celebrate those ten years with a birthday party that should see a host of Shadow Lounge friends & familiar faces turn up this coming Thursday (28th July) and whilst we cannot confirm or guarantee the arrival of celebrities, there are sure to be a smattering among the ones that have graced its doors over the years, names like Elton John, Cilla Black, Paul O’Grady, Graham Norton, Simon Callow & Stephen Fry. Indeed Shadow Lounge was the place where Patrick Cox had his coming out party, where Jordon sought solace following her break-up with Peter Andre and where Kylie Minogue made a triumphant return following her fight with cancer, landmark times in the clubs history, the team now looking to the future to make many more.
So, to the detail on this birthday bash which, for want of repeating ourselves, takes place this Thursday, Shadow Lounge’s doors opening for a member only & invitee’s reception from 10 p.m., general entrance from midnight until the planned 3 a.m. finish. And in the words of General Manager Tolis Simpson, “…having gutted everything, from glasses, buckets, tills, serving areas, stock, decor, toilets & entrances, it will be a night to look into the future and to another ten years, while also reminiscing about the last 10 years in true Shadow Lounge style and to bring all the glitter and shine to the future…”. With scene D.J.’s on duty, special hosts & plenty of those faces from both past & present, this is one birthday you simply won’t want to miss, more information on Shadow Lounge, its new era & that all important membership available by going to http://theshadowlounge.co.uk.
Now naturally we will be there to report on it all, so if you see us, do come up & say hi, but remember to be & be seen on the scene at Shadow Lounge this Thursday you need to “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)
Such has been the impact of fabulous Friday nighter Onyx, that we can hardly believe it is just two years that it has been cutting s significant stride on the scene, the club now in the hands of its third promoter, this a measure that it continues to keep pace of the times, evolving & changing as the market moves. Indeed since the days of Steven Geller, through the Jonny Marsh reign & now to the Verity Mayes tenure, Onyx has continued to pull in the party people making it one of the most successful clubs of what we would call the new breed, often challenging institutions like A:M, Beyond & Orange in the stakes to be Vauxhall’s most successful outing. However, this is one club that rarely gets our review devotions, only a couple of occasions in its history seeing us grace its doors for such purposes, so given this lack of coverage, we thought we would make amends by joining Verity & her team for this first part of a double bill of birthday celebrations, this giving us an opportunity to see just what sort of impact she had made in the short period of her premiership.
With probably the most diverse choice of music in any club on the capitals circuit right now, played out by a team of D.J.’s that include iconic names Tasty Tim, Ariel & Jason Prince (yes even he is iconic!), joining resident boys Lee Harris & Jc Christopher, Onyx certainly offers the Friday night clubber something much more than your average outing. Then add into the mix the amazing atmosphere of host venue Area, along with its incredible lighting, for us the best of any club we know, the famed effects, pyrotechnics, fire eating displays, drop dead gorgeous dancers and not forgetting the larger than life hostess Chrissy Darling, Onyx has a package that is hard to beat. But it doesn’t stop there, as the club has always been conscious about avoiding burning a hole in people’s pockets so early into the weekend, meaning you can always find fantastic drinks offers that complete the picture of this prolific weekly party.
So, with us begging the questions, would Onyx actually deliver on this seemingly perfect package with its “Part One” birthday party?, would we walk away elated or deflated?, and who would steal the celebration limelight for us?, these thoughts running through our mind as we arrived at just turned midnight, there already being a brilliant buzz at the entrance. With a healthy & lengthy queue forming, this clearly evidence that this was going to be a very busy birthday bash for Verity & her team, we were quickly spotted by the eagle eyes Tom Fuller, who brought us to the front in an instant, an introduction to Miss Mayes then setting us fair into the club & an outing with Onyx. Finding our Friday feet first in the terrace room, it was Ariel along with his percussionist that started pressing our musical buttons beautifully, this iconic D.J.’s dips into classic tunes like “Sundays At Heaven” & “Miracle”, intermixed with tough tech sounds, very much hitting the mark, even the percussionist doing it for us, his understated blending of drum beats working really well. With a friendly chat & meet with Orange Group family member Ryan Elder setting the scene for a night full of fabulous liaisons, we headed completely satisfied into the second space, Leandro Kloppel playing more Balearic beats & euro style sounds that weren’t quite the pop-tastic tunes we were expecting, although he certainly had the room pumping & packed, very much warming the cavorting crowd for the action ahead.
However, it was clear from the brilliant billing of this Onyx birthday bash, that it was the main room many were more interested in, regular resident Lee Harris kicking off a spectacular session which saw us spinning on our spot in an instant, not quite the feel of Beyond it must be said, but enthralling enough, Lee’s heavenly house hits hitting our sweet spot with every twist & turn. But with the arrival of star turn & headlining act Boy George, this Onyx outing was to take on a whole new dimension, the boy wonder waving his magical musical wand over us in an instant with a string of classic tunes remixed, “Sweet Dreams” & “Situation” going down a storm, tip top tune “Trapped” sending us spinning, while he then cleverly mixed in more progressive & tougher tech beats, some with tribal influences, other with pop intentions, that had us & the audience admiring each & every spectacular selection. And such was his scintillating set, that the whole main room reacted resplendently, the lighting at full tilt, as good as we had seen it, the pyrotechnic explosions adding to the awesome atmosphere and the laser lighting moving in marvellous motion to the magnificent music.
With Area’s main room in the hands of Onyx & moreover Boy George, we were going absolutely nowhere, only brief trips for energy boosting refreshments our excuse for abandoning the action. Then there was the captivating company, a whole host of familiar faces passing us by to say hello, Brazilian boys Mauricio Ortiz & Lunarde Martins just two of many, while we were also graced with the absorbing presence of Fat Tony, who was off-duty but nevertheless accompanying his longstanding pal & seemingly enjoying every minute, that pal Mr George serving up one of the best sets we had witnessed of his anywhere & anytime. But the friendly banter between Tony & us was also adding to the enjoyment of this exceptional evening, we soon becoming completely engrossed in this truly brilliant birthday bash, thereby seeing out the remainder of Boy George’s pulsating performance, the pinnacle to our ecstatic experience, being a personal introduction after his set, an honour indeed and one we will remember & savour for a long time to come.
So, it was then going to be difficult to top that, Lee Harris doing his best to keep us spinning on our spot following the boy wonder’s departure, while Jason Prince’s disco & pop devotions in the second space, along with Lisa German’s tech tunes in the terrace, meant the club remained packed & pumping right through till the 5 a.m. finish, the drop dead gorgeous dancers doing their bit in the main room, hostess Chrissy Darling making her presence felt too, while meets with the two Jonny’s, Miss Hooley & Hollywood were among heaps of highlights that made this, without doubt, the best Onyx outing we have been to and the most satisfying of the three we have so far reviewed. As for those questions raised, yes Onyx did deliver everything in the package & probably more to be honest, we being incredibly impressed with the influence new promoter Verity Mayes has already had over the club. In terms of the celebration spotlight?, well that simply had to go to Boy George who absolutely amazed us with his stunning set that, for us had it all & we mean all. So, need we say more, apart from a huge thinks to Fat Tony for that intro & for being such great company throughout night, a real enlightening experience that left us truly elated, and looking forward to part two & a second bite size review of this Onyx 2ndbirthday double bill. (DISCO MATT)
We sit in our study looking out onto a bright & sunny Sunday afternoon, not a hint of rain in the sky, rather a warm July day that we could have done with at the same time last week, rather a shower soaked Sunday & a muddy meet the order of that day. However with another seven to also review & report on, including a pack of prolific parties & some not quite so, it’s time to once again look back on “That Was The Week That Was”, this latest lament also covering our moment, our track & our tweet of the week. But we will also be saving a small space for some of the latest news of upcoming outings to watch out for, as well as providing links to the websites of those bars, clubs & events that we cover.
So, let’s get down to the detail and to Thursday first, Room Service leading the way with their pre-party for Casa Latina, although drawing on the D.J. talents of resident D.J.’s Fat Tony & Kris Di Angelis, who were joined by East End boy Dan Beaumont. However, with Casa’s Mauricio Ortiz & Naomi Ruiz on hand to balance out the Latino influence, it was clear the appearance of George Michael the previous week had attracted attention, Diu absolutely packed to the rafters, a queue of hopefuls outside desperate to get a piece of the audacious action. So, it seems that whatever style of Shindig Jodie & her team turn their hands to, in Room Service they can pretty much guarantee to terrific turnout, this week looking no different Paul Heron kick starts his Room Service residency, Severino picking up the second slot. More info on Room Service in London, as well as their Monday nighter in Ibiza, can be found by going to http://clubroomservice.com. Plus, don’t forget that if you are a Room Service key holder, then complimentary champagne is available until 11.30 p.m. each Thursday, now we like the sound of that!
Across Soho at Lo-Profile and it seemed that Gigolo was also getting its fair share of the action, its “Do It” party attracting a healthy crowd of scene faces & socialites, while the amazing Aussie Terry Vietheer treated the turnout to a terrific set of tunes, this tremendous talent seemingly fitting the clubs style like a glove, he being followed by the mighty Jamie Head, a Lo-Profile/Profile favourite who ensured Gigolo gyrated right through till the 3 a.m. finish. Now, whilst it has been a while since we have made a personal appearance, our undercover reviewer has been making it down virtually every week and it certainly seems that David & L.a. Hart’s creation has found a following that will definitely see it remaining a feature of Thursday’s for a long time to come. And the next event on the calendar (Thu 28th) may even see us gracing Gigolo with our presence, as Zach Burns is back, along with Guy Williams, a duo sure to score with the Soho social set, more info on this & much more out at http://gigolodisco.com.
Moving to Friday and the usual suspects swung into action, Onyx drawing breath before a double bill of birthday bashes at Area, celebrating 2 whole years in the business, while up in Soho, it was Society at Lo-Profile with Nick Evans & D’Johnny on the decks that reported the best turnout across a host of other venues making hay now that Barcode has closed. But it was the alternative bights that were really doing the business, all inclusive & generally gender bending gorgeousness Club Wotever, taking over The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, to celebrate its 8th birthday, very much kick starting a weekend of anniversary’s, promoter Ingo telling us that the night went down a storm, especially with the theme being “Carry On Wotever”, everybody did!! Then, sprinting across to the East End and the lads into lads club, Fitladz, made the move from Vauxhall to uber cool underground outfit East Bloc, the switch from west to east attracting a horny set of boys from far & wide, the underground nature & feel of East Bloc working really well, while another club on the move was Bodyshakers, which now finds itself at The Brixton Clubhouse with resident D.J. Steve Thomas, the unique roof top style of this south London gaff adding a new dimension to Steven Geller’s club creation. With the momentum that Friday’s gained earlier on in the year seeming to wax & wane a little, to choice of where to be & be seen has become quite diverse, but as they say, variety is the spice of life, so check out the following websites for info on happenings this coming week, http://loprofile.com, http://eastbloc.co.uk, http://thebrixtonclubhouse.com, http://thervt.org.uk. & http://fireclub.co.uk/gayparties, one highlight to watch out for will be the second in Onyx’s “Double Bill” of birthday celebrations, the club being transformed into a beach oasis & welcoming special guest P.A. Kathy Brown.
Saturday saw Vauxhall standing under the scene spotlight the most, not least that there were two birthday celebrations, club of colour Bootylicious celebrating 10 years in business, opening its doors at Colosseum & attracting many of its longstanding regulars along with some new faces too. Then there was Barcode, this venue on Albert Embankment that took the scene by storm when it launched 5 years ago, throwing an anniversary celebration that certainly packed in the punters, although having sent in our undercover reviewer, it seemed that the birthday element was a little lacking (check out our review at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/reviews-birthday-bamboozle-barcode-5th-anniversary-saturday-16th-july-bite-size-review/). But the plaudits for us had to go to Casa Latina, which held its second showing at Fire and had the venue absolutely rammo with a magical mix of drop dead gorgeous Latino’s, club kids, muscle hunks & everything else in between. With a Brazilian based main room D.J, team that included Leandro Kloppel, & DouGuim, it was new boy Junior Moura that really tipped our scales with a superb set, while this “Super Carwash” event saw one of the best productions in Fire we have seen, no doubt as a result of in Mauricio Ortiz influence, while the lighting in the hands of Dorn Andrei was simply spectacular. Having had so much more to say about this Casa colossus, we lauded our full review treatment on the night, which you can check out at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/reviews-junior-jamboree-casa-latina-super-carwash-saturday-16th-july-full-size-review/.
With Sunday set to be dominated by Lovebox, which in itself was dominated by the good old British summertime, we made our mind rule our heart, so skirted around Beyond which reported an average turnout, many of the Casa lot thinking the same as us, indeed with this third day in the music festival over at Victoria Park having a distinctly gay influence, it seemed that the world & his wife were heading east on Sunday afternoon. However, with a completely rain soaked Saturday leaving the park a Hippo’s haven, it was definitely mud, mud, hideous mud, as slipped & slided around Lovebox while the likes of The Scissor Sisters, Marc Almond, Boy George, Kelis, Robyn & The Sugarbabes performed. But the gay influence also extended to Horse Meat Disco, Trailer Trash and the highlight for us, as Circus pretty much stole the show, not least with that eight piece orchestra on stage, truly amazing. Now, we did report on our account of Lovebox with our special reflection, “Music & Mayhem In The Mud” at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/reviews-music-mayhem-in-the-mud-lovebox-sunday-17th-july-special-review-reflection/, while this Sunday we will be swapping the mud for the water, as Later takes to the seas, well the Thames actually, with its “Summer Boat Party” during the afternoon, while its a new club launch in the evening as Blessed takes over from Booster, more details of both coming up in the first of three Weekend Focus posts this week.
Monday through Wednesday was pretty much a case of same old, same old, Popcorn riding the popularity stakes at heaven on Monday night with another packed out student affair, Citrus doing the pseudo Popcorn pre-party bit at Ku Bar, while it was eyes down for a full house at The RVT, as their final bingo session for the summer took place. Tuesday’s were given away to Vauxhall with Ashley Ryder’s “Strip Academy” at The Eagle, while Bar Wotever were still recovering from a severe birthday hangover following the clubs birthday bash the previous Friday, Wednesday being all about the fantabulous “Shinky Shonky”, Boogaloo Stu’s madcap meet gaining popularity by the week, the combination of pop-tastic music, game shows & performances making it one of the most fun-filled parties of the week. However, while it seemed business as usual for many, there was a new club launch, Lo-Profile in Soho playing host to Bear Trap, the creation of Manu Cartegenero of Cafe Ole fame, the evening attracting a smattering of scene faces supporting the launch, filling the gap left by The Cave (also a Manu creation). With D.J. residents Ben Jamin, Phil Marriott & Leonardo Glovibes rotating on a weekly basis, time will tell whether the club will survive the ravages of the current dip in the scene, but with the might of Gaydar behind it, there is no reason to suggest otherwise. For more details on these week night happenings, check out websites http://loprofile.com, http://eaglelodon.co.uk & http://ku-bar.co.uk.
Now to some news and this week, Thursday (28th) in fact, sees The Shadow Lounge celebrate 10 years as one of the Soho scene’s smartest & sophisticated spots with their “official” birthday party which looks like drawing in the who’s who of the gay celebrity scene, very much reflective of its first 10 years. However, with doors re-opening tonight (Monday 25th) when free (yes you heard us right) membership will be on offer, plus a 50% reduction on drinks prices, tomorrow seeing “OMFG” return, those free membership still up for grabs, while new Wednesday night affair “Balearic Beats” completes the mid-week line-up. With more info on their weekend parties coming up in our new “Bar Bites & Club Cuts” newsletter later this week, you can check on all the happenings down at the even smarter & sophisticated new era Shadow lounge at http://theshadowlounge.co.uk.
Casting our eyes forward a few months, to October actually, when The Wig Party takes London by storm once again, although with many more celebrities wanting to get in on the act, it seems the organisers are aiming high with this year’s party, a new much swankier venue already lined up (think Mayfair & you’re getting close) which will fit the bill more than Cafe De Paris. Mind you having been made privy to the details as far back as last November, we have been asked to keep it under wraps for now, although as the wig parade come pageant is likely to be bigger & better than before, the team are already asking for entrants, details along with the £30 ticket purchases available at http://wigparty.org.
Now, we gave a hint towards a new club night down Vauxhall way this coming weekend, “Blessed” being joined by another the following Friday, as Fire kick back with a new men only night called “Le Boy”, the name kind of suggesting a Rudeboiz style shindig, especially when you consider that the co-promoter of this new night is Kian Lee Thompson (aka D.J. Devilish). But none of it to be honest, as the night is much more of a music & macho meet rather than the porn & filth of the former, the D.J. line-up pretty grown up too, Paul Heron, Gonzalo Rivas & Hifi Sean taking up the musical mantles for the launch next Friday (5th August). We will be combining both “Blessed” & “Le Boy” in one of those Weekend Focus reports we deluded to earlier, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
So, we are on the home straight, meaning it’s time for our moment, our track & our tweet of the week, the moment (or is that moments?!?) having to go to the “Porridge Woman”, our Alyson making us jump out of our skin at Mile End tube station on the way to Lovebox last Sunday, it coming as no surprise that Steve Pitron was behind the ploy to get us trapped in her amorous arms & stare, the tweet of the week coming from the same day, a few minutes later in fact when we said “…Disco Matt has arrived at Lovebox & is with Steve, Celso, Pabs, Jess & a very amorous Alyson who keeps undressing us with her eyes. Papa bear is scared…”. For this and many more Nibble Size review tweets, you can tune in live or simply follow us by going to http://twitter.com/discomatt.
As for our track of the week, well there were actually a handful, a couple that made it right here in the last two weeks, so we had to choose another which we hope to include in our “Autumn Arousers” podcast, that is of course if our “Summer Scorchers” release actually gets to a final pressing, two attempts already taking the ten track compilation back to the mixing board or maybe even the scrap heap. However, in the Roy Davis Jr’s hit, “Enjoy The Ride”, we have a track that not only sends superb sensations up our spine, but is really appropriate to our Sunday of fairground fun at Lovebox, the James Talk & Ridney remix so very addictive, not least the amazing vocals by Kaye Fox, the full 6 minute version available to listen to at http://youtube.com/watch?v=yL2hBGwhc4E.
Right, that’s it for another “that Was The Week That Was” review/report, leaving us to remind you that if you want us to shout out for your favourite bar, club or event that rocked & rolled in the coming week, then plaster our Facebook wall with your details at http://facebook.com/discomattlondon or drop us a line at email@example.com. As for our upcoming activity, well its Shadow Lounge’s 10th Birthday this Thursday (28th July), which means we might swoop on Gigolo & Room Service too, while Friday sees the second Onyx birthday session, definite other dates being Later’s “Summer Boat Party” on Sunday afternoon (31st July) & then new club launch “Blessed” on Sunday night. So if you see us out, come say hi, but remember it’s good to “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
Now we definitely love the sunshine and coming from a country where it shines pretty much all the year round, living & breathing the outdoors was part & parcel of our weekends. So, having landed in London, we always looked forward to summers in the hope & expectation that when it came to enjoying a slice of the great outdoors, that the weather would be kind & considerate, especially at the clutch of park based & other festivals that we have come to adore over the years. However, with the unpredictability of the so-called British Summertime having rained on many a parade, the Glastonbury festival a prime soaking suspect, gay pride park parties also having their fair share of dampening downpours, we have come to expect that the weather would play a significant part in success & popularity of these outdoor events. Indeed, this year has already proven another one of those, reach for the brolly summers, recent outdoor excursions to London Pride & Summer Rites leaving us wanting for the heat & sunshine we so miss from South Africa, but with Lovebox looming, we were hoping for something a little different, not least that it was our first visit and in captivating company too, the question remaining, did the weather dominate or the event enthral?
Having heard so much about Lovebox from last year, especially the Sunday which had more & more of a gay influence than ever before, when the prospect of partying in Victoria Park presented itself to us, we grabbed it with gusto, the weather the last thing on our minds, rather that captivating company were to going to hold and the magnificent music on offer in the forefront of our thoughts. And with a line-up that included the likes of The Scissor Sisters, Blondie, Kelis, Robyn, Boy George & Marc Almond, the gay perspective gained even more prominence with the involvement of clubbing brands Circus, Horse Meat Disco & Trailer Trash along with scene stars Jodie Harsh, Kris Di Angelis, Tom Stephan, Jim Stanton, James Hillard, Mickey Most & Jonny Woo, just to mention a few. So, when the phone call came through saying “…Matt, get a Lovebox ticket for Sunday, we’re going…” we were booking a place in these prolific park proceedings without the slightest consideration for the climate. However, as the day drew closer, it was clear that we would perhaps been doing more wallowing in the mud than marvelling at the music, but how did our first Lovebox experience actually turn out? and were we left in a mucky mess or in festival fulfillance?
Sunday started with sunshine and the hope that it would be reaping its resplendence on the righteous, yet the reality was that, having been soaked for a significant slice of Saturday, Victoria Park was sure to be much more of a mudbox, yet the prospect of dressing for the occasion not finding our favour, the only compromise being the selection of some heavier trainers to ward off the weather. With plans for our liaison with pals Steve Pitron & Celso Moura sorted and a 3 p.m. arrival agreed, we were however cautious of being caught on route by the now famed “Porridge Woman” (Alyson), although with assurances from Steve that she was waiting in the park, we felt pretty safe as we reached our tube station destination. But we should have known better, as a Pitron ploy led us straight into the amorous arms of Alyson, sending us screaming up Mike End Road, a large crowd of onlookers surely wondering what the heck was going on. However, with a truce called, we made it intact to the park, the Pitron posse swelling to six with the arrival of Pabs, entrance formalities soon over and we finding ourselves sinking into this fulsome festival, also sinking into the inevitable mud box that was Lovebox.
It was then a case of finding our bearings among the myriad of stages, stalls & stands, the temptation to dive on one of the many fairground rides by Alyson, met with resistance by the rest of us, rather the call for refreshments in the VIP area our aim. However, with the mud & sweeping showers taking the focus off the real reason for our Victoria Park visit, the conditions clearly playing a part of many people’s minds, some wearing wellies, others wrapped up in waterproofs, we skirted most of the mud that we could, arriving behind the main stage & to our exclusive arena entrance relatively intact and ready to start savouring a succession of stage appearances as well as other entertainment offerings. And, with refreshments in hand, it was back out into the mud mix of this Lovebox festival, deciding to get those fairground rides out of the way, although following a relatively sedate wheel spin, it was the next that was to claim the first Pitron posse victims, the man himself having to grace his earlier than expected exit, having been well & truly wobbled by the waltzers.
With Alyson & Jess shooting off to catch Blondie on the main stage, we soon found ourselves heading towards what was to become out highlight of this Lovebox festival, as arriving at the Circus stage, we were met with two guys literally diving & wallowing in the mud, a massive impromptu circle formed around them as they played to the crowd and caked themselves from head to toe. However the Circus showing was every bit as entertaining, Kris Di Angelis treating us to a sparkling set that was taken to the next level when he was joined by an eight piece orchestra on stage, simply superb. But with this mud never that far away, we somehow began to lose the will for lasting the Lovebox distance, even liaisons with familiar faces & friends Andrea, Stephen, & Muir not enough to keep is captivated with Circus, a trek back across the park in search of the girls eventually bearing fruit, although with a dash to catch Kelis also signalling towel throw in due to a medication moment, we left a rain & mud splattered Victoria Park to reflect on an outing that had much promise but fell short of expectations.
There is no doubt that this reflection on Lovebox is very much a personal account of our experience, although as a festival there was much on offer on this third of three days, the stars, the shows & the stages that should & could have grabbed our attention. But, as great a time we actually had, not least in the company we kept, there was no escaping the fact that the weather played a significant part in proceedings, the phrase “damp underfoot” being somewhat of a underestimation of just how slippery & muddy the park was. Yes we had fun on the fairground rides, yes we were entertained by the Circus stage & peripheral showings, but we really didn’t do Lovebox the justice it deserved, rather finding ourselves being bogged down by the mud, sometimes literally, so as a result, wandering aimlessly around the park and not able to hang our hat on any particular happening. We highly suspect that scores of people felt the same, while others had a marvellous time making the most of the magnificent music that was no doubt on offer, but we cannot say with conviction that we walked away fulfilled with this festival, while we can definitely confirm that we ended up in a mucky mess leaving us to wonder whether Lovebox will be on our cavorting calendar next year. (DISCO MATT)
While there have always been a small handful of gay watering holes in Vauxhall, it was only when Troy Weir decided to expand his small empire and open up a smart & sophisticated spot right next to Area on Albert Embankment that Vauxhall became a little more than just a cabaret, clubbing & fetish paradise, Barcode very much offering a place for people to meet & greet, socialise & schmoose, as well as drink & dance. And from the very start back in 2006, it pretty much transformed this south of the river slice of the scene, adding an air of acceptance that had been missing from a closeted community that were still hiding behind blackened out windows & covered up club entrances, the opulent glass frontage & signage leaving no one in any doubt that this was somewhere warm & welcoming as well not being afraid to shout a significant statement.
Having pretty much made the place our local from the day of the launch, it hardly seems five years since that enthralling evening when Barcode first threw open its doors, such has been it success and the bread & butter nature with which it settled into the scene. Indeed, not a Thursday would go by when we were down on Albert Embankment, social schmoosing at one of the bars longest running club nights, Industri, the night & (in a way) Barcode very much responsible for our very existence. But the brilliance of Barcode went much further than that, so, along with Industri, it has cemented some of the firmest friendships we have to this day, has introduced us to a wealth of D.J. talent and form many a week, month & year, been a superb stepping stone to club outings across the capital, not to mention hosting some exceptional events in its own right. And when it comes to celebrating Barcode’s birthday’s we have been there with our (proverbial of course!) knobs on, the 3rd anniversary pretty legendary, not least for the images of our prancing that were projected here there & everywhere.
However, as always seems to be the case of late, we find our devotions being torn between events, this last Saturday being no exception as we had made a commitment to Casa Latina, leaving a gaping gap in the coverage of Barcode’s 5th birthday. But fear not, as having taken on the services of our “Secret Squirrel” undercover reviewer a few weeks ago, we once again drew on his support, sending him into the anniversary audacity to report back and this is what he had to say.
“…Arriving at 11 p.m. I was somewhat surprised to find the front bar probably only about half full. So, having bumped into a small bunch of friends, we all moved down into the back room where Gonzalo was D.J.’ing, this bit of Barcode much busier than the other. However, not being able to drink left me a little bit out of sorts, especially as some of my friends were indulging a little bit too much, others also quite sozzled, bumping into me as the bar got busier & busier. By midnight the back space was really full, although to be honest, wasn’t feeling very birthday like, save for the occasional ticker tape explosions that showered down, no sign of dancers, stage shows or production that shouted “anniversary, birthday or celebration”. So, with Lovebox the following day calling along with a Sunday brunch date, I decided to call it a day at around 2 p.m., indeed with no sign of someone, a message was sent saying, “missed you, did you come out of a cake?”, realising that, in stepping outside I may have missed him, that & something else. However, the reality was that, while it was a busy night, it didn’t feel like anything special, the event not building to any point and I walked away wondering what all the fuss had been about….”
Well, it certainly seems from our SS’s assessment that, for some reason, there seems to be an undercurrent of unwillingness of the team to push the envelope with events like this, compared with when the venue opened, it being clear to us that Barcode finds itself in a current crisis of faith, having sold of its Soho sister to concentrate all efforts on the Vauxhall operation, but seemingly letting an important milestone pass with little or no fanfare. Yes, there have been some very positive developments of late, not least the marrying of minds with Area next door, making Beyond’s “Super Size” parties the huge success that they are and there is much effort going into reinvigorating the Sunday sessions which we loved so much, but with the demise of Industri and the disappearance of Soho has left us scratching our heads somewhat, begging the question, where next for Barcode? Well, a reshuffling of middle management is still very much in its infancy and we are expecting great things from the new team, but it is clear that further injection of ideas, of enticements & moreover, capital, is what s required to secure Barcode’s future in Vauxhall. There is definitely a market place for the bar, it is just a question of whether it can continue to survive on the one night in the week that it is busy enough to justify its existence, although all that said, given how much of an important cog it is in the clubbing circuit, we will be continuing to support it where we can and hope you will too. (DISCO MATT)
There are often occasions when we step back, take a look at our reporting and then consider a re-focus, a re-positioning & moreover a re-think, this week being one of those occasions when we find ourselves asking the question, what do our “Best Bites” recommendations actually achieve? Yes, there is no doubt that, in life everyone has their favourites, although there is a train of thought to say that by laying our hat in favour of certain bars, clubs & events over others, we are not spreading the reporting & recommendations love as we like to do. That said, we are only human and as such we cannot deny that we have our favourites, but there is a serious question mark over whether there is room for such favouritism in our broad recommendations newsletter and then whether those “Best Bites” mentions actually translate into a solid recommendation or just a matter of opinion.
So, while we consider our position with regard to our weekly Best Bites & Short Shouts newsletter as it stands, we will be throwing more energy into our “Weekend Focus” recommends previews, these more detailed posts being where those clubs & events that deserve extra special attention, will get the exposure they deserve. Indeed with lots of new ventures on the horizon, plus big festivals coming up, there are some great events to share with you, not least two new club nights in London, Le Boy & Blessed, the forthcoming Brighton Pride weekend, and then internationally, the Circuit Festival in Barcelona & the XLsior Festival in Mykonos. This means that our much missed “Previews” will be back too, as we cast our eyes much further into the future to prologue some of the biggest happenings across the capitals clubbing scene & beyond.
That said, there is still a place for our weekly recommends newsletter, although it does need some re-focus. So, for the next few editions, we will be trialling a new format entitled “Bar Bites & Club Cuts”, very much more in the short shouts style, where we will give equal slots to all, in a brief bullet point paragraph which will detail the essential information and then a link to the relevant websites or ticket pages. This change in focus will allow us to include more, expand the choice and make the newsletter much more inclusive & less favouritism based. So, this is now your opportunity, bar, club & event managers, to let us know if you want to be involved, while you socialites & clubbers can also have your say in this new look newsletter, by dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or my plastering our Facebook wall at http://facebook.com/discomattlondon, letting us know what you think of the new format.
So, keep your eyes peeled for the first “Bar Bites & Club Cuts” posts coming up this Thursday (28th July) and then every Thursday for the remainder of the summer season at least. (DISCO MATT)
In this very cosmopolitan world that we find ourselves within, it seems that all corners of the globe seem to be represented across the gay clubbing scene here in the capital, Eastern Europe, Spain, & Italy three of a whole raft of others playing their part in making our outings the colourful & spice that they are, although in recent months we have seen a significant surge in the numbers of Brazilians making their mark. Indeed we have often remarked & mentioned them in our reviews & report a bunch having befriended us at Beyond & elsewhere, the likes of Bel, Giuseppe, Pablo & Sophie part of the Pitron posse of people that inject so much fun & frivolity into our frolics. And it seems they are having their say within the clubbing infrastructure too, Brazilian import The Week having spurned a new club born out of the influx of its country folk to London & headed up by two guys that themselves have played a prolific part in brands such as Lovechild, Matinee, Onyx & SuperMartXe in the last couple of years and who joined forces to propel this new club into the scene spotlight after a less than auspicious start earlier this year.
Casa Latina was a concept that had its roots planted in the London clubbing scene following the resounding success of The Week here back in September last year, the switch of this Brazilian brand form Fire to The Coronet in April pretty much taking the wind out of the sails of the Casa launch which was inappropriately scheduled for the following Saturday. And whilst we were not there to report on it all, having found ourselves away in Barcelona for the Delice Dream festival, by all accounts it received a luke warm reception, leaving much work to do to make it a viable proposition for further parties. However, with the marriage of minds between dance choreographer Thiago Drewry & ex SuperMartXe operations cog Mauricio Ortiz, plus with the organisational might of The Orange Group behind it, the second Casa Latina outing had much more promise. With the Brazilian theme played to its strengths by the injection of D.J. talents Leandro Kloppel, DouGuim & new boy Junior Moura, as well as packing a punch with scene favourites Jamie Head, Nathan Six & Brent Nicholls, the promise of prolific production, dextrous dancers & superb stage shows making a visit this time round a must, leaving the question, how did this second showing score? and which of all the shining stars shone the brightest?
Arriving a little later than originally planned at midnight, the club having opened a hour earlier and our liege for what turned out as an entirely engrossing evening (well night come morning actually), Steve Pitron, having requested our company from the start, we were a little wary as we entered Fire, having been sent a signal that the “Porridge Woman” was lurking ready to pounce. So, having easily negotiated all the formalities, we made our gingerly way down the main room dancefloor in the direction of the D.J. booth, our attention diverted by the superb stage stetting, a life size model of a 1950’s American roadster which made a superb statement of intent for this “super Carwash” themed event. Then, with Steve waving us across to greet fellow friend Adam, we also popped up behind the D.J. booth to say hello do Celso, aka D.J. Junior Moura, who was already setting about selecting a string of storming sounds, very uplifting in their making & just the captivating curtain raiser Casa was in need of.
With no sign of Alyson (she of “Porridge Woman” fame!), it was down to Steve & Adam to chase us around on our spot, as more & more people began to arrive, Fire’s main room filling to capacity before our very eyes, the lion’s share of capitals Brazilian club scene landing on this Latina love-in, including our bunch of Casa compatriots, Giuseppe & Sophie, both very much in party mood, while Casa cogs Naomi Ruiz & Paul Vlad graced our presence & made us very welcome. And Junior’s prolific performance behind the decks was clearly going down well, the main room alight with action, the effects, pyrotechnics & lasers kicking in, elevating the atmosphere to amazing heights, deliverer of this delight, the delectable Dorin, spotting us and giving us a hearty hug, while our playful pals continued to test our iron lung with their Alyson inspired antics.
By now Casa Latina was bursting at the seams, even the lounge space jam packed as Ariel & his percussionist laid down bags of Brazilian beats to a cavorting crowd, the heat of this happening resorting us to quick dives outside with Steve for some fresh air, the expectation of the third space opening not coming to fruition, rather the sheer volume of people at the party making the choice where to lay out hat a tricky one. But the decision to stick with Junior’s jives in the main room was the right one, as when the stage shows kicked in, we were in for tons of terrific treats, Mauricio & Thiago having pulled out all the stops with a team of drop dead gorgeous guys & girls, who caught the crowd’s attention immediately, using that 1950’s car as their motion machine, creating a simply stunning stage show that went on & on, a whole bank of camera’s flashing furiously, including fab Photographer Chris Jepson & SeenQueen’s own Brent Nicholls, both who had spotted us and pointed their camera’s in our direction, the naughty Mr Jepson even pushing us into his boot while Brent caught this audacious action on film.
With Junior’s superb set over, D’Johnny assumed control of the marvellous music, dipping in & out of tech toned tracks, merging them with progressive beats that for us were not quite casa, but nevertheless seemed to be doing the trick, Fire’s main room showing no signs of slowing down, rather the numbers swelling even further, making this one of the best atmospheres in the club we have witnessed in a long time. However, with Steve & co having melted into the night, we regressed into the lounge where Brent Nicholls had taken over the action from Ariel, we soon finding our favoured spot just by the D.J. booth and sinking into a succession of sounds, his set having much more of a Latin flavour to it to begin with, but he soon sliding in some dancefloor favourites including the DM classic “Release Me”, quickly followed by a remix version of the Pitron/DM anthem “Stronger”, the inclusion of “You’ve Got The Love” pretty much inevitable, our reaction as always filled with tearful emotion. And, it was clear that whilst the main room was very much the mainstay of this magnificent meet, the second space was having its say too, Brent doing his bit brilliantly, while Leandro Kloppel was masterminding the music next door.
With an eye towards our following day frolic across to East London for Lovebox very much playing on our minds now, we sought the solace of a small space at the bottom of the lounge room, where we bumped into Beyond’s best Tom Fuller, he very much lapping up everything about this Latina lauding, not least the shots of Sambuca which a succession of cut boys were buying him. And this seemed to be the place to stand, as a myriad of other familiar faces wandered past, including scene mistress Minty, dextrous dancer Luke & the marvellous Mr Marchant, less his D.J. partner Nick Tcherniak, but clearly enjoying this exceptional event. However with the clock striking 5 a.m., in our minds at least, we headed back to our final resting, well dancing spot by Mr Nicholls, who was close to handing the reigns over to the bold & beautiful Nathan Six, we having had a moment with our iron lung as Brent played what looked like becoming our track of the weekend, “I Rock, I Sweat, I Dance”, before we finally threw in the towel, heading home to reflect on one of the best events in Fire in a long while.
Well, you can probably gather that we thoroughly enjoyed this second Casa Latina outing and whist not being able to compare it with the first, as we weren’t there”, it was clear that the Mauricio Ortiz influence had a major part to play in the success of this exceptional event, the SuperMartXe style stamp in terms of the production, the dancers & all the upfront promotion, especially the video viral that set the “Super Carwash” theme scene superbly. And, that Mauricio magic shone through from start to finish, although the whole team have to be congratulated on what was an outstanding outing. In terms of our highlights, prancing around with the Pitron posse was up there, as was our second session in as many weeks in Fire’s lounge space, spinning on our spot to Brent Nicholls brilliant beats. However, top of the tree for us was Junior Moura, who, given this was only his fifth gig on the scene, his performance was professionally polished, dynamic in its delivery & pitched perfectly and whilst we have to admit that he has been taught by one of the masters at this art, it is clear that he has the talent to turn to this skill. As for Casa, this second outing looks set have secured its place on the capitals clubbing circuit, the irregular gathering format sure to maintain its market position which, after this outing, ranks very high in the popularity stakes. (DISCO MATT)