We look back over the last three years, having seen a myriad of club nights, events & other occasions come & go, while for those that remain, as well as those newcomers making their mark, we can count on one hand the clubs that have had a meaningful impression upon us, one in particular very much responsible for our existence and one that can boast having formed & cemented some of our firmest friendships. Industri, having been launched back in January 2008, quickly established itself as a splendid social soiree, indeed the innovator of the modern day week night gathering, a mantle very much taken up by newer clubs Room Service & Gigolo. With a unique selling point in the form of a formidable threesome, social scenestress Minty & her boys Brent Nicholls & Paul Heron, the early days saw a succession of prolific parties at its original week night slot & home, Thursdays at Barcode Vauxhall.
However, with mixed fortunes after the one year itch making the host venue management team take an uncommitted stance, thus breaking up the back-to-back magic, followed by a switch from Vauxhall to Soho as well from a Thursday to a Wednesday, the writing was pretty much on the wall. So, with the added nail into the Industri coffin coming with the announcement that Barcode Soho had been sold to the highest bidder, a subsequent power struggle ensued over the rights to Industri as a brand, leaving us in the knowledge that “The Last Dance” was an inevitable conclusion to what had been, in our view, a six month slide in this splendid social soiree following the venue switch, the sad day arriving with a sudden announcement that left us catching our breath. But rather than being melancholy about the curtain call on Minty’s marvel, with the bit between our teeth to drum up support for this final fling, we rallied support & made plans to brush our recent injuries aside and strike a pose at what was sadly to turn out as a bitter sweet soiree swansong.
Arriving at Barcode’s doors at just shy of 9.30 p.m. a good half an hour intro proceedings, we were somewhat surprised to find it virtually empty, the lights still blazing & a district lack of music, the duo of Brent Nicholls & Paul Heron struggling to get the anarchic sound system working, the walls of the bar having been stripped of branding & the place looking pretty sorry for itself. Finding a spot out of harm’s way so as to avoid irritating our repairing bones, we waited patiently as a smattering of Industri faithful began to arrive, clubbing pal Stephen aka Miss Cougar, quickly followed by fabulous friend Tom Fuller, other Industri originals including Chris Wilcox, Kym Oliver, Jeremy Moeder, & David Robins, all making their homage to this last dance affair. And with the crowd beginning to swell to a reasonable size, we content in our corner, resting our iron lung, while The Candyman’s delivery seemed to be going down well, Industri in these pseudo Barcode Soho surroundings was feeling much more like the good old days, especially with both Brent & Paul playing back-to-back, a succession of superb sounds bringing back so many good memories, even the more recent Industri faithful additions revelling in the rapture of this curtain call to this social soiree splendour.
With Barcode now buzzing and we comfortable with our lot, not least being in the captivating company & conversation with the tip top Tom Fuller, it was down to the music to also do some of the talking, the proverbial fat lady singing as Mr Nicholls astounding us with one unbelievable remix after the next, Abba’s “Lay All Your Love On Me” quickly followed by Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes”, we declaring to Tom that it could only be Industri. And with Minty strutting her stuff in a-typical style, we were tempted to invoke an improtu “Doing The Disco Matt” session, although preferred the comfort of our stool as a wave of familiar faces popped across to say hello, clubber Miss Cougar now enacting her trademark moves that always leave us is hysterics, this occasion being no exception, But back to the music & with Paul back in control, we sank into a succession of sublime sounds, not least the pulsating “Pressure” and then the truly terrific 2011 take on the classic “You’ve Got The Love”, his final spins hitting our musical mark magnificently, while a marshmallow missile also hit its intended mark, striking us while our back was turned towards the bar, a prank that proved a bitter end to this sweet soiree swansong, not quite the memory of Industri we were expecting to walk away with, “Bitch Lady” seemingly the most appropriate track to end with, not least describing our feelings towards the missile throwing madman.
Wending our way home to reflect on a milestone in our lives passed, there is no doubt that Industri’s influence on our clubbing cavorting will go down in history, so many exceptional events enjoyed, so many fabulous friends found & so many magical memories mustered. Yet, while this “Last Dance” affair had much more of the terrific trappings of Industri of old, we cannot escape the fact that moving it from Vauxhall to Soho and disbanding the fabulous formula of the D.J. back-to-back format, were two major contributors to the clubs undoing, the lack of commitment on the part of Barcode inevitably sinking the final nail into the Industri coffin. While the brand may now be dead & buried, the trio of Minty, Paul & Brent are promising to be back with something similar but under another name, so only time will tell whether the Industri magic we savoured over the last 3 years can live on under this diferent guise & direction. However, with Room Service & Gigolo now standing squarely under the scene spotlight, there is a new era in the life of the splendid social soiree, meaning Minty & co have their work cut out to once again make their mark, but with the right backing & the right formula there is no reason to believe that they won’t succeed and we will certainly be there to witness their ressurection. (DISCO MATT)