There is no question that 2011 has so far been an interesting year for one of our most favourite clubbing brands, the start signalling a succession of award winning accolades, followed by a string of parties that rode this awesome afterhours on a wave crest that showed no signs on crashing on the rocks. Yet, with an undercurrent that was tugging it towards a tide change, not least some of its key players having fallen by the wayside or sidelined from prominent positions, there appeared to be a crisis of faith developing amongst some of its loyal & longstanding customers, issues of promoter presence (or the lack of it) & winning formula busting decision making riding high in people’s minds, and for a while it seemed one of its staunchest supporters had lost faith not just in the club, but in the organisation behind it. However, through this period of unrest, Beyond continued to carve a path of significant success, not least with the emergence of a new alliance that allowed it to extend its “Super” styled events to match the might of its “Midnight” meets.
Bringing together Beyond & Barcode had been an aim pretty high on The Orange Group’s wish-list for some time, although with the bars management team of the time constantly placing a number of obstacles in the way, the marriage of minds that was seen as inherent sense by the clubbing public, took much longer to come to fruition. However, when the brilliant news of a breakthrough came our way, not least with the scheduling of the first joint event between Beyond & its next door neighbour on the last Bank Holiday in May, the second “Supersize” party proved a huge success, not least as it served up an extended alfresco area between the two venues that sat extremely well with the clubbing fraternity. But there was much more to this super sized offering, not least a further two dancefloors to accommodate the extra numbers this headlining holiday weekend event ended up attracting, all roads seemingly leading to Beyond and the team reporting on one of the best turnouts in their now lengthy history, every single element that made this awesome afterhours so great over the years & in more recent times, very much present & correct.
So, when we heard that the next event in the “Super Size” series would centrepiece a hectic London Gay Pride Orange Group weekend of events that stretched into double figures, the aptly named “Super Pride” party signalling a second joining of forces with Barcode, it was one Beyond that we were not going to miss, even over our dead body, or at least one that was still in recovery mode after a serious road accident just three weeks before. Indeed, to ensure that our whole experience of this magical meet wasn’t diminished by over indulgence in others, we took the painful but sensible decision to rest in the immediate hours preceding this latest Sunday morning session, thus missing out on the massive WE “Heroes” event, rather sending our undercover reviewer to report on it all, our exploits in the hands of the Pitron posse in Barcode exhausting our fragile back bones & testing that now infamous iron lung to its limits. But the rest choice was to prove a wise decision, especially given the disco nap that ensued, meaning it was close on 7 a.m. before we hit the road & the short trip to Vauxhall and a liaison with a throng of folk & our favourite foray on the clubbing calendar.
With a sizeable queue still presenting itself as we arrived at Beyond’s entrance, everyone was still safe in the knowledge that all the extra space would mean that they would soon be into this exceptional event to soak up everything that this super sized “Super Pride”” party had to throw at them. And while we couldn’t spot the familiar & friendly face of Tom Fuller in his usual marvellous queue management mode, we were grateful that after a longer than usual wait, door hostess Juliana & management man Phillipe Chiarella recognised us in an instant, waving us right through into the action, passed the eagerly awaiting others that were dying to dive into the delights of this Beyond bash. So, winding our way into the terrace space, we spotted the familiar figure of D.J. The Oli behind the decks, serving up a sweet selection of scorching sounds to a packed out space, the feel that this was going to be another exceptional event already enveloping us, as we advanced further through the Area expanse, weaving past a sea of gyrating bodies in the chapel room where David Jimenez was weaving his magical musical wand of deep tech house that had plenty of appreciative adorners to his art & his dance directives. But it was Beyond’s main room where we were headed, our arrival now only impeded by the need to park our belongings safely, which we did with consummate ease & efficiency, meaning that we arrived on our spot in an instant, soaking up the splendour of this space for the first time in nearly a month.
Finding ourselves back in what we consider as our own holy grail, this spot in Area’s main room having been responsible for some of the most magnificent memories in recent months & years, we could feel the emotion of being back on our spot already consuming us, not least as one of the clubs major memory protagonists, Mikey D, was in charge of the tunes, already delivering delicious delectations of heavenly house, rousing rhythmical beats, full of uplifting tones & tech infusions that was a clear statement of his current style. And it was hardly moments before we found ourselves well into our stride, matching the movements of those around us that already included fabulous friends Andrea, Stephen (aka Miss Cougar), Muir, plus many of the usual Brazilian bunch, a whole further succession of familiar faces passing us by & saying hi, including the delectable Dorin & the superb Sophie, both giving us a warming hug & feeling so pleased to see us as we were them, we very much staggered by all the wonderful welcoming wishes. But it was Mikey & his music that was now grabbing us the most, not least when he pulled out our track of the week, “Pressure” having featured in his back-to-back set in Soho just a few hours before and sounding even more spectacular in these spectacular surroundings.
With Beyond’s main room absolutely rocking & rolling, this “Super Pride” event well into its stride thanks to the dynamic Mr Dower, we were going nowhere, especially as Mikey had already invoked plenty of “Doing The Disco Dance” moves from our spot, the arrival of Steve Pitron & Celso signalling yet another captivating chapter in an already wonderful weekend in the company of these fantastic friends. With Steve assuming his position behind the decks, it was no surprise that he immediately sent us wild with his track choices, “Bitch Lady” also having featured large over the last few days, although for reasons only both he & we knew best, the opportunities to soak up some of that precision Pitron perfection escaping us due to our unfortunate accident, the whole emotion of it all becoming too much, especially when he selected “Starry Eyed”, we finding the tears rolling down our face, Andrea coming to our aid as we cowered in the corner trying to get a grip. But the tracks kept coming, “So Alive” making us realise where we were yet that it could have been so different, then a chance meet with a true legend of a D.J., Antoine 909, pulling us out of our precarious state towards the elation that we had expected of this rapturous return to the best club in the world, or at least how we see Beyond.
With our morning far from over, indeed with still a sizeable slice of Steve’s set to savour, Brazilian beauty Bel by our side, although not tweeting as much as usual, she plainly missing her beau who had returned to Brazil just hours before, Steve continued to stir our emotions, serving up a truly spectacular set, picking on a whole load of Disco matt favourites, including “Waiting For You”, “Last Forever” and the biggie “You’ve Got The Love”, even “Offshore” thrown in for good measure, The Beyond faithful getting their own fill of others like “Sweet Dreams”, “Souk” & “Downpipe”, Mr Pitron placing everything perfectly in their prancing path, the lighting not quite as we would have liked, queen of that scene, Smalls, off duty although very much present. And with our close companions aghast with our now extravagant dancing dervishes, we feeling absolutely no pain or discomfort from our back bones or iron lung, we soaked up the remainder of yet another precision perfect performance from Beyond’s main man, he eventually handing over the reins to The Sharp Boys, who along with a fulsome Fat Tony towering treat of a turn, carried us through to a midday exit from this exceptional “Super Pride” event, we hardly needing to step into the Barcode side or even the alfresco area as we would usually do.
Without question the marriage of minds between Beyond & Barcode has given this awesome afterhours a new dimension, the extra space allowing clubbers to feel even more at ease with their Sunday morning dancing devotions, the fact that especially on extended & special weekends on the clubbing calendar, the extra space that that amalgamation of the two venues neatly accommodates the “all roads lead to” element that has become a feature of Beyond, works like a dream. And whilst to the untrained eye, it seems that the main benefactor in this marriage of minds is Beyond, the reality is that the bringing together of these two brilliant brands is to the greater good of the clubbing community, which is surely what this amazing association should be all about. As for our experience this time round, having clearly missed being in the bracing beguilement of Beyond for as long as we did, our rapturous return did erupt emotions over & above what we had expected, yet in such a good way that being on our spot again & savouring the scintillating sets of both Mikey D & Steve Pitron, along with pulsating performances from the rest of the all-star resident D.J. team made our return the sweetest sensation we could have wished for. So, long live the bonding between these two brands & long live our adorable afterhours as we will surely be back for more Beyond brilliance before you know it. (DISCO MATT)