Archive for August 2011
There is a saying that goes, when you are tired on London you are tired of life and the same could be said for one particular club that always seems to rise to the occasion and keep us attentive & attracted, this bank holiday being no exception. So, whilst some of the scenes biggest guns playing their cards and took the opportunity to steal the show, others decided to simply stand in the wings and watch as Beyond pulled its own ace out of the pack, headlining a one-off performance by one of its now legendary all star residents. And whist this incredible individual took the bold & brave decision to retire from the decks earlier this year, a return at some stage was always on the cards, our inside track deluding to this special appearance many weeks before, but the news breaking to the wider world just last month, Alan K’s re-emergence to our most favourite of afterhours the centre piece of a Beyond circus spectacle that promised much for this final bank holiday weekend of 2011. But did The Big Top” delver to expectation?, how did Alan fair for this one-off set showing? And what was our verdict on this latest chapter in the Beyond book of brilliant bashes?
To say that we were gutted to miss out on Alan’s then final ever Beyond performance back in March, a pre-planned holiday home to South Africa having kyboshed our appearance at what turned out to be an emotional charged yet euphoric curtain call by this mesmeric multi mixing master who had, for the previous three years virtually owned the final set in the main room. Indeed scores of people would make the homage to the holy grail that was Area on a Sunday morning to see him perform, hardly a week going by without Alan’s inclusion in the line-up. With his retirement from the decks coming as a bit of a shock, while we did our best to get used to the idea, it would be fair to say that Beyond from then on always seemed to be lacking of his presence, yes we have enjoyed countless weeks in its grips, not least courtesy of other all-stars from the clubs residency repertoire, Steve Pitron, Mikey D, The Sharp Boys, Fat Tony, Jamie Head & The Oil to mention just a few, but without Alan was like having that final piece of your treasured jigsaw missing, a gap that could never really be filled without the proper part. So, having missed out on that final set, we were determined not to miss this special appearance, breaking our summer siesta & clubbing curfew especially, Beyond’s “Big Top” event set to he the star turn of our weekend return as well as Alan’s.
So, we were Beyond bound, arriving at Area’s doors at just turned 7 a.m., having taken a short disco nap & break following our first weekend excursion to WE London’s “Prison Of Love” event, the respite allowing us to recharge our batteries ready for what was expected to be a Beyond bank holiday bash to remember. That said, it was also going to prove an emotional one, not least due to Alan K’s showing, but as much to the absence of one of its other truly legendary resident’s, Steve Patron missing from a main room line-up that would have proved perfect had he been there, but with Mikey D taking up the mantle of the first slot, then Alan sliding into the second, the path was clear for Jamie Hammond to complete the revised roster. But this had all only become apparent to us after having negotiated not one, but two lengthy coatcheck queues, our arrival at the head of the first met with “…sorry no more bags, you need to go to the other one…”, this mindless muddle marring the efficient entry engineered by the terrific Tom.
With this delay adding to our already late arrival, on top of the fact that the massive numbers already occupying the club meant it was just gone 8 a.m. before we made it close to our spot in Beyond’s main room, our timing however proving perfect as Alan K’s arrival matched ours, hoards of followers of his trying to grab a piece of his attention, like us truly excited to see him back. But, with a slightly nervous Mr K heading off in search of some dutch courage, we assumed our tightly packed place, as Mikey D lauded a score of superb sounds on us, picking Pitron-esque anthems that would surely have just one result, an over pouring of emotion that was to see us literally weeping on our squeezed out spot, Steve’s absence already telling. With first a message from our music maestro hitting us hard, then Mikey’s selection of the towering track “You’ve Got The Love” tumbling our tears, we spent the rest of his prolific performance wiping our emotional eyes, yet in awe of Mr Dower’s dynamic deliveries.
Now it was time for multi mixing master Mr K to assume the decks, he having installed his own equipment for the special one-off performance in the knowledge that he wanted to treat the Beyond faithful to the best that he could muster, his assumption of the decks the most amazing antidote to our exaggerated emotions, turning tears of sadness into jubilant joy, the crowd filling out an already packed main room even more as he started his spectacular set in superb style. And in an instant we knew we were in for something quite special, the equipment allowing Alan to exercise his multi mixing to the max, our ears pricking up to the scintillating sounds of not just two but sometimes three tracks blended brilliantly, this legend in our lifetime already in full flow, head down & concentrating on his creations. So good was the music mixing and the reception he was receiving that the arrival of the dancers on the stage seemed much more of a side show than a main attraction, that attraction being Alan who continued to pump out one pulsating production after the other.
But Mr K wasn’t hogging all the spotlight of this superb Beyond smash, as The Sharp Boys had assumed the chapel room decks, taking over from stalwart Paul Christian, the duo of George & Steven showing a tech side to their music that brought memories of Trade’s lite lounge zooming back, a moments respite from the main room machinations find us in their clutches and loving every minute. Then there was the terrace, Fat Tony completing a slightly experimental yet intriguing line-up of Leandro Kloppel & Ariel, the Brazilian making his Beyond debut and very much setting the scene with a creditable opening set. But the main room was where much of the action was occurring, the space having been decked out in with circus style production to befit the “big top” theme, the most striking element being a life like & size tiger right in front of the D.J. booth, while a gazebo tent towards the back was probably as close as the team could get to the circus equivalent.
However all eyes were still on Alan, who had turned out tons of terrific tunes by now, the main room not waning one little bit, rather lapping up ach & every morsel of music he was masterminding, the multi mixing continuing and everyone ecstatically enthralled with the energy he was engulfing them with. And it was clear he was in the zone as the usual glimpses over the D.J. booth in our direction were noticeably absent, save for one instance when the look on his face & ours said everything, this proving as one of his most prolific performances we had witnessed all year. However, with Jamie Hammond now in the house, the time was drawing near when Alan’s one-off set would come to an end, his young compatriot a little nerve wracked with the occasion, no surprise since this was his first beyond main room set and following Alan would always prove to be a tall order. And when the switch came, we grabbing a moment to congratulate Alan on his awesome appearance, Mr Hammond took up the challenge superbly, keeping the octane fuelled atmosphere that he had inherited from Alan as pulsating powerful as his predecessor, the room reacting resplendently. For us, however, with our rusty iron lung little out of practice and our stamina having been shortened by our summer siesta, it was nearly time to throw in the towel, especially given the further schedule of parties ahead, so after one final circulation of the club & outside space, it was time to wave farewell to this awesome Alan audaciousness, catching the man of the moment on our way out to say a fond farewell & thank you for what was without doubt the set of the weekend.
So, it kind of goes without saying that Beyond, once again, proved a spectacular bank holiday success, all roads certainly pointing in its direction as they do most weeks, although on this occasion there was no doubting the draw of Alan K made for an even bigger crowd than usual. And the man certainly didn’t disappoint, very much making up for the absence of Steve Pitron, serving up a most stunning set that was trademark terrific in every respect, this “Big Top” bonanza very much about this multi mixing maestro & his magnificent music. But hats also have to go off to the supporting cast of stars, all to added to the amazing Alan effect, The Sharp Boys tech tainted triumph, Jamie Hammonds superb showing and the whole terrace crew, but moreover to the delectable deliveries from Mikey D, who sent our emotions racing & our hearts pounding with his heavenly hits. But the last mention has to go to Alan, Beyond certainly a pooper place without his regular inclusion, yet with his priorities firmly set on raising & looking after his young family, we can simply be thankful for this special appearance and only hope that he can fit in the odd one here & there, and when he does, you can bet your bottom dollar we will be there to witness it. (DISCO MATT)
When we look back across the last few years in clubland London, hardly a bank holiday weekend goes by without a slice of Spanish splendour exerting its influence, Matinee being the main protagonist, although in more recent times, competitor brand SuperMartXe claiming its stake in this prized possession of a party placing. However, with the former having faded into the background and its natural rival also slinking into the sidelines, the coast was clear for a third protagonist to take hold, WE party having already made a massive mark on the capitals clubbing circuit, exceptional events “Candy” & “Heroes” cementing its position as the leading international import clubbing brand in London and thus making it a hot ticket for the final bank holiday of the year. That said, with a hectic schedule of parties, WE was assuming what has been acknowledged as the weaker night of the long weekend, Saturday proving a sticky wicket for many, including the might of Matinee & the splendour of SuperMartXe, leaving us to question, would the wonder of WE succeed where others have failed?
For their latest billboard bash, the combined forces of WE’s Madrid men & London lot had decided on the title “Prison of Love”, the theme that had received critical acclaim at the Spanish capital’s pride event back in July, The Coronet in Elephant & Castle being the next stop for this next chapter in the increasingly impressive & seemingly invincible march of this magnificent meet. Plus, while the expansion of WE across Europe & indeed the world had now captured destinations including New York, Paris, Rome, Mykonos & Ibiza, London was seen as the closest replication of the might of Madrid, the huge scale of La Riviera being emulated by The Coronet, allowing promoter Victor Pallas & his Spanish team to easily fit the concept together here in the capital. So, the scene was set for another prolific party and possibly a repeat of the roadblock reaction to both “Candy” & “Heroes”, well on paper at least, so how did this latest Orange Group orated outing actually turn out?, did that Saturday wicket stick come into play?, and were we locked in love with WE or crying out for an early release?
Having missed out on the last event in London, which, interestingly had taken place on the same night that “Prison of Love” had done in Madrid, we were determined to make this latest WE Party wonder, although coming out of a two week clubbing curfew, heading out on a Saturday night at just before midnight was feeling faintly foreign to us. However, arriving at the doors of The Coronet to the familiar faces of Tom Fuller, Ben Kaye & Minty, as well as the typical trait of a considerable queue, the popularity of this event quite evident to our eyes, we suddenly felt right back at home and ready for our lock in with love. So, with greeting & entrance formalites over, even what was looking like a longer wait for the coatcheck was over in a trice, a fabulous feat considering just how busy this WE party was already, this becoming even more evident when we stepped into the main room, the dancefloor absolutely packed with party people and virtually every other space crammed with cavorters lapping up this London marriage of minds with Madrid.
With our wrist wrapped with a VIP pass, we made the most of this special & much welcome treatment, by heading onto the bespoke balcony, arming ourselves with refreshments for the antics ahead, the view of the stage from where we were standing the best we would get all night, while our surveyance of the territory spotted D’Johnny in charge of the D.J. decks, treating a capacity Coronet to a storming set of tech fuelled yet uplifting beats that was befitting of the occasion & matching the Madrid music montage magnificently. But with the stage still blacked out in anticipation of the expected exceptional LED led stage show ahead, we decided to venture down onto the dancefloor, our arrival greeted by Ross Peterson & his posse, all fresh from their Circuit Festival foray yet still savouring more Spanish splendour, they not alone as the whole venue was alive with action, the atmosphere a brilliant buzz and this “Prison Of Love” event already laying the spooks of that Saturday sticky wicket to rest, the E&C enclave every bit as busy as the two bashes before, WE London certainly riding on a high wave crest of crowd captivation.
However there was much more to come, not least the arrival of Spanish superstar & WE resident D.J. Carlos Gallardo, a brief respite trip of ours missing the fanfare of the stage spectacle unveiling, but our return reaped with rapture as the music magician was waving his wand of wonderment over us, a simply stunning set that was engrossing our ears & massaging our minds with spectacular selections. And matching his energetic & eruptive emissions were the explosions of pyrotechnics & ticker tape showers, matched equally by the larger than life LED displays, immense images engulfing this event with their enthralling excess, even the drop dead gorgeous muscle bound male dancers pailing in significance to their superior size. So, soon finding ourselves taking in the enormity of this “Prison Of Love” party from a vantage point behind the dancefloor, it was clear that WE had made significant strides since our last full-on bonding with this brand, the winning formula of this prolific party playing out perfectly.
So we had now been well & truly locked in love with this prison party, even pushing our departure key out of reach for a while, rather continuing our cavorting around the cavernous club, bumping into familiar faces, one after the next, Mark Forns, Sophie Pearson, Pablo Teixeira, Altina Ha, JJ Clark & Chris Ho all huge highlights, although it was another Chris of the Jepson variety that caught us off guard yet again, accosting us close to the dancefloor, in a nice way of course, we fortunately finding ourselves simply saying hi rather than licking his boot (don’t ask). But with a rather strange female fizzing our hair, coupled with more than one or two bum pinches, we retired to comfortable distance as a slight slowing of the music signalled the rather long overdue PA performance, although one we probably could have done without, Tara Macdonald not quite hitting our sweet spot along with a score on notes in the recording renditions she was attempting to emulate, a so so showing nowhere near the perfection of Peyton who will forever be the wonderful WE performer on our pronounced pedestal.
With scintillating Carlos service resumed, the man absolutely nailing yet another superb, possibly the best we had witnessed yet, we were content to see out the rest of our stay at this WE winner on the VIP balcony, only encounters with first fat Tony then Mikey D making us feel a tad Beyond-ish, our minds beginning to focus on their bank holiday big top bash. But Mr Gallardo was going to have none of it, a successive string of sounds striking rapturous resonance and sending us into a spin on our spot, a fleeting glance & then chat with Tom Fuller the only intervention on our indulgence in Carlos’s ingenious music making. Then, just as we were about dig deep for the key to our release from this “Prison Of Love” party, a stunning set of visuals held us back, WE shouting a spectacular statement its international credentials with flags & associated wording that spoke volumes about this brilliant brand, we spotting Victor Pallas passing by us suitably pleased with his lot and for good reason, as this had turned out to be yet another exceptional event, leaving us to head home and reflect on just how good it had been, also deciphering the huge amount of highlights that made this a memory making marvel.
Since its launch in London back in December last year, WE has ascended close to the top of the tree in the capitals clubbing calendar, the combination of more accessible music compared with compatriots Matinee & SuperMartXe, along with the simply stunning stage shows and uniquely dynamic LED displays, have made this brilliant brand become a firm favourite with the clubbing fraternity. And with this “Prison of Love” event, it is clear to us that WE has cemented its security in the ever changing scene that we find ourselves within, it seemingly now able to attract even the diehard supporters of its competitors to the fray, a capacity crowd laying to rest the misconception that bank holiday big brand bashes on a Saturday simply don’t work as well. In terms of our highlights, while we cannot escape the obvious, the charming company we held and the exceptional effects we experienced, the pole position to chequered flag fabulousness of Carlos Gallardo tipped our scales the most, very much getting our vote of confidence as the best Spanish D.J. export to London we know, he more than anyone else ensuring we were locked in love rather than raring for release from this prison inspired party. (DISCO MATT)
Having decided to subject ourselves to a short summer siesta there was always going to be one club that we would miss the most, indeed when we cast our minds back just a few months to our South African adventure of four weeks, we simply had to sandwich our southern hemisphere stint with a full-on fill of our favourite & brilliant brand. Indeed, between these two breaks, this amazing afterhours has featured in our clubbing calendar & cavorting pretty much weekly, not least that the call to arms by one of its all-star residents has always been too much to resist. So as that summer siesta of ours comes to an end, there is definitely one club across the upcoming bank holiday weekend that we will be making, even if that certain resident may not be around, as with the return of one of its former lynch pin performers, wild horses will be needed to keep us from Area’s doors come Sunday morning as Beyond holds its “The Big Top” event extravaganza, a circus celebration that for us is more about the boy that will be back.
Sitting smack in the middle of two of the flagship weekend events, WE “Prison Of Love” & Brava’s launch (see our preview of the latter at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/08/previews-roll-on-the-revolution-brava-the-launch-sunday-28th-august/), Beyond looks set to be another smash on this final bank holiday of 2011, surely emulating the phrase that “all roads lead to”, not least that it welcomes back one of its former all-star D.J.’s to the decks who is sure to not just pack a punch with a prolific performance, but will attract an army of admirers & supporters to the fold. So, having missed out on what was then touted as his swansong of a set for Beyond back in March, we cannot contain our excitement to announce that the one & only Alan K will be making a (they say) “one-off” appearance at the bank holiday big top bonanza, rumour also having it that he will be joined for an impromptu back-to-back stint with youngster Jamie Hammond, although this is yet to be confirmed.
Now for those of you that have never witnessed an Alan K set, especially one at Beyond, this coming Sunday morning is an absolute must, as if the organisers words are to be believed, this is a rare opportunity to see this multi mixing master at work. And having devoted a special series of testimonial music focuses to mark what was then his final set for this awesome afterhours, we cannot think of a better way to acquaint you with what Alan has meant to us and to the club by sharing some highlights from previous performances of his to kind of set the scene of what you can expect from this towering talent.
“…we were far from ravaged with sadness & deflation, as Alan K assumed the decks and not just took over in style from where Steve had left of, but grabbed hold of a main room crowd that had pure energy seeping out of their pores, his brilliant mixing of not one, not two but three & sometimes four tracks keeping our toes on tips and our minds dazzled by the perfect blend of tunes…”
“…aided even further by the arrival of Alan K, who was delighted to see us dancing away, remarking that yet another Sunday looked set to be superbly special. And it was, as Alan took up the mantle left by Steve and treated us some a whole host of his multi-mixing skills, the main room crowd not waning in any way, rather taking up the challenge Mr K was laying down to make it through way past mid-day, all helped along by some rapturous records, especially an awesome self made mix of Zoe Baldwin’s “Release Me” that short of blew the roof off Beyond at Area…”
“…we dived back into the main room to catch up with Alan K, although such was the brilliance & euphoria of his set, we simply couldn’t tear ourselves away, only eventually doing so under duress at just before the 1 p.m. closing, leaving Area behind to reflect on a simply scintillating session at Beyond…”
And we have no doubt that for this “one-off” return, Alan will be exercising all those multi mixing skills & magic that we have witnessed so often, we being reliably informed that he will be bringing & installing his own technology that will add an even more dynamic dimension to his already divinely dextrous D.J.’ing. What Alan has up his sleeves when it comes to tracks we cannot say, however we are pinning our hopes that he pulls out some of those classic tunes that did it for us so many times, naturally all given the tantalising twist that only he can achieve, a good example of the man at his brilliant Beyond best being in the “live” podcast he laid down in March last year, which is still available at direct link http://djalank.podomatic.com/entry/2010-03-21T10_37_58-07_00 & well worth a listen.
While Alan is clearly a headlining highlight of this Beyond “The Big Top” event, there will be plenty more to tempt in the cavorting clubbers, not least a superb supporting cast of all-star D.J.’s that will, without doubt include Mikey D in the main room, Fat Tony in the terrace space and Paul Christian in the chapel, added to which the likes of Paul Heron, Hifi Sean & The Oli will also feature. Now, while we cannot confirm the final line-up and set timings, we are pretty sure Alan will assume his usual spot of 11 a.m., meaning you will need to pace yourselves for what will be a performance not to be missed, this in addition to the promise of some extra special stage performances from the Beyond dream team of dancers, Elektra Paris the ring mistress, whipping her boys & girls into audacious action, all dressed in genuine circus costumes. And they will be in amongst an Area club that will be totally transformed in a twisted travelling show splendour with production levels to top (excuse the pun) any ever seen in Beyond, while host for the event will be the magnificent Mauricio Ortiz.
To the all important detail and this Beyond “The Big Top” event extravaganza takes place at Area in Vauxhall this coming Sunday (28th Aug), door opening at 6 a.m. and the club running through to a planned 1 p.m. finish. Advance tickets are on sale through a number of sources & options, single entry available online at http://clubtickets.com priced at just £15, similar priced ones on sale at Soho outlets, prowler, Clone Zone & 50, while following the huge success of their “Big Ticket” offer earlier in the year, a combined entry to Beyond along with WE & Brava can still be obtained online for a joint deal price of £40 via direct link http://clubtickets.com/gb/2011-08/27/the-big-ticket-august-bank-holiday. Now, given how popular Beyond is just on regular weekends, let alone bank holiday’s we strongly advise you grab your advance tickets while you can, although there will be entry on the door, but expect to pay more, your entry in the safe hands of door maestro Tom Fuller & his terrific team.
So, if Beyond isn’t yet on your clubbing calendar for this weekend, then best you add it tout de suite and, along with the best that this “Big Top” event can muster make a date with the best multi mixing master there is, as Alan K is sure to left the roof off this circus spectacle for sure. (DISCO MATT)
As if you need convincing, for more evidence why this rare appearance by Alan K is unmissable, why not check out our devotions from earlier this year at the following direct links, http://discomatt.com/web/2011/02/music-multi-mixing-master-missed-alan-k-the-man-his-mixing-special-part-one-monday-28th-febraury/, http://discomatt.com/web/2011/03/music-multi-mixing-master-missed-alan-k-the-man-his-music-special-post-part-two-sunday-7th-march/ & http://discomatt.com/web/2011/03/music-multi-mixing-master-missed-alan-k-the-man-his-beyond-special-tribute-part-three-wednesday-9th-march/, while it’s worth tapping into his tunes by visiting his podcast site at http://djalank.podomatic.com/.
During our time both clubbing and reporting on clubbing we have seen a whole host of new concepts, launches & events that have tried to make an impression on the scene, some more successful than others, some standing the test of time, while others have fallen at the first hurdle, some even hardly getting out of their wrapping before being shelved as simply pie in the sky ideas. Yet, there always seems to be a penchant for a party and for something new, especially in recent times when the capitals clubbing circuit seems to be missing that sense of excitement & variety which we all seem to crave, big brands such as Lovechild, Matinee & SuperMartXe having seemingly dissolved before our eyes, while the trend for more boutique style soirees seems to be finding favour, think Room Service, Gigolo, & Meat, the private party theme also gathering steam, leaving us to wonder exactly where our beloved scene is heading and what has happened to the larger scale spectacles that always used to dominant the clubbing calendar.
So, when news hit our desks that the creators behind the two most successful brands on the current clubbing circuit in the capital, WE & Beyond, were launching a new concept, a new brand & a new way of clubbing, we were very excited about the prospect, not least given the colossal credential behind this so called “…international collaboration…”, Indeed, with WE Party having extended its audacious arms right across Europe with a successive series of sensational & prolific parties, while the brilliant brand that is Beyond has expanded its empire to include events in Australia, Brazil, France & Greece, the marriage of these minds to produce something fresh & exciting looks, at this concept stage at least, to have the seeds of success that should see it not only survive but thrive, just like its two clubbing mentors. But what is this new clubbing concept about?, why the collaboration?, where will it be played out?, & who will be commanding your clubbing attention?
Well let’s set out to answer those questions and first look at this new brand, one that has been hailed as a clubbing revolution and quoted as combining “…some of the greatest minds in gay clubbing… “ the creators are certainly shouting statements about this new venture, such as “…daring to push the boundaries of technology and club culture further than ever seen before, to create something truly spectacular..”, along with “…bringing together incredible new technology with an iconic image and cutting edge dance music…”, as well as “…altering reality before your very eyes and blurring the line between imagination and what you can perceive…”, bold & brave opinions indeed, meaning the name for this new club couldn’t be better expressed, as Brava fits its creators aspirations like a glove. And the branding very much shouts the revolutionary ideology of the club, while further claims that it “…heralds the start of a new era of London clubbing…” and will be “…the club launch of 2011…” indicate that the forces behind this new venture are determined to see it succeed.
So let’s drill down on more of the Brava detail, first & foremost covering off the host venue now called Electric, but better known to many as The Fridge in Brixton. Having graced its doors over the years for parties like Love Muscle, Revolver & Matinee, there was no question that the ravages of times had taken their toll on this south London institution, which was very much in need of a revamp. But just like Beyond did back in 2008, rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of its previous incarnation, Electric is doing the same and having recently received coverage in “Music Week”, who reported back in June that this “…new live music venue is set to offer promoters an affordable 1,500-plus capacity room when it opens its doors in September…” adding that “…having been closed since March when the premises were sold to investment group Omni Assets, with London crying out for a replacement for the now demolished Astoria, Omni has ploughed more than £1 million to refurbish the club…”. And having tracked down a promotional video viral which seems to speak volumes for the new look, we cannot wait to see the transformation for ourselves, while this short clip out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=9rL3xdN2hUU gives you a good flavour of what to expect, certain sources quoting that “…it will be a Koko-esque club with royal blue & gold decorations, a large dancefloor, a stage, plus a mezzanine level running all around the venue…”, while having spoken to Brava’s creators, we are aware a considerable amount of investment has also been ploughed into the venues sound & lighting, as well as ancillary faculties such as toilets & cloakrooms, all meaning that the transformation from Fridge to Electric will surely impress even the most sceptical of surveyors.
With the venue deal sealed, what about Brava itself? Well, as the claims seem to stake, this new club night sets to combine many of the elements that have made both Beyond & WE the successes they are, not least with the implementation of the most dazzling array of lighting, effects & equipment ever seen in a club. So we are definitely thinking the might of WE’s stage & visual displays at the Coronet, combined with the awesome Beyond at Area lighting & pyrotechnics, to produce sights spectacular, eye catching entertainment & mind blowing music. Saying that, the organisers are keeping much of the detail close to their chests, not least the announcement of a surprise P.A., (we are hoping Peyton), although the D.J. cats are very much out of the bag, as the line-up looks simply superb, international playboy Paul Heron, & Italian Stallion Pagano joined by special guest Peter Rauhofer, while this world class line-up is completed by Spanish superstar Lugi.
So let’s press the preview the pause button and concentrate on these music maestro’s for a moment, first focussing on Peter Rauhofer whose reputation precedes him, having played out to amazing accolade right across the globe, this Grammy award winning D.J./producer is probably most famous for his remixes of a number of Madonna‘s songs including “Nothing Really Matters“, “American Life“, “Impressive Instant, and “4 Minutes“, as well as Madge’s collaboration with Britney Spears, “Me Against The Music“. On top of that, he has also provided remixes Britney, along with Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Yoko Ono, Pink and Mariah Carey, while he also behind the tribal house record label Star 69, its roots like Peter, firmly rooted in the tribal house genre. However, he was recently responsible for remixing the Tears For Fears pop classic “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” which stormed dancefloors across the world, while remixes of other pop tracks belie his tribal intentions. While of Austrian decent, Peter bases himself in The States, in New York predominantly but is a genuine globetrotter, having played out at virtually every gay circuit party including Sydney’s Mardi Gras, Barcelona’s Circuit & Mimi’s White Party, but headlining Brava will mark his first ever appearance in London, so his set should be something special.
Turning to Pagano and it goes without saying that 2011 has been one hell of a year for him already, having held down an exhaustive schedule of gigs that has taken him to all corners of the globe, not least The States where he has gone down a storm and was featured in a full-on article in the country’s top rag for circuit parties & clubs, Noise Magazine, who titled their piece on Pags, “An Italian In London Conquers America”, enough said. But with a score of top notch tracks & remixes under his belt, this prolific producer is in the studio right now, pressing the second volume of his already renowned “Digital Generation” compilation, which we are reliably informed includes a remix of The Freemasons “Watchin”, his rework of “Big Time Sensuality” as well as an INXS sample to name just three, while you can grab your own copy of volume one at http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/kult-records-presents-digital/id412457425. And, his set at Brava is sure to appeal not only to Pagano purists, but to what will surely be a capacity clubbing crowd that crave progressive & pumping performances for which Francesco has become famous.
But we can’t forget Paul Heron who is on fantastic form himself at the moment, having just landed back in London from a spectacular showing for Beyond in Ibiza, while recent excursions for La Demence’s cruise along with trips to Paris, & Sao Paulo for the brand, have cemented his position as an all-star Beyond resident and one he has held on & off since the halcyon days at Colosseum. So, Paul’s inclusion in the Brava launch, given Beyond’s influence, very much fits and he has marked his involvement with a special podcast which hints towards the kind of music to expect at this revolution of a clubbing concept, a 70 minute mix you can grab now at http://orangenation.podomatic.com/entry/index/2011-08-11T08_52_50-07_00.
So, have we answered all the questions posed?, well nearly, just leaving us to wonder, why the collaboration between WE & Beyond. Well why not, as there can be no doubt that WE’s last couple of showings have proven its popular position within the capitals clubbing circuit, indeed with the next instalment, “Prison of Love” playing out this coming weekend, it should be grabbing some of the bank Holiday headlines. Then there is Beyond, this amazing afterhours having become so much more, it’s themed nights such as “Belief” & “Midnight” expanding the offer and making it an all encompassing club that sits as comfortably by itself as with the joint ventures it has carved out, links with brands like La Demence, The Week, XLsoir, Cafe Ole & Scream, great examples of Beyond has grown and continues to grow its stature. So, two better bedfellows in creating Brava we couldn’t wish for and so look forward to the launch, which takes place this Sunday (28th Aug), with excited expectation of something truly exceptional, so roll on the revolution!. (DISCO MATT)
Having set about catching up on lost time incurred during April & May with a series of four newsletters, for the eagle eyed in you, this fourth newsletter in that catch up series has been a long time coming, virtually two months to be exact, this in itself meaning we have catching up on catching up to do (heavens above!) . So, with our music hat firmly back on, as we get close to waving farewell to yet another month in 2011 (where is the year going?!?!), it’s time for that final chapter, as we cover off not just those music makers missing the previous three, but also bring you right up to date with the activities of some of those that did. Therefore, the term “colossal” could not be more appropriate, our most comprehensive newsletter yet pointing you towards a month that will see music come back to our core weekly postings, meaning more focuses, more special features & more newsletters.
So, let’s get to it and to our first catch up star Alessandro Londra, who has certainly had a busy last few months regular residencies at Rupert St, Lo-Profile, Lovechild, A:M & Barcode just a part of the picture, excursions with Alex Erfan’s loveable brand taking him as far as Istanbul & Sydney. So he can be kind of forgiven for the lack of studio work, although (like we are doing) has made up for lost ground with two recent releases. Sporting titles that couldn’t be any different, “Poison” & “Lecca Lecca” (Italian for kiss, kiss), both are representative of the Londra musical genre that has tech & progressive beats as core ingredients, these two podcasts allowing him to express his love for the tougher edged afterhours sound where he truly excels. These two mixes are certainly not mass market in appeal, but nevertheless reflect an emerging style of sound that is seeing alternative clubs sprout up right across Europe & the States, both worth a thorough investigation at http://djalessandrolondra.podomatic.com/.
Now one of those D.J.’s that is right up there serving up what we like to call the “Shoreditch Sound”, this tech, come electro twisted vibes, is Kris Di Angelis and it would be fair to say that his decision to follow this direction with his music has paid huge dividends. From his involvement with the madcap metrosexual club Circus, through to the phenomenon that is Room Service, not to mention the magnificent Meat & the prolific Pooldisco, Kris’s year got even better when he reached an important career landmark after what can only be described as painstaking & solid hard work. And another crowning glory recently was his performance for Circus at Lovebox with an twelve piece orchestra on stage no less. So with all this going on, he would be forgiven too for not being in the recording studio, but none of it, as Mr Di Angelis has been a busy bee and with over 40 tracks, mixes & compilations to choose from, including his “Live” series of podcasts, meaning you can sink into the world of Kris & his hip hop, electro twisted, jazz funk & soul, by going to http://soundcloud.com/krisdiangelis/. Plus watch this space for news on on the return of the stylish & sophisticated “Bachelor Block Party” which Kris will be hosting at Soho house, this most talked about private Soho shindigs back for more this August Bank Holiday Monday with guest D.J.’s including scene queen Jodie Harsh & the priness of Soho, Munroe Bergdorf, both joining our Shoreditch son on the decks.
While we are out Shoreditch way, we couldn’t let the moment pass without taking a brief look at super Swede Per Q.X., who, for those of you that follow these posts regularly will know, has been one of a mere handful of incredible influences on our clubbing career, residencies way back when at Barcode very much sticking in the mind, while we had one of the best New Years days in his hands in 2006. As for more recent times, there is no doubt that his intrinsic involvement with the way out & whacky Gutterslut has elevated this brand close to iconic status, Per seen by many in this alternative scene movement as a bit of a pioneer of what is now quite vogue. That said, he does show his hand back across in Vauxhall every now & then and played at uber chic private party “Up” last month, while showings for Lovechild, Queer Nation, Later and his old stomping ground, Barcode, have been recent features too. However, spreading his wings is very much reflected in his studio works of late, a recording from his live set at Ministry Of Sound high on the list, while gigs across Europe are represented by a slice from a Verona appearance among many others. And while his track “Blow Your Trumpet” very much catapulted his name right across the industry, his latest piece, “Ever Before” is right up there for us too, his long list of releases available by going to http://soundcloud.com/perqx/sets.
Right, time for a quick track interlude and one that is tipping our scales right now, but has been out there for a while, Roy Davis Jnr’s “Enjoy The Ride” is no dancefloor smash, but has considerable resonance with our rollercoaster ride experiences both on those dancefloors & elsewhere in our lives, the lyrics shouting exactly what we need to do. Having been given the James Talk & Ridney remix treatment, this immense track will be fighting for a slot in our year end top ten for sure and is available in full length glory at http://youtube.com/watch?v=yL2hBGwhc4E, while more & more D.J.’s seem to be including it in their performances & podcasts.
Heading away from Shoreditch and more to Sydney, next up in our catch-up collective is Aussie born & bred Terry Vietheer, who has very much laid his hat here in London and to great effect, having landed guest & residency spots that include clubs Lovechild & Popcorn, as well as the recent new smash Gigolo, all three spurning compilation creations, the former following his tour with the brand to Israel, while Popcorn celebrated its 14th birthday recently, Terry in the thick of the action and marking the occasion with a mix. Then of course there is Gigolo, Terry having featured large in three of its parties already, his compilation from their “Do It” event earlier this month very representative of his & the clubs disco house sound, so well worth a listen at http://soundcloud.com/gigolo-disco/gigolo-disco-sessions-mix-5. But compilations aside, Terry is also a fine producer of tracks, alongside recording partner Chris Cooper, their recent bootleg of Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” one of our favourites, this along with all his others & a selection of those podcasts available at http://soundcloud.com/terryvietheer/.
Sticking with the Sydney & Aussie theme is a new entrant to our newsletters, but a worthy addition none the less, as Alex Taylor has an international reputation that has seen him play across all corners of the world, along the way picking up awards, making appearances at parties of the biggest names in the music industry and, as a result, commanding a C.V. that reads like a who’s who of the clubbing community. Harping from Auckland in New Zealand, Alex has adopted Sydney as his home & base, but is fortunate enough to be able to escape the tardy winters in the southern hemisphere, jetting up to Ibiza & Europe for a summer season that has also seen him land in London occasionally. Indeed Mr Taylor is currently enjoying a bit of summer sun and has laid down a compilation to mark the occasion of his northern hemisphere appearance, his “European Summer Mix 2011” packed with pumping beats & summery sounds including “You’ve Got The Love” & “Stronger” (now where have we seen those?!?!) among 15 others, a compilation well worth adding to your collection via http://djalextaylor.podomatic.com/. Plus, watch this space for a focus on this man from Oz coming up, as there is so much more of this terrific talent to share.
So, finding ourselves back in Europe, it’s to Germany that we head now, although interestingly it’s another Aussie that gets our attention, Sydney born & bred Mike Kelly having made Cologne his home, a brilliant base to spread his good musical word right across Europe, although such has been the success of the record label & agency business he launched, a fair chunk of Mike’s time is devoted to Sorry Shoes recordings which boasts a significant stable of artists including Oliver M, Nick Tcherniak, Steve Thomas, Hifi Sean, Guy Scheiman, Ivan Gomez & Nacho Chapado, along with fellow creator Jean Phillips. That said, Mike remains just as busy as ever live, playing across Germany and Spain, while his studio works also leave us breathless with their regularity, whether it be full-on compilations or track releases. So, with much to catch-up on in the Kelly world, the last three months alone having seen no less than seven podcasts & two track pressings, highlights for us have to be his “Bouncin” compilation, a 104 minute marvel that sends superb sparks through the soul to get your feet well & truly tapping, while for the more progressive come techno feel of the Germanic music sound, his “Late Night Steamer” mix is one to savour. However, with so much more to choose, the easiest way is to check out all nine by going to http://soundcloud.com/djmikekelly/ and watch this space for news of a new joint release of Mike’s with Nick Tcherniak’s other half Tom Marchant, featuring the vivacious vocals of Lizzie France.
Sticking with Germany although heading for its capital, next on our list of entrants is Eduardo De La Torre, this vivacious Venezuelan having made Berlin his home just over three years ago and hasn’t looked back, although he still draws on his experiences in both Spain & here in London, both having been bases for Edu during his D.J.’ing career. However, it is the German capital where his production work has really come alive, a studio collaboration known as, No Scene, they having risen to the heights of an entry into The Eurovision Song Contest no less, while Edu’s individual tracks & compilations continue to float our boat. Indeed, since we have been off musical air, Mr De La Torre has remained busy recording as well as playing live across Europe & at his residency spots in Berlin, a never-ending stream of sounds coming out of his stable, making picking out highlights quite tricky, although we do love his “From Berlin To Ibiza” mix which was pressed back in June, while the Ibiza theme continues with his latest podcast, both which you can grab at http://djdelatorre.podomatic.com/. However, the Ibiza theme doesn’t stop there, as No Scene have released their latest track “Step Ibiza” out on Beat port, a production labelled as progressive house but has tribal & tech intentions with uplifting flows & vocal injections that has the white isle written all over it and is sure to make the playlists of D.J.’s not just in Ibiza but right across Europe too, so one to check out at http://www.beatport.com/#track/step-ibiza-2011-original-mix/2066805.
Right, jumping over the border from Germany to Belgium, we find a superstar D.J. that is, for us, the Belgian equivalent to Steve Pitron, such is the terrific talent that is Elof De Neve, an incredible individual that is just as prolific in the studio as he is live. And having first seen him play at Red & Blue in Antwerp on Christmas Day last year no less, we have since been treated to further spectacular sets both back in Antwerp and across in Barcelona for the Delice Dream festival in April. And it would be fair to say that in the few short months we have been following Elof & his music, we have grown to love his sound style nearly as much as the prolific Mr Pitron, although having missed out on a further trip to Antwerp in June, we were robbed of another of his simply superb sets that he pulls out, week in week out at Red & Blue. But we fear not, as we find immediate solace in his compilation’s which give us the Elof fill we need, his aptly named “Finest Selection” series cramming our collection, each edition brimming with that uplifting & energetic sound that we have come to adore, perhaps his “The Summer Feeling Mix” tipping our scales the most. That said, we will leave it up to you to decide which one does it for you the most, by checking each & every one out at http://soundcloud.com/ElofdeNeve.
Now, it time to digress slightly for a moment, our thoughts having been sidetracked slightly when focussing on Elof, as another name always springs to mind when we think of him (apart from our Belgian boy J.d. Ceronnez of course!), Carlos Gallardo a real inspiration of Elof’s, not to mention a good friend to boot. So, it seems appropriate to include a cut of Carlos’s music right here, his “Podcast Music Mix” a nineteen minute snapshot of the sets that have made him one of the most popular Spanish D.J.’s imports London has seen, not least when he appears for the wonderful club brand WE. So, to sample some of his sounds, check out this mix at http://soundcloud.com/carlosgallardo/carlos-gallardo-podcast-music and make a date this coming Saturday (27th Aug) when he returns to headline the “Prison Of Love” event at The Coronet.
Right, back to Belgium and to a pint sized powerhouse that has made considerable waves here in London in recent times, having first come to our attention at the ill fated Matador club that has been the cause of so much upset in our lives. However, far from upsetting us, Andrei impressed us so much back in March last year, that we have been tracking his progress since, regular returns to the capital seeing him play for brands including Beyond & A:M, along with a special party on Halloween weekend, while back home in Brussels, he cuts a considerable stride both at his regular weekly slot with popular club/bar, the Box, while the mighty La Demence draws on his considerable talents, Mr Stan playing out for each of their twice monthly parties, while he was part of their inclusion in the Delice Dream festival back in April & the cruise in July. Add to that a recent tour of Mexico and it is no wonder that we consider this young talent as part of our prestigious protégé list (one of just six), meaning we cannot recommend his studio works enough, all symptomatic of his superb showings & sets, his “promo” mixes as good as any, but his “June Pride” podcast right up there, all available at http://djandrei1.podomatic.com/.
Moving across borders again and into France, we simply couldn’t avoid a mention for our Parisian pal Leomeo Carandang, a D.J. that has been spinning sounds for as long as we have been clubbing (we are talking double years here!), this Philippine turned French national one of the most globetrotting D.J.’s we know, an exhaustive schedule seeing him jet across to The States, Canada, Australasia & all corners of Europe, as well as his adopted country of France, leaving virtually no weekend when he is not live behind the decks. Truly dedicated to his art and to pushing out his music, we simply cannot keep up with his compilation releases, part of the reason why he gets a mention so often, but moreover that we love the way he continues to evolve his sounds, tribal through trance, progressive & tech house always including an uplifting element that is proof of his popular pudding. Having missed out on meeting up with him a week ago when he played for Room Service in London, we are sure it won’t be long before we catch up with Leo again, well when he lands his feet for a while, just this weekend seeing him play across in Ibiza for one of the islands biggest events of the season. So, it comes as no surprise that he has already pressed a mix to mark the occasion, his “Sunset Terraza” compilation as good as they get and a must for your collection at http://soundcloud.com/djleomeo/sunset-terraza-mix/.
Right, before we head to shores closer, it’s time for another track mention and one which is very much doing it for us at the moment, partly as it is part of a prolific podcast that we simply cannot put down. So, leaving you to guess just which “Summer” selection this comes from, we look like including it in our next autumn podcast release, David Tort’s “One Look” a tech house triumph that is no better when in the hands of Norman Doray who has remixed it to absolute perfection, a mid track snapshot a worthwhile listen at http://youtube.com/watch?v=kAlszjEQXwI, while watch for its inclusion in the next of our “Dance-tastic” podcast series.
So, setting our sights back to blightly, it seems appropriate that we land where most ships used to before those huge iron birds took over as the main mode of intercontinental travel & transport, Portsmouth being the base for one Lee Harris, although it seems he hardly spends anytime there, well at the weekends anyway, his regular Friday residence at Onyx dragging him up to London and often seeing him party right through the rest of Saturday & Sunday with the best of us. However, this is only a small picture of Mr Harris’ performances, as he plays in Brighton every other week and also jets up to Newcastle, as well as across to Southampton, theses two port cities fulfilling monthly residences, meaning that he clearly works as hard as he plays. And that also goes for his studio creations, his compilations popping up at least every four weeks, sometimes more often, August being no exception as Lee has pressed an ep form his live “Housenation” series, as well as a compilation marking his tour of The Circuit Festival in Barcelona, the latter a collection of new & classic tracks, this & another nine of his releases available via http://lharris.libsyn.com/HouseNationUK.
Now, we head to the other end of the country, to Scotland & Edinburgh in fact and to a D.J. that has been skirting our newsletters for a while now but has finally gained his deserved inclusion having laid down a succession of compilations that have caught our attention. Known to his followers as “Dowser”, Michael’s background belies his base in the Scottish capital, as he has connections with The States, Germany & Ibiza, the latter two being destinations where he both played & drawn on influences for a wide range of musical styles, from hard house through electro and now to musical style which he explains as “…London Sound…”, his main inspiration for this current direction being The Sharp Boys. Holding down residencies for Edinburgh’s hotspots GHQ, The Street & Kidology, Mr Dow’s podcast releases are reflective of his appearances & his style of sound, the live recordings from GHQ slanting towards electro, while his latest offering laid down just this last weekend hits resonance with us right from the off, not least as “Enjoy The Ride” sets the scene for a score of funky & disco tainted tracks that make this a compilation to cherish and one you can grab now at http://soundcloud.com/dowzer/.
So, having whizzed from one end of Britain to the other, we head to its capital now, although like many of our inclusions, we look to individuals whose roots are far away, the first being a Brazilian born & bred but one that has made his biggest impression right here in London. Having been spotted in a D.J. competition held in Ku Bar last year, Doug Guimares, better known on the clubbing circuit as DouGuim, has risen meteorically to the dizzy heights of residencies & guest appearances at clubs including Beyond, Casa Latina, Lovechild & Onyx, while his connections with Ku Bar remain as he heads up their weekly Monday nighter “Citric” as well as playing out at “Candy Boys” every Tuesday. Now, we focussed on Doug in our last music post back in July, just ahead of the second Casa Latina event, but simply couldn’t resist including him here too, as literally five days ago to the year marked his first ever D.J. gig, this charming young man remarking on Facebook that “…On this very same day in 2010 my status was: “See you all tonight in Manic Wednesdays @ Arch 635. The bar is open from 7pm, I will be playing from 8 – 12! The address is 15-16 Lendal Terrace / Clapham North Station.” That was my first gig and there were only 20 friends and my love in the whole place and that was it. Look where I am now, what a life change and that’s thanks to each one of you who believed and supported me throughout this journey! A massive thanks to you all, YOU ROCK!…” . And he has been no studio slouch in that short time, a total of eleven podcasts produced, the latest “Sunny Days” right up there as one of his best, as it is packed with a feel good factor that is so Doug’s style of sound, so need we say more than get yourselves onto http://douguim.podomatic.com/ now and click on that download button as we know you won’t be disappointed.
Okay, so we are nearly there, but time for another track interlude and one that caught our eyes & ears just a couple of weeks ago, although has also has seemingly been spotted by a handful of D.J.’s since, some who have included it on their latest podcast releases. And for good reason, as Mark Knight’s “The Future” follows on from his remix smash of the classic track “You’ve Got The Love”, the Florence & The Machine version the best yet, although this new track of his dips back into the Knight style of sound that tips towards tech & progressive beats with minimal vocal interventions that is much more Mark’s trademark and one well worth a listen at http://youtube.com/watch?v=mWbwQL61d-c.
Right to our final three and first to an Italian based in London, Tony Bruno having been treading the D.J.’ing boards for many a moon although having somehow missed out on an inclusion in our newsletters so far, while mini mentions in previews & reviews of his appearances for Lovechild in recent months have ensured he has not been entirely overlooked. And it has been at Alex Erfan’s clubbing brand that Tony introduced a style of sound he calls “…Tantra…”, a mix of trance to tech sounds that of very reflective on the genres he continues to play out in exceptional effect, a mix of dance ambient, tech house, techno & progressive beats that are also displayed through is series of podcast pressings, no less than nine recorded in just five months, a hefty handful of them marked as “crossover” compilations, blending beats that give them a unique flavour. However, having featured in the recent La Demence cruise, Tony has drawn influence from the brand, laying down a mix lifted from a chillout set he played during the six day Mediterranean adventure, while his latest creation, “Music For Main Floors” are two that have grabbed our attention the most, although all nine are well worth a listen at http://soundcloud.com/tonybruno/, especially, if like us, you fancy a change to the norm or like expanding your ears to a variety of aural stimulations.
Now to a dynamic D.J. that has been doing it for us as long as we can remember, from the heady days of Crash, Action & PSP, through to more recent times at Lovechild, Lo-Profile & Hard On!. Brent Nicholls may have made London his home, but remains Australian through & through, his music styles as cosmopolitan as his homeland, although genres of latin & nu-funk very much a two labels he is known for the most. Having said that, virtually no style of sound has escaped the Nicholls treatment over the years, a colossal collection of compilations cramming our collection, many ranking as our all-time favourites, “Disco Electrique”, “Pervert” & “Get On “MyGayFace” right up there among a host of others that continue to fill our ears, while 2011 has already seen his “Groove” double release hit our high notes. But topping the tree this year is his “I Rock, I Sweat, I Dance” podcast, released just over a month ago, but brimming with brilliant Brent beats that include elements of disco, dance, funk, latin & tech, all rolled into 119 minutes of magnificent music that showcases his tremendous talent for stringing these differing styles together in seamless sophistication, this a well deserved addition to your collection by going to http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/07/15/podcast-i-rock-i-sweat-i-dance/. Plus it seems he has been a busy bee while we have been writing about him (literally) as out has come a “mini-cast” that we haven’t listened to yet, although judging by the playlist, it looks like another Nicholls gem, so will let you know what we think in a future newsletter.
That said, we don’t leave Brent for our last mention, rather celebrate a little self indulgence by pushing our latest creation with him in what is becoming an emerging collaboration that we hope will continue into an annual collection of seasonal mixes. This marriage of musical minds has its roots in our last yearly round-up chart when Brent kindly offered to put together a compilation to reflect our top twenty tunes of 2010. That was back in January, since when a second creation followed, much more in the collaborative mould as, while we selected the tracks, Brent gave them his funked up twist, making what was described at the time as “…the biggest collaboration since when Benny met Bjorn and McCartney teamed up with Lennon…” a ten track triumph that was our “Spring Bloomers” podcast. So, a third was sure to follow and once again we went on the selection trail, picking off ten towering tunes to make into a new compilation for the next season in the year, although as Mr Nicholls described, “Summer Scorchers” “…had been the blender for nearly a month with one track or another sabotaging its completion…” before it finally made the grade at the end of July. However, the reaction has since been superb, messages coming in from all quarters saying, how did one person put it, “…fabulicious” it is. And we couldn’t agree more, not least that Brent has once again taken our choices, given them a little twist and crafted them into a 53 minute marvel which we think (well we would) you should be downloading & enjoying by going to http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/07/30/podcast-disco-matts-summer-scorchers-2011/, while watch this space as an Autumn mix is already in mind, our selections creeping towards that ten track milestone ready for the Brent blender.
Now just quickly before we finish, we are excited to announce another collaboration in the making, as we have also teamed up with impressive Israeli, Guy Scheiman, to produce a podcast that is much more of a joint effort in terms of track choices, as the compilation will be a 50/50 split of selections and one that will give a serious nod to all things Ibiza, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Plus, why not pay clubbing website SeenQueen (http://seenqueen.com/web) a visit, as they have just updated their music page with a host of new releases, some mirroring our choices, but others very much in the music making melting pot.
So, that’s it for this final catch-up newsletter and one that will hopefully be the last of this nature, as we plan to post at least one a month from now on, all things being equal the next one out during the first week of September. In the meantime, we trust you like our choices here, leaving us to simply say “sit back, select those sounds, turn up the volume & let them play as music is the answer”. (DISCO MATT)
Just seven days after finding ourselves afloat with its summer boat party, we were once again charmed by the clubbing crew that had helped steer the good ship Fire on its pleasurable cruise up & down the Thames, Sunday afternoons never quite the same without a Later session of song & dance, socialising & debauchery. But this Sunday we were to find ourselves on terra firmer and back in Later’s usual backyard of Fire, the occasion being a summery celebration with what would be, in any other country, a recipe for success, a pool party with pimms cocktails thrown in for good measure, although we were talking British summertime here. Mind you, what a difference a week made, as had this pool party gone ahead as originally planned the sun would have shone on the later righteous pretty much all afternoon, although it was more a case of dodging the showers rather than soaking up the sunshine. But did the weather dampen the clubbers spirits? And what were our afternoon highlights?
Having taken in a large extent of Beyond’s bash with Cafe Ole, a brief respite was required to both refresh & re-fuel ready for an afternoon of audacity down at Fire, we arriving not long after 2 p.m. to find hurried preparations of the outside area underway, although with a whole wave of thundery showers having rained on the Later pool parade, many had decided inside was better than out. So, that’s where we headed, diving into the dark of Fire corridor labyrinths that led to the mirrorarch room, the main playground for this Sunday session smash, D’Johnny elevating the atmosphere with a truck load of terrific tech tracks that had an already packed dancefloor rocking & rolling to every rhythm & beat he blasted out. Diving to the bar for refreshments, it was inevitable we would bump into familiar faces aplenty, many whom had partied & played with us at Beyond, among them Mikey D, kicking back after his spectacular back-to-back set with Steve Pitron, as well as Brazilian babe Bel, who having chased us around Area for most of the morning, was in equally playful mood here, along with Aaron Elder who had earlier challenged our lack of Later attendance, so pleasantly surprised to see us present & correct.
With energy boosting refreshments in hand, we were now intent on soaking up the full extent of this Later Pool party, soaking being the appropriate word as within minutes of stepping outside & into the garden area to admire the mini Olympic size swimming pool, the Pimms cocktails, being served by the jug load & the handful of torso taut tottie that were considering a plunge in the pool, we were all heading for the umbrellas as one mighty thunder cloud dumped its load on Later, the only person left braving this heavy downpour was promoter Jay Sharp, just wandering why this party had been swapped from the previous week, but making the most of this wet & windy situation. Mind you, we were far from concentrating on the weather, rather a sequence of nibble size tweets following a message from a friend which invoked another fit of giggles, this time not just “the porridge incident” and “the rotund woman” but the latest hilarious text moment “bitch lady is watching! 1984” (it’s a long story), which just like in Beyond earlier & A:M the previous day, had us bursting into incontrollable laughter at the drop of a hat.
So, in order to get a grip and not look quite so ridiculous, we headed inside where we bumped into Marco Gee & partner Tim Stedman, both very much in party mood & wanting to dance, Tim particularly full of beans and wanting to share his usual affection, this being the perfect antidote to our uncontrolled hysterics, we soon finding our groove to the magnificent music that was now being served up by scene favourite Jamie Head, the boy on fabulous form have treated us to spectacular showings three days in a row, this on top of his prolific performance on the Later Boat Party the previous Sunday. And by now the dancefloor was teaming with party people intent on dancing the whole afternoon away, thoughts of pool plunges & cocktail chasers far from their minds, rather the scantily dressed go-go dancers with revealing assts through their cute costumes attracting their attention. With Marco & Tim well into their stride, we assumed our usual position close to the D.J. booth, Brazilian babe Bel appearing and immediately invoking another outburst of giggles, the hilarity nothing to do with her but thoughts of “porridge”, “rotund women”, “bitch Ladies” & “1984” becoming too much and sending us senseless with laughter & bent over in pain we laughing so much & so hard, much to the bemusement of all around.
However, Later was carrying on regardless, the outside as busy as the inside and with the sun now shining, a few had braved the rather tepid temperature of the pool water, while the music heat had certainly be turned to full by Jamie Head, Paul Heron then taking over and carrying a massive mirrorarch following through till the 8 p.m. finish and an onward rendezvous with new night Blessed at Area. For us, it was a case of containing our giggling outbursts, Bel, Paul & Jamie looking on in surprise as we simply couldn’t erase the causes of our hilarity from our thoughts. So, we decided that enough was enough, leaving our pals behind and wending our laughing way home to reflect on a Later party that was full of fun & frivolity and all the decadence & debauchery that has made it a firm Sunday favourite of the hardcore clubber.
Yes you were right Aaron, it had been a while since we had graced Later’s doors at Fire, but having been seduced by its charms two weeks in a row, we did wonder why we had left it so long. In the early days of our clubbing there had always been that sense of naughtiness about clubbing on a Sunday morning, the afternoon a mere extension of that, although with the advent of Beyond, the sense that you were rebelling against societies norms have virtually no meaning these days, while what Later serves up does still have that decadent & debaucherous feel to it. As for this latest audacious adventure, well it was a shame that the weather started a bit damp & un-summer like, but it certainly didn’t deter the clubbers from coming and having a brilliant time. Indeed Later really seems to have found its legs again, due in no part to the unstinting loyalty of its promoter Jay Sharp, who has built a great team of D.J.’s around him that deliver some of the best music on the scene right now. Add to that the chill-out feel & that decadence and he seems to have a winning formula at the moment, meaning it won’t be long before we are back for more, less the giggling fits of course. (DISCO MATT)
Now in times gone by, Saturday’s were always filled with a host of clubbing offerings, smaller scale shindigs competing with bigger branded bashes with gay abandon, meaning there were always rich pickings for many in this, the most popular night of the clubbing week. However, how times change and recent months have seen a sharp decline in Saturday’s leaving the committed clubber with little choice of where to lay his or her hat. However, enter stage left Beyond, the big brand that that was seen as a Saturday saviour, especially with the introduction of its “midnight format”, extending six hours of clubbing to twelve , very much filling the gap left by others like Juicy, Matinee, SuperMartXe & Lovechild, that have virtually disappeared form the clubbing calendar. So, in extending its offering, Beyond has, with its midnight parties, changed the dynamic of the brand from a pure afterhours to one that is seen as both a Saturday & a Sunday club and one that has come to be the biggest weekly player of any remaining or current.
But not content with dominating the capitals clubbing scene, Beyond began to set its sights much further, an emerging world tour seeing the brand extend its arms to include destinations in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Ibiza Mykonos Paris, Rome & Sao Paulo. And in this process, it has collaborated up with other clubbing brands & events including, La Demence, Muccassassina, Red & Blue, Scream, & XLsior, the most recent captivating combination being with The Week in Brazil, a marriage of minds born out of the London link established last year. So, with Beyond’s name & reputation playing out across the globe, further brand alliances were inevitable, Ibiza holding the next key to the success of these superb synergies, the island’s Cafe Ole party setting sail & weighing anchor in London, bringing with it a slice of Spanish sparkle & style that would surely succeed. But how did this latest marriage of minds work? Was the Spanish influence impressive? And who did it for us the most?
Taking advantage of a disco nap that extended into a disco snooze, more to try & sleep off a nagging stomach ache, it was close on 6 a.m. before we made tracks for Vauxhall and a liaison with Beyond vs Cafe Ole, our original plan to make it much earlier laid to waste by a dose of lethargy, although with our secret squirrel undercover reporter on the scene from 2 a.m., we were safe in the knowledge that he would fill the gaps missed by our false start. And arriving when we did, we were faced with little or no wait, as it seemed we were one of just a few that had left it so late, Area brimming with Beyond followers who had taken advantage of the early start, packing out all three rooms of rapture, we finding Jamie Head in charge of the chunky tunes in the terrace space as we floated in, trying to mingle with the masses as though we had been there for a while, although with our SS bounding up, the game was given away in an instant. However, with the gaps very much filled, a sluggish start having rapidly gained speed from 3 a.m., the likes of Paul Christian, The Oli & Gonzalo Rivas having entertained exceptional with superb sets.
However, as we stepped through the chapel room & then entered the main space, it was clear that this Cafe Ole collaboration was now really stretching its legs and making its magnificent mark, not least in the hands of special guest D.J. D.J. Rafa Madrid, who had mesmerised the main room with a prolific performance from 5 a.m., although was about to hand the reigns over to the dynamic duo of Steve Pitron & Mikey D. And having assumed our spot, this was where our latest Beyond bash was going to start, the combo of these two towering talents simply too much to resist, Mikey arriving right on the stroke of 7 p.m., to a very relieved looking Mr Pitron who had been psyching himself up for a solo set which would have been satisfying enough for us. So the scene was set for another of those back to back performances that had become legendary, these brilliant Beyond boys working together like a dream, Steve’s upfront & uplifting house mixing in perfectly with Mikey’s slighter tougher edged sound, but each other’s style similar in design & dream worthy in delivery. Add to that the usual bunch of Brazilians packing in around our spot, including the beautiful Bel and we felt right at home, Steve’s glances over the D.J. booth adding to the amazing ambience of this awesome afterhours.
So we were now into our usual groove, not least as we could feel that emotional rollercoaster ride beginning to gather steam as Steve played first “Offshore” and then “Live Your Dreams”, erupting a mini burst of tears, although there was enough cheering company in close quarter, clubbing companion Miss Cougar having made her (his) presence felt, the characteristic claw movements perking us up considerably, even helping us push thoughts of our grumbling tummy to the back of our minds. And when terrific track “Bitch Lady” was belted out, tears turned to giggles as memories of our magical & hilarious moments at Room Service just two days ago came flooding back, our uncontrolled laughter met with quizzical looks by the Brazilian bunch, by Miss Cougar & moreover by Mr Pitron who was miming “he’s mad” movements to all the boys around us. But the timing of the Cafe Ole robot couldn’t have been better, this incredible creature even eclipsing the amazing area lighting, a six foot tall monolith of a man decked from head to toe in neon lights & making a sparkling statement as he stepped around Beyond’s main room.
Now this Cafe Ole collaboration was in full flow, the podiums topped with very scantily dressed dancers, some in little more than their birthday suits, while the fun & frivolity was continuing in our corner, not least as Bel & Steve were chasing us around in “porridge” style, our iron lung hardly being able to cope, while when behind the decks, Mr Pitron was testing our emotional resolve with yet more of our summer scorcher sounds, “Stupidisco” the “You’ve Got The Love” hitting their heavenly mark, Mikey D also shining bright like the superstar he is and when at Beyond a man inspired. And with a host of familiar faces coming up to say hi, including the magnificent Mauricio who lauded a massive hug & kiss on us, very much making our morning, even Orange Group manager Philippe charm personified as he greeted us with a warming hello, even treating us to a refreshment pass, an honour indeed. Plus with Jamie Head now in close quarter, as well as an indulgent Paul Heron who set us off on another giggling session following a cheeky tweet of ours (dare we repeat it?!).
With Steve having played his last track as well as entertaining us (yet again) in the Beyond main room D.J. booth, we stepped outside to catch our breath, having congratulated Mikey D on another prolific performance with a drink as well as skirting around the terrace bar which was rocking to the raptures of Fat Tony, we reassumed our spot in the main room for the last leg of this Cafe Ole collaboration, The Sharp Boys having now assumed the decks. However, with first Miss Cougar peeling off, having held sway for a good ten hours, then the beautiful Brazilian Bel retreating to refresh herself before a trip to Later, as good as both George & Steven were, our energy levels were beginning to sag, we too calling it a day about 11.30 a.m., our minds eye also pointing towards the Pimms pool party across at Fire. So, waving farewell to our favourite club, we made our slow but surefooted journey home to reflect on another brilliant Beyond made even better by the dynamic duo of Messrs Dower & Pitron.
Kicking off our clubbing at midnight on a Saturday had always been common place for as long as we can remember, but to spend twelve hours in the same club & same venue is pushing it a bit, even for us. Add to that the fact that we have always considered Beyond as a pure afterhours club, we find it difficult to break with the tradition of arriving from 5 or 6 a.m. onwards, the regularity of these midnight style parties beginning to take away the essence of what Beyond is all about. There seems to be a steadfast rule in clubbing (as in many walks of life) and that is “don’t fix what isn’t broken” and we think there is nothing wrong with keeping with the regular Beyond format, excepting on perhaps special holiday occasions. As for this midnight gathering?, well having landed at 6 a.m., it felt more like a regular Beyond for us, although the Cafe Ole influence did come to bear with the imported dancers & that dazzling robot which certainly dazzled. As for our highlights?, well they had to be the scintillating set from Steve & Mikey, they once again proving that they are the best in the business, while the look on Paul Heron’s face when we showed him our cheeky tweet was a classic moment that will live with us for a long time to come. (DISCO MATT)
Don’t forget that you can tune into our live clubbing commentaries by going to http://twitter.com/discomatt and checking out our Nibble Sized review tweets, while you can also track our “check-in” activity via http://facebook.com/discomattlondon.
Well, what a week it has been in London, the sequence of rioting events that unfolded on Saturday and then on Monday before our very eyes, left us totally shell shocked and wondering just what sort of society we were & are living within. The sheer scale of unlawfulness, the burning of buildings, the looting & the violence, some virtually on the doorstep of our bolthole in Clapham, has in some ways mirrored the waves of criticism, vocal attacks & condemnation of the very core of our activity, our website review writing.
Now, this criticism of our reviews is not new, indeed during the time we have been writing about the scene & reporting on bars, clubs & events, our forthright, honest & open attitude to our reviews has landed us in hot water with scene promoters, club owners and even clubbers themselves. Casting our minds back, coverage of Matinee’s NYD event in 2009, Hype’s the same year & Matador last March are three vivid examples of the intense fault finding which also transcended into personal attacks that proved immensely upsetting.
That said, on the flipside, the level of support we receive from the vast majority of our review writing & reporting has been the solder in the broken joint that the critiscm has caused. We have always taken heart from the sheer volume of clubbers that walk “come up and say hi”, along the scores of scene figureheads, club promoters, D.J.’s, artists, etc, etc, we have been privileged to meet during our time, all who make what we do worthwhile. We never search for this praise, yet we also never expect the very personal attacks that have resulted from our review work.
During 2011 we have tried to deflect this criticism by evolving our review structure. In the early part of the year we launched our “Preview The Review” reports, aimed providing a rapid reflection of events attended in prelude to the full review, although these themselves became the reviews but, for us, were short on delivery. Our reviews always had a distinct beginning & end, perhaps the two parts that cased the criticism we are perhaps seeking to avoid, yet are important aspects of our review work that we cannot escape. So, with the formation of the our now popular “Nibble Size” reviews, formed via live Twitter tweets, we decided it was time to bring back those intro & outro elements but by creating “Bite Size & “Full Size” reviews to bridge that gap between rapid reflection & review robustness.
However, having restored our former review structure, it seems we have once again entered a phase of this wave of criticism, waged following our recent reviews of Barcode & A:M, both examples of our forthright & honest reporting that has been met with the kind of condemnation that has taken the wind out of our sails. This criticism has not only affected our resolve but has interrupted the very flow of our work (commonly known as writers block) and we find ourselves floundering, our determination dented, our passion punctured & our mind in a muddle. This has caused a knock-on effect that has severely impacted on our state of health & well-being, attacks of lethargy & listlessness now common place, thus waking us up to the fact that we need to take action to remedy this precarious position we find ourselves within.
So, as the capital picks up the pieces of its unprecedented civil disorder, asks itself questions and then attempts to find solutions to the causes of all the unrest, we too enter a short phase of soul searching, also examining the very nature of the criticism waged against us a solver a remedy to this rampage on our reviews. And to do this we have decided to take a Summer Siesta combined with a Clubbing Curfew, resting our reviews and stepping back from the scene in an attempt to re-charge our resolve, re-focus our efforts and restore our wellbeing. This news will probably be met with joy by our fiercest of critics, but while they bask in their supposed victorious glory, like London, we will not give up to thuggery, rather re-gather & rebuild.
There are outstanding website reviews of Beyond & Later which we will want to complete with the quickest of speed, following which we will immerse ourselves into this period of soul searching and then self healing, hopefully coming back stronger & more steadfast in our review resolve. During this time of reflection, we will be continuing our writing, delving into our passion for music with newsletters, D.J. focuses & the like. And we will not be starving you of our scene coverage, with previews of upcoming events still very much on our agenda, new club Brava & the August Bank Holiday just two on the agenda & part of that promise.
As for our website review return?, well all things being equal, we will be back on stream by the end of August, while our commitments to others will be restored by the Bank Holiday, meaning you should be seeing us stepping back onto the scene sometime soon. (DISCO MATT)
There was a time when hardly a week would go by without us indulging in an early Saturday morning clubbing session, especially when we were working within the industry, A:M always proving the popular choice, the decadent feel of partying & indulging in recreational activity that more mainstream scenes would reserve for Saturday night, was always too much to resist. However, in more recent times, with our devotions spread much more thinly, this schedule slot is one that we often overlook, rather saving our energies for alternative afterhours action across in Area or of the Orange kind, although with a connection between the three suddenly presenting itself, we cleared the diary decks to show our support. So what connection were we referring to?, what sort of impact did he have on his first A:M event?, and what did we think of this our first A:M adventure in many a month?
Having enjoyed endless exceptional A:M events, the club was always renowned for striking its own identity through tougher tech edged music, also sparing the sparkle for other outings, thus making it a club for purist hedonists into more hardcore house. However, with a distinct shift change in the style of club resulting from a switch in promotions team, an initial surge in numbers soon receded, leaving the A:M top brass in no doubt that it was high time that this amazing afterhours go back to its roots. So, with pretty much unprecedented experience in this field, having taken the helm at Beyond as well as continuing to run the highly successful Orange, both renowned afterhours clubs, there could have been no better man for the job than Steven Sharp, a highly respected promoter among his peers as well as an being accomplished D.J./Producer, tools that would be sure to set him fair for re-focussing A:M & its offering.
Deciding to take a disco nap & rise in time for the early morning start, it was actually close on 5 p.m. before we made it to Vauxhall and the entrance of Fire, a liaison with an off-duty Tom Fuller our initial aim, although seeing Minty at the head of a quite considerable queue, we thought we would chance our arm with a slightly more swift entry, also taking the now rare opportunity to catch up with her, especially as our weekly fill of Industri was now no more. With Tom now arrived and the usual entrance formalities over, it was straight to the bar for refreshments, although with Mr Fuller with his new man in tow, we felt a little gooseberry like, so soon left the love birds to it, rather heading deep into the club to investigate. And it wasn’t long before we bumped into a succession of familiar faces, first a departing Guy Williams, who had just completed an opening set that got this A:M audacity going, while Mikey D was lapping up some well earned r&r the r standing more for recreation that rest, while we were also pleasantly surprised by the lovely Rob Ferguson, probably the best hugger in the world, who had just minutes before responded to our Facebook “check-in”.
So with one of Rob’s best setting us up for the morning, it was into the music we dived, incumbent jock Jamie Head delivering a ton of tech infused tunes, minimal on vocal but steeped in rhythmic beats that had us spinning on our spot close to the D.J. booth, although trying to attract his attention was a job & a half, we resigning ourselves to catching up with him later in the morning. By now the main room was absolutely pumping, the place packed with revellers who looked intent on dancing till P:M, although with the heat of Fire & the pace of Jamie’s performance testing our iron lung to its limit, we retreated to a safe spot further up the dancefloor, just in time to catch one of the most hilarious moments of our weekend as, the most rotund woman we had seen in a club ever, went arse over tip in front of us, the sudden thought that “weebles wobble but they don’t fall down” (well they do!) sending us into fits of uncontrolled giggles for the rest of the morning, not least that having got back to her feet, she soon returned with drinks in hand only to go flying again. Now, we shouldn’t have laughed, but with the “porridge” ridden Room Service still fresh in our minds, we simply couldn’t help ourselves, even the superb set from Jamie not distracting enough to stop us from bursting into fits of laughter.
And so this pretty much set the scene for the rest of our A:M experience, we eventually having to move from the spot that had spilled & thrilled, although with the dancefloor well & truly rammed, we took residence for our final fling up on the Fire main room walkway, a rendezvous with Minty soon followed by a jovial Jamie who caught us off guard & by surprise, the catch-up nevertheless as pleasing as always, we congratulating him on yet another prolific performance, marking the third we had been treated to in just one week, very much a measure of his in demand & popular status. However with eyes towards the D.J. booth, fronted by two go-go dancers, it was now Paul Heron taking charge of the tunes, the man in his a-typical zone, head bopping to the beats, these very much of the tech variety, harping back to the old skool style of sound that we used to love about A:M., Mr Heron’s hypnotic house meaning we were going nowhere, rather soaking up the entirety of his superb set, only a mind over heart cry calling us away at just turned 9 a.m., while a pumping & packed Fire saw a triumphant Fat Tony fanfare carry the cavorting crowd through to the finish a couple of hours later.
In summing up our A:M experience and answering the questions posed earlier, there is no doubt in our minds that in choosing Steven Sharp to take over the promotional reigns of A:M will see a resurgence in its popularity while also restoring that tougher edged musical sound we deluded to earlier. And given that this was just his first steership of this amazing afterhours, we were well & truly impressed with the immediate impact he made on what was a Saturday start Sharp style, Steven’s promotional flair reflecting in just how smoothly everything to do with our experience went. With the understated style of this morning meet allowing the music to do the talking, Messrs Head & Heron shining like the stars that they are, these were inspired Sharp selections, while the relaxed yet hedonist feel of the crowd, very much harped back to the purist of A:M adorers we always used to rub shoulders with in our own halcyon days. So it seems that, like the new promoter at Onyx, A:M appears to be in both safe & competent hands and we look forward to paying a return visit very soon, maybe as soon as this week when the two clubs combine for their “I A:M Onyx” branded bond. (DISCO MATT)
Sunday t-dance style parties have been a feature of the capitals clubbing circuit for as long as we can remember, a whole host of brands trying their hand at this sometimes tricky timing, some with more success than others, good examples from the halcyon days being Salvation, DTPM & Factor 25, while in more recent times some new concepts have not been so fortunate, both Famous & TTD falling foul of an expected following that simply didn’t materialise. That said, if a party is pitched right, then success it can achieve, Downtown, the collaboration between Thursday phenomenon Room Service & Saturday sensation Meat, having created a Sunday t-dance that both attracted & appealed in significant numbers.
So, sensing a slight tide change in Sunday clubbing, plus with an eye towards more qualitative clubbing, The Orange Group decided it was time to up their own ante with a new club that echoed all of these sentiments, Blessed being the result. And from the moment of its announcement, this new venture very much set its stool as the new way to fill the sandwich of group’s Sunday schedule, fitting neatly between Later & Orange, thus replacing Booster, the niche club event with a more specific following & musical direction. The aim with Blessed was clear, it wanted to offer a more sophisticated setting, a lounge style space with tables & wine waiter service, matched by more mainstream music from scene favourite D.J.’s, along with live shows & performances from credible artists, the question being, how did Blessed actual deliver with its launch and what were our impressions of this improved offer?
Landing back in Vauxhall after the Later boat party, we were in pole position to take in the Blessed launch from the off, although it seemed they weren’t quite ready for us, the planned 7 p.m. start slipping a little, leaving us to gather ourselves & effect a clothes change before arriving at Area to a warming reception from dutiful dudes Romain Lopez & Paul Vlad, both fresh from the regular Later at Fire. So, it was mere moments before we were inside although we were one of only a handful of post boat party goers, many probably having chosen to head home to refresh themselves from an afternoon on the high seas. Feeling a little like a lost sheep, we headed first into the terrace space, which had been subtly transformed into a chill-out space, a smattering of tables, candles & ambient lighting; although it seemed that the lion’s share of activity was spread between the outside space & the aptly named chapel room. And it was here where we found Fat Tony, standing proud in his D.J. pulpit serving us a sermon chorus of chunky tunes, many uplifting & euphoric but with tech intentions, a Blessed bible of beats that were striking just the right chord with his holy congregation.
However, after the antics of the afternoon, it was the outside space that we decided to spend most of our time for this Blessed t-dance launch, we soon being joined by a wave of familiar faces that had, as we thought, refreshed themselves after the Thames trip and made it down for this sublime Sunday service. Included within the ever increasing crowd were the likes of Johnny Marsh, Verity Meyes, & Mauricio Ortiz, although many more that had been boat bound were also here, Jamie Head with partner tiff soaking up some social splendour, while there was also no shortage of muscle hunks, good looking guys & girls, as well as a mixture of club kids that had now made it across from Fire. Plus, with three very fetching bar waiters dressed in tight shorts, black bow ties & not much else, circling around offering table served drinks, there was a sense that the aims of a more qualitative feel to this concept were being met.
With The Oli arriving and stepping in for an absent Mikey D on the Blessed decks, we continued our socialising outside, now in the captivating company of Craig Elder, the man a picture of health and clearly revelling in both the success of the Later boat trip and the pitch of this party. And there was now a real buzz building across the outside area, a photo shoot space having been set up for plenty of people to pose & pout, while Fat Tony was nailing the Blessed cross with a set of biblical proportions. Then, as if his prolific performance wasn’t enough, first The Oli assumed the pumping pulpit to preside over a packed out chapel room that would have put any church gathering to shame, the boy selecting a succession of sounds to savour, all added to by a spectacular showing by the vocal diva dynamite that is Kristine Cummings, she jumping on the stage & shepherding her flock of followers with rapturous renditions of club classics that were as towering as the ten commandments. However, as good as the party had become and as much as we wanted to stay, the call of an early start saw us throw in the towel a little earlier than we would have liked, leaving Area & blessed to party away till midnight & then an onward encounter with Orange, we wending our way home to reflect on a club concept with lots of promise.
So what did we actually think of Blessed? Well, it would be fair to say that it was a luke warm start, the crowd & the party taking a while to get going, but there was no doubt in our mind that pitching it with a more upmarket feel to its replacement worked well. The use of scene D.J.’s like Fat Tony, Mikey D, The Oli & DouGuim will certainly attract a more mainstream clubbing crowd and while Booster as a club does have its place, we like the direction Blessed looks like taking Sunday evenings in Vauxhall. We perhaps feel that the terrace space should have a more lounge like feel to it, possibly more seating to compliment the chill-out feel and that the table service should extend beyond just bottles of wine, but all in all, we were impressed with what Blessed achieved with the launch, the inclusion of weekly P.A.’s sure to boost its appeal even more, so wish it the best of Sunday service success and long may it preside over a crowded congregation. (DISCO MATT)