Archive for August 9, 2011
Having established itself as an afterparty to an afterhours, Sunday afternoons on the capitals clubbing circuit have only meant one place, one brand & one continual party in recent times and whilst there have been a few pretenders to the crown, there is no doubt that Later has stood the test of time, continuing to find favour with a faithful following that just don’t want their weekend partying to be interrupted with anything else. Indeed, the club has been responsible for some exceptional events in its time, New Years Day 2006 living in our memory more than any other, while in more recent times, its events across to Area have always met with rapturous response, the formula seemingly working like a dream wherever the club lays its hat. So, when we heard that Later would be hitting the high seas, well taking a cruise on the Thames actually, we very much jumped at the prospect, not least that having enjoyed a number of evening excursions by boat, we were keen to see how an afternoon trip would work out.
The inspiration of one of The Orange Group’s newest management team members, Verity Mayes, along with Brazilian boy wonder Mauricio Ortiz, the fact that this “Summer Boat Party” was something a little different to the norm was an enticing prospect by itself, while the expected captivating company was also a major draw, the one thing the team could not predict however, was the famed British summer weather, which dependant on which way it would blow, could spell either a dream or a disaster of a day. That said, with the majority of the boat’s space inside rather than out, even with a blustery & wet day materialising, the organisers were pretty confident that in restricting the numbers to a maximum of 250, that those invited along with ticket holders, would make the trip come rain or shine. Plus with the Sunday afternoon Later branding & bravado the perfect ingredient boating bonanza this looked, on paper at least, as an outstanding outing, but how did our floating foray fair & what were the heavenly highlights?
With arrangements to meet up with fabulous friends Steve Pitron & Celso Moura in motion, we decided to give Beyond a wide berth, rather staying entirely fresh for our Thames trip, a rendezvous to board the good ship Fire at Millbank pier planned for a good half an hour before the planned 2 p.m. sail setting, meaning we were dressed & ready to hit the high seas in plenty of time and with the weather set fair too, all was looking fine & dandy for our river rapture. But with the best laid plans for the timely start shifted by the Thames tide, our transport for this terrific Thames trip a tad late, the seriously developed crowd were in guessing mode as to which boat it would actually be, but as quickly as a Thames clipper floated in & then out again, the familiar flags of Fire gave the game away in an instant as our double decked delight swung round into position ready to board its partying passengers for this spectacular shindig.
By now the queue of Later lovelies had developed right along the pier and with 2 p.m. fast approaching it was clear boarding would take some considerable time, but despite queue management meister Tom Fuller being absent, both Verity & Mauricio were doing as sterling job ticking people off & checking in tickets as quickly as they could. Having been waved through in a jiffy, we soon found ourselves acquainted with our steed for the next few hours, a quick run around both decks seeing us bump into Orange Group supremo Craig Elder who was keen to share lots of news of upcoming parties & events as well savour the full extent of the Later expedition extraordinaire. However, the pressing point was to get everyone boarded, but with the boats docking slot having overrun considerably, it quickly had to make way for an inbound Thames clipper service, this temporarily stranding a few late arrivals on the pier. But in a brilliant gesture by the good ship Fire’s captain in agreement with Craig, we soon returned to pick up the waifs & strays before finally setting sail, the shimmering Sunday sunshine sending many out onto the single upper outside deck, while others, like us, decided inside was a better bet for a while.
With this Later boat party now well underway, it was D.J. Junior Moura that was grabbing most of the attention inside, this Brazilian beaut serving up scores of superb summery sounds to befit the occasion, hits like “Starry Eyed” & “You’ve Got The Love” finding favour with the developing crowd that were also choosing inside for out, the small alfresco deck absolutely rammed with sun worshipers taking in the sights of a London landscape unfolding before their eyes. So, with Steve Pitron & Fat Tony holding court, along with Jonny marsh & boyf Charlie, as well as Verity Meyes, Mauricio Ortiz & a whole host of muscle hunks stripped to their waist, it was difficult for us to resist darting out every now & then, the combination of magnificent music & splendid socialising a captivating cocktail to match the compelling company on this floating Fire foray.
Having taken in most of the city sights, St Pauls, Tower Bridge, Greenwich, The O2, Canary Wharf & back again, we it was back down past the likes of The Southbank, Somerset House, the London Eye & The Houses Of Parliament that we were now savouring on the Later boat party loop, the Fire flags flickering in the breeze while scantily clad go-go’s serving up platters of fruit & other tasty morsels for those not indulging in other flowing refreshments. But with many still packing the outside deck, we laid our hat inside and for good reason as Jamie Head was now in charge of the tunes, serving up a set to savour, a whole host of classic hits remixed & rehashed hitting the mark with many, we finding a spot to spin not far from the makeshift D.J. booth, our dancing dervishes increasing with every track he picked, the dancefloor erupting when the truly brilliant “Enjoy The Ride” played out & seemed so appropriate for the terrific time we were having, this ride on the waves in the hands of Mr Head a huge highlight.
That said, we also enjoyed our escapades out on the sundeck, the delectable Dorin & Kyri were two familiar & friendly faces among a sea of others that also included Ross Patterson & his mini posse, Ben Kaye & Q.X’s Cliff, Steve & Tony in naughty & playful moods & Mikey D never far away, all making for an amazing afternoon afloat, CO2 cannons and no shortage of enchanting eye candy. But as afternoon turned to evening, the sun dropping in the sky & shimmering on the Thames, Jamie’s spectacular set was over all too soon for us, although with, Jonny M played out for the final few minutes before the good ship Fire made its final turn and headed for home, thoughts now focussing on the next party to come, Blessed’s launch about to kick start at Area back in Vauxhall. So, with Millbank pier our docking destination, it was time to swap sea legs for terra firmer feet and reflect on this later boat party brilliance that succeeded on a number of fronts.
Having enjoyed Later in a number of guises across the years, whether on familiar territory at Fire or across at Area, expanding the concept to include a boat party was an inspired move and one that went down a treat, serving to further strengthen a brilliant brand that has very much been on the ascendency for a sizable chunk of the year. And whilst the numbers for this first floating foray were limited to just 250, making it a sell-out, capping the quantity of clubbers proved a masterful move as the boat never felt too overcrowded, rather relaxing & enjoyable, plenty of space to dance & to socialise over the two decks, although it has to be said that the outside space was never going to be big enough, perhaps a consideration for the next excursion which we understand is planned for August bank holiday. As for our highlights, well the music was right up there, both Junior’s & Jamie’s sets superb, both boys’ selections of sounds right on the money, while we couldn’t have asked for better company either, leaving us a mounds of magical memories of this summer Sunday showboat of a shindig to savour. So, hearty congratulations go out to everyone involved and we simply cannot wait for second sailing which, if anything like the first, will be another superb sell-out success. (DISCO MATT)
Over the last few weeks there have been a clutch of birthday celebrations in clubland London, some marking many years in existence, Rupert Street turning fifteen, Shadow Lounge ten, but one Friday nighter that in the short time it has been around, marking a mere two years, albeit that it seems it has been around for so much longer. Yet in celebrating its second birthday, it seemed appropriate that the club would spread their celebrations over two parties and make the most of the mini milestone, this time with a special beach party in recognition of the summer we should be having rather than the one we were suffering. Having savoured the first part of a birthday double bill and being remarkably surprised by the changes to Onyx from our visit a few months previously, we were still smarting from an exceptional experience and one that proved to be one of our best Friday nights out in a long while. So, we were raring to go for the second half, not least as we wanted to complete the full birthday picture.
However, with other pressing engagements that weekend, including the Later Boat Party & new club launch Blessed, those on top of unexpected personal commitments both on the Friday & Saturday, we decided to call on our “Secret Squirrel” undercover reviewer to cover the event and report back to us. Mind you given the recent controversy over our last “undercover” review of Barcode, we were a little wary, although with independent reports flying in from all quarters, just how good this second Onyx birthday bash was, we felt assured the coast would be clear for a rapturous review. The question’s are, what was this Onyx birthday double bill part two actually like? And what were the highlights for our stand-in reviewer? Well, this is what he had to say…..
“…Hardly a Friday has gone by in recent times that I haven’t found myself walking away from Vauxhall having soaked up an Onyx event so I guess that I am a pretty good barometer for reporting on how the club has been doing, the types of crows it has been attracting and how it has benefitted from recent subtle changes. But before I touch on that, it was Onyx’s 2nd birthday part two that I was asked to report back on, the task in front of me a much easier prospect than the last, not least that Onyx is always pretty busy compared with that other place, even with all three rooms open. Plus what I always love about going to Onyx, as well as other clubs run by the Orange group, is being chatted up (in a lovely way of course) by that really friendly guy that is always either managing the queues, in & around the clubs promoting events or simply being the charming bloke that he is, tonight being no exception.
So with the friendly greeting over and a welcome by the Onyx door team just as friendly, I was into the club and enjoying the party, the decision of where to be & what to see always a difficult one as the choice is so good yet so varied. Would it be the terrace room with Ariel & Lisa German, the tech music they play I really love, or would it be the pop room, that chapel bar space in the middle with the outrageous yet brilliant Tasty Tim, or would I go for the younger flesh of Jc Christopher & the gorgeous Lee Harris (quite fancy him!) in the main room? Well you can probably guess where I ended up, but in doing so I also lucky enough to witness a brilliant set from Gonzalo Rivas who was the special guest of this Onyx second part, 2nd birthday, and while all the other D.J.’s played really well, Gonzalo was the star of the show for me, and for a packed out main room too, helped along by a fabulous show from singer Kathy Brown who performed really well too.
As for the rest of this Onyx birthday party, the beach theme worked really well and most of the team & staff entered into the spirit, while the dancer’s beachwear costumes were really eye catching too. But while my eyes strayed over a whole host of cute guys, the mix of the crowd & the more quality feel of the clubbers was a noticeable difference to Onyx parties of a few months ago. So I kind of guess congratulations have to go to the new promoter Verity Mayes, as well as the rest of the Onyx team, that guy out front, the hostess Chrissy Darling. For me Onyx is by far the best Friday night club around and with the welcome I had, plus all the fun once inside, I will definitely be back for more very soon. So happy birthday Onyx, I hope you are around to celebrate many more…”
Well what can we say apart from it is clear we missed another prolific party & a terrific time, leaving us a little envious that we had chosen to sit this one out. Having seen the difference new Onyx promoter Verity Mayes had made when comparing our visit a week previously with that a few months before, it is pleasing that we are not the only ones that have seen the change plain & clear. And in Onyx we have a Friday night offering that offers one of the best choices of music we know, some would say pandering to too many elements of the scene, while we see it as a magnificent move that gives the clubber the choice they deserve. As for this second half of the birthday double bill, we echo the sentiments of our secret squirrel in applauding Gonzalo Rivas for his superb showing, this terrific talent never failing to impress with prolific performances, this Onyx guest slot clearly another example of his diversity, style of sound & flair that make him one of the most sought after stars of the capitals clubbing scene. So to Onyx, many happy second returns and we are sure to be back for more a long time before you celebrate your third. (DISCO MATT)