Archive for August 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)
In all the years that we have been rocking & rolling across the capitals clubbing scene and in more recent times when, as Disco Matt, we have been devoting written attention to D.J.’s & their music, we have been very lucky to have come into contact with so many stars of the scene, both here in London and internationally, the list reaching into treble figures. Yet, given all of the names we could reel off, there are a mere handful that we can claim to have drawn incredible influences from and one that we have married musical minds with to produce what is emerging as a superb series of collaborative compilations, the latest launching today. So, to mark the occasion of the launch of “Summer Scorchers”, a ten track triumph that looks set to soar up the download charts (if we say so ourselves), we thought we would devote a special music feature, looking at the musical mind marriage that has created it, along with the incredible influences, without which none of these “Dance-tactic” compilations would be or have been possible.
So, winding back a year or so, we decided that it would be good to create our own chart chronicling the best tracks & compilations of the year, our annual music review starting life in 2009 as a compliment to our now traditional yearly clubbing review round-up. Yet what started as a minnow of a musical reflection quickly grew into something much bigger, a top ten stretching to a top twenty & last year to a top forty of tracks, such was the extent of great music being pushed our way by all the D.J.’s deserved of our devotions throughout the year. And in creating this top forty, a marriage of musical minds was formed, D.J. Brent Nicholls suggesting it would be a great idea if there was a podcast to accompany our chart, the slimming down of the list down to twenty resulting in the first Disco Matt mix, “Dance-tastic Top 20 Tunes Of 2010”.
However, in creating the compilations Brent explained that “….The story is much longer than just that, and what started as a top 40 turned into a top 30 which is now a top 20. These aren’t his top 20 of the year, but are tracks extracted from his original top 40…some tracks, after all, just don’t go together no matter how hard you scrunch, munch, filter and glue. Matt’s eclectic taste is reflected in this compilation and some of the mixes were challenging but created some interesting but successful moments by the fusing of different genres in order to create segways to another genre was all part of the fun…”. And were we impressed with the result or what, the compilation quickly gaining considerable following & racing up Brent’s download figures to claim top spot, no surprise as Brent also commented, “…It quite obvious that many of Matt’s favourites were also my favourites, which I guess defines the word popularity…”, indeed many if not all of the tracks on the mix were lifted from podcasts of his throughout the year.
So why the collaboration with Brent? And what made this marriage of musical minds gel like it did? Well, for a number of years Mr Nicholls had very much floated our boat across some of the capitals biggest clubs, Crash probably being the first time we saw him play, a whole raft of bars, clubs & events since have elevated him into that handful list of incredible influences that we have deluded to. Furthermore, his compilations never fail to hit our collections, these in themselves spurning some of our favourite tracks, while his funky, disco, uplifting & vocal infused style of sound has found real resonance with us, making our musical marriage matchmaking fit like a glove. Indeed, his compilations continue to influence us, Brent’s latest release finding us land on the last of the ten tracks on “Summer Scorchers”, a crafty re-work of Abba’s “Lay All Your Love On Me”, while we are pretty convinced that the title track will feature either in an upcoming “Dance-tastic” compilation, or in our track chart of 2011. So, it seems appropriate, given his sterling work with our podcasts, that we give first link mention to “I Rock, I Sweat, I Dance”, certainly Brent’s best this year so far and one it seems that he has also drawn influence off some of our choice picks, but nevertheless a marvellous mix that pays homage to the nu-funk, disco & uplifting house genres that we love, so a worthy addition to your collection by going to direct link http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/07/15/podcast-i-rock-i-sweat-i-dance/ & follow the download instructions.
With the musical mind marriage confirmed, or as it was widely reported as “…the biggest collaboration since when Benny met Bjorn and McCartney teamed up with Lennon…” it was inevitable that a second podcast would follow sooner or later & with “Spring Bloomers” that is exactly what happened and as the headlines screamed “…It was tweeted, it was screamed and now it’s here! Brent Nicholls vs. Disco Matt is back!…”. However, while the formula was pretty ,uch the same as the first release, that being the tracks picked by us & then the mixing completed by Brent, there was a marked shift in the incredible influences on the slections chosen, one particular podcast having dominated the first quarter of the year, very similar to its maker whose live performances at our most favourite afterhours club (well our favourite club of all time actually) very much reflective of his colossal compilation. But, with the selections made, Mr Nicholls applied his funky twist to some of the tracks, while a couple had been lifted from one of his own podcasts, thus making “Spring Bloomers”, a collection very much representative of the sounds that were sending us into a spin, both on the dancefloors & on our travels, although was labelled as a showcase of what we thought would be “…springs next biggest house tracks…”.
Having deluded to another incredible influence, to our favourite club & to a dominant podcast, putting all three together could result in only one individual, that being Steve Pitron, his “Afterhours 2011” compilation finding immediate favour, as well as being reflective of the tunes that were sending us onto our now famed emotional rollercoaster rides, not just at beyond, but wherever he played. However, whilst “Afterhours 2011” was looking like a serious contender for our top slot of the year, an even more prolific podcast was to come, “Summer 2011 Vol 1” tipping our scales, tracks “Offshore”, “Waiting For You”, “Starry Eyed” “You Will Remember” & “Pressure” among a packed podcast full of towering tunes that even sent “Afterhours 2011” into the shade. But as if this latest rapturous release could be bettered, Mr Pitron pulled out something truly spectacular with “Summer 2011 Vol 2”, exceeding even his high expectations and without doubt his best compilation to date, not that any of the previous ones were anywhere near tardy and each one an absolute must addition to your collection (if they aren’t in there already), all available at http://stevepitronsessions.podomatic.com.
Now the third Disco Matt release was very much on the cards, “Summer Scorchers” drawing on the incredible influence that Steve Pitron had exerted over our music machinations throughout the late spring & into the early summer, although with so many tracks ballooning our yearly list close to treble figures, Steve’s two summer volumes would initially make up all ten towering tracks of our latest compilation. So, having secure the tracks, to the mixing press it went, although as Brent mentioned, “…has been the blender for nearly a month with one track or another sabotaging its completion…”, our determination that a particular version of “Lift Me Up” be included, kind of sent the mix off the rails, indeed during a sequence of promotional posts we mentioned that “…,just like Disco Matt’s very existence, the production of the latest podcast in the emerging series of musical collaborations between London’s original party boy and scene favourite D.J. Brent Nicholls, has been something of a rollercoaster ride…”, although to both ours & Brent’s huge relief “…After a reshuffle of tracks, adding and subtracting, re-adding and creating an epic worthy of a Ben Hur movie…”, the track that had caused so much anguish having been discarded from the playlist, plus with “…the most anticipated marriage of musical minds since Benny & Bjorn having successfully cleared a counselling session…” the path was now clear for the compilation to be finalised.
So here it is, the third “Dance-tastic” creation where we have chosen & Brent has mixed, yet is a compilation that oozes the incredible influence of Steve Pitron, every inclusion excepting the final track inspired by his podcasts & his live performances. And whist some of the selections have been given a Mr Nicholls twist, the “Starry Eyed” & “Stupiddisco” versions two notable differences, while amazing artists Pink Fluid take up virtually a third of this, without doubt our best collection yet, no surprise as it reflects Steve’s best too, the Pitron/DM anthem “Stronger”, while a slightly different version here, is a track which simply had to be included, despite so many people having pounced on it after our incredible influence having sourced it at an early(ish) release stage. Therefore, as much as we are immensely grateful for the marriage of musical minds with Brent that has created not just “Summer Scorchers”, but probably & hopefully cementing a recording relationship that will continue, we have to give extra special thanks to Steve Pitron for his musical inspiration of which this podcast is a resplendent reflection.
Now to the download information and “Summer Scorchers” has been released with various options, all of which you can access by going to Brent Nicholls’ website &/or to direct link http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/07/30/podcast-disco-matts-summer-scorchers-2011/, while the previous two podcasts in our short series are also still available to download, “Spring Bloomers” via http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/04/10/podcast-disco-matts-spring-bloomers/, “Dance-tastic Top 20 of 2010” via http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/01/14/disco-matts-dancetastic-top-20-of-2010/. We will also be making both “Spring Bloomers” & Summer Scorchers” available via our Podomatic page, http://discomatt.podomatic.com & our Soundcloud site, http://sounclould.com/discomatt, while further mentions will be flowing via our Facebook pages & in further music newsletter posts via our website.
As for other music mind marriages & incredible influences, there is a new collaboration forthcoming, as we are also joining forces with impressive Israeli Guy Scheiman to produce a one-off compilation where we choose five tracks each & combine them into one podcast, this fusion of genres likely to prove very exciting, our uplifting & disco direction with Guy’s more tech & progressive persuasion sure to produce a compilation to cherish. Having already picked our five tracks, Guy will be gelling them together with his upon return from his vacation, so the result should be out within the next three to four weeks. Looking beyond that, Steve Pitron’s music continues to influence us and we already have some tracks ready for our “Autumn Arousers” podcast which are inspired by him, while with more & more tracks, compilations & mixes being pushed our way, there are a wealth of possibilities at our fingertips, meaning more than ever before “music is the answer”. (DISCO MATT)