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)