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)