With the news having filtered through to DM HQ that heavenly home to our favourite club of all time will be out of action for a while, this amidst the maddening rumour machine going into overdrive on the why’s & way for’s of Area’s three week closure, Disco Matt spins a positive light on the news & what The Orange Group have planned for Beyond as it takes up temporary residence over at sister venue Fire.
It is pretty much common knowledge to anyone that follows our reviews, our reports, our recommendations that there is one club that tops all others in our books, a brand that was born back in the early noughties & found a home in Vauxhall venue The Colosseum, a marriage that lasted just over five years. However, when the awesome afterhours disappeared off our clubbing calendar & radar, there was a real sense of loss in what had, for us become a weekly homage to its then heavenly home, indeed even being based out in Essex & then down in Kent, we still made the trip, pushing our own boundaries just like this brand did too. But, as we reported & reviewed at the time, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of its company part from Colosseum, this Sunday morning magnificence was to break new terrific territory as it found a new heavenly home in the spectacular shape of the amazing Area, a Vauxhall venue that, for us, cannot be beaten, not just in its own backyard, but right across the capital, nay across the globe. Yet the appeal of Area cannot easily be summed up in a simple sentence, although what we can say with total conviction is that it fits this brilliant brand like a glove, both going hand in hand with each other, just as DTPM did with Villa Stefano, Salvation did with Cafe De Paris & Trade did with Turnmills.
Of course the brand we are talking about is Beyond and while we were charmed by its companionship with Colosseum, there is little doubt in our mind that in Area, this awesome afterhours has its most hypnotic & heavenly home, Beyond having very much broken the mould when it came to finding a new heavenly home that was better than the old, after all, Trade has never really been the same since Turnmills, Salvation only seems to feel right when in Cafe De Paris, while DTPM did its best at Fabric, although Villa will always remain its holy grail of a home for us. So, with Area being all about Beyond & Beyond all about Area, we have never really taken to the idea of it moving anywhere else, whether temporary or permanently, this blissful bond between brand & backyard seemingly unbreakable, we never that convinced that backtracking to Colosseum with the “Back To” parties was a majestic move, even linking it with Trade & calling the combination Ultimate, somehow muddying the wonderful Beyond waters. But what we cannot deny is that this amazing afterhours needs to keep pace with the continuous change that is part & parcel of the capitals clubbing circuit and so its heavenly home needs to do so too.
So, with news that Area will be out of action for a while certainly pricked up our ears, not least that we would be puzzled as to what would become of our favourite club during this short term suspension of services and, dispelling the ravenous rumour machine from certain quarters of the scene, we quickly decided to negate the negativity & propel the positivity, getting the straightforward storyline from the Orange Group horse’s mouth, we being reliably & resoundingly informed that, quote “…Area will be closed for the next three weeks to allow pre-planned refurbishments to take place…”, the improvements the team will be implementing having listened to you, the clubbing public, while they acknowledging that Area is in need of a nifty & nimble nip tuck. So what have they got planned?, Well, like any good surprise reveal, they are keeping much of it under wraps, although we have a sneaking suspicion that promoter Steven Sharp has posted a wish list with the powers that be that includes an improvement in the coatcheck facilities, having often acknowledged the need for increased capacity, particularly on special events & parties, this prolific promoter always having pit this part of the clubbing experience & journey very high on his list of priorities. So, we highly suspect that the main coatcheck space at the front of Area will be extended, that additional capacity will be sourced from underutilised spaces, while we are pretty sure that there will also be a spring like spruce & sparkle to aid the focus on the front entrance facelift, while a little birdie tells us that the refurb will include the much awaited opening & extension of the VIP area.
With no Beyond backyard for a trio of weeks, where does that leave our adorable & awesome afterhours? Well, as much as it pains us to accept, there is little choice for the promotions team but to pick up this brilliant brand & transport it across Vauxhall to Area’s sister venue Fire and while for Beyond purists like us, Fire on the face of it is not the fit we would favour, the blow is being superbly softened by an extra special “Midnight” event, this marking the first of several similar themed parties including Matinee which comes at you in two weeks time (more on that in a separate Weekend Focus post). As for Beyond this coming Sunday, well it naturally starts at midnight on Saturday (10th March), or as we prefer to call it zero o’clock on Sunday (11th), taking over all three rooms of the re-shaped & formed Fire, this format similar to Area’s spaces, although in a different layout, the lounge replacing the terrace, the mirrorarch replacing the chapel & one main room swapped for the other, while the outside space is at the rear rather than the front. That said, promoter Steven Sharp has told us of Fire, “…it will open a different set of options with the layout and it works extremely well with long parties such as the “Midnight”(twelve hour) format…” he adding that “…it will give the brand a new feel for our three special parties…”.
And for this first Beyond in Fire (we are beginning to get used to the sound!) Steven & the team welcome our very own Italian Stallion, Pagano, to the decks who, like Beyond, is riding a wonderful wave crest right now, his exposure Stateside going from strength to strength, while the playing ground that is Europe sees him feature for all sorts of parties & brands, including La Demence in Brussels, Cologne’s Sexy & Lab in Paris among many more,. But it is back in blighty that the man has been simply huge, not least for Trade, having featured large in the recent “A Tainted Love Affair” event which has spurned his worldwide chart topping compilation “Trade – The Dark Side” which looks set to eclipse even his hugely successful “Digital Generation” releases. And having played out for Beyond before, although like everyone this coming Sunday, for the first time for the brand at Fire (well there was Ultimate), Mr Sharp say’s of this prolific player, “…Pagano always brings a different dimension to the brand when he plays…” he also commenting that “…there is a lot of energy to his sound which is addictive on the dancefloor…”, we certainly being able to vouch for that have seen scores of storming sets both here in London & across in Europe.
So Pagano is the Beyond “Midnight” come Sunday morning headliner, he being joined by a veritable feast of the brand’s all-star residents including Alan K who will no doubt also star in the main room, while new boy Paul Moreno gets to play at Fire for the first time, he being joined by The Sharp Boys (probably just George though as Steven has the club to promote & manage). As for other main room residents, well Steve Pitron is currently on vacation so, sadly, he won’t be there (no rollercoaster emotional ride??, no tears?? how will we cope?!?!), so it is possible that either D’Johnny or Guy Williams will feature, while the mirrorarch (the Fire chapel space version) is sure to sport Paul Christian & Hifi Sean, Fat Tony & Jonny M confirmed to play too, possibly in the main space or more likely in the lounge. And given this amazing array of all-stars, Steven is confident of “…a kaleidoscope of only the finest contemporary tunes in the land…” the promise of more guest D.J.’s (The Oli?, Jamie Head?…pleeeeease) to send you soaring right from midnight start to midday finish. Add to the music the much improved Fire lighting & effects, the team having recently employed those resplendent roof rockets that were always an Area trademark, that along with the huge LED wall behind the main room D.J. booth, a superb stage space for Elektra Paris, Shaun Capewell & their cavorting crew to “…blow your minds throughout the party with their poses and routines…” and we are pretty much prepared to see Beyond in this new temporary light, even if we are far from fans of Fire in comparison to Area & the “Midnight” event format against the age old & (in our view) much better morning sessions.
So, before we take a brief look at Beyond in the coming weeks, let’s look at the detail of this Beyond “Midnight – With Pagano At Fire” and a reminder that this is a full twelve hour event, doors opening at the witching hour this Saturday (10th March) and the event running through to a planned midday finish on Sunday (11th), those doors being of the Lightbox variety, that is in South Lambeth Place (just past Starbucks), the terrific Tom Fuller on the door ensuring your smooth entry as always. Plus, as a special thank you to both to loyal Beyond regulars & all those that attended the awesome WE “Pharaoh” afterparty last weekend at Area when, in the words of its sponsor, “…Beyond rocked like never before, it was really busy with the best crowd in town…”, there is a special free entry offer for those getting their dancing shoes on & in through the doors before 1 a.m. with a valid flyer, ad or Facebook invite, while for others, advance £10 tickets are available at the usual Soho outlets, prowler, Clone Zone & 50, or online at http://clubtickets.com, failing which you can pay on the door at prices £12 with flyer, ad, etc or £15 without. And with your host Danny Boyce pampering to your every need from within, this should be a night & a morning to remember, so one not to be missed, more details & that all important FB invite available via http://facebook.com/events/260650157347131/.
Now to Beyond in the coming weeks and as we hinted early, this weekend will signal a short sequence of extended events in Fire, although this awesome afterhours will be taking a rest for one week on 24th March, when it gives way to the massive Matinee “Midnight” which has been billed as the biggest & best yet, while Beyond itself will be itching to bounce back in its old backyard, Area of course, the following weekend (Sunday 1st April). And to coincide with the improvements to Area, Beyond will be extending its opening times, an all new & regular 3 a.m. start to become the norm (remember the brilliant “Belief” bashes?!), the brand very much stamping its authority on Sunday mornings, while there are more exciting parties ahead, Steven Sharp stating “…it’s an exciting time for clubland in general with Easter on the near horizon, then the diamond jubilee & the Olympics, meaning there will be lots of themed parties & special events, this season of splendour being kicked off with Beyond “Berlin”, when we will transform Area with prolific production, superb costumes & special performances – think Cabaret with Liza Minnelli…”. Add to this the likelihood of another of those “Super Size” events over the Easter weekend, as part of the very popular “Big Ticket” package and the flowers of Beyond spring are looking very rosy indeed.
So, while Area rests & rejuvenates it’s all change to Fire for Beyond from this weekend and we will be there to see it all, no doubt nibble size review tweeting our way through the whole lot, which, of course you can follow by going to http://twitter.com/discomatt, while if you happen to see us, please do come say hi, but remember that to “Be There!” you need to “Go There!” (DISCO MATT)