Posts Tagged ‘Hugh Stevenson’
Painting a reflective picture comes quite easily to us, although in the case of this super size review of Beyond’s “10th Birthday”, to do so has required us to prologue our reflection by saying that this “Amazing Afterhours Anniversary” devotion is no ordinary review. Why?, well because like no other club we have been connected with, Beyond holds unparelled importance, emotion & affection, so much so that we felt, as it has reached a magnificent milestone in its history, we should mark the occasion in a special way. So this review will not only capture the 10th birthday event itself, but also paint that picture of our emotional & affectionate connection with it, taking a journey through its history, sharing some special musical moments via YouTube links, and in so doing, making this a truly celebratory reflection rather than a simple event review. But while we cannot escape showing some the overwhelming emotion we felt on Sunday, much of it displayed through our nibble size review tweets at the time, we will be taking care to temper that emotion & balance it with the heavenly highlights that made this a brilliant Beyond birthday bash.
We can count ourselves extremely fortunate to have witnessed & savoured some of the biggest & best brands, many having stood the test of time and are treading the clubbing boards today in some sort of form or other, names that spring to mind including Orange, Trade, Salvation & DTPM, all having been around for well over a decade. However, despite these outstanding achievers having passed the landmark ten years, it would be fair to say that, with the possible exception of Trade, not one of these brilliant brands could have been considered as towering the top of the game for the whole of that time, such is the level of competition within the capitals clubbing circuit, not to mention the fickle nature of the crowds who often move from brand to brand at the drop of a hat, just look at switch from SuperMartXe to WE as a perfect example. Moreover, a whole host of other big brands in our lifetime haven’t quite reached that decade yardstick, Action, Crash, & Juicy all hitting the high notes but falling short of that double figure feat, thus putting such an achievement into perspective and meaning that when such an occurrence presents itself, there is definitely reason to celebrate, whether it be the club or the clubber, this past Sunday being no exception as one awesome afterhours achiever was set to mark their tenth anniversary.
Beyond created a pretty instantaneous impact from the day it was launched back in 2001, at the time tackling the tough cookie that was Trade, the then mother of all afterhours clubbing that had made hitting the dancefloor on a Sunday morning change from being just decadent to vogue, a time in the weekly calendar when many would either be sleeping or pursuing religious activities, the thought of clubbing the last thing on their minds. However, what Trade proved, was that the desire to dance & be debaucherous on the final morning of the week, although its music had a certain direction and due to its location, trekking across from the burgeoning clubbing hotspot that was Vauxhall became less & less appealing, especially when a new boy on the block showed its hand, literally on the doorstep of Saturday sensations Crash & Action. So, with the writing on the Trade wall, Beyond was the new darling of dancers and, despite having dipped off the clubbing calendar for two years, has, like no other club we know, remained at the very top of its & the capitals clubbing circuit game for the whole of its existence, making a 10th birthday bash a truly enticing & exciting prospect.
Having trodden those tender first few steps with the brand back in 2001, hardly a week would go by in those early years of Beyond’s existence at club Colosseum that you wouldn’t find us in the thick of the action, the likes of Brent Nicholls & Paul Heron entertaining us with laidback beats in the VIP room, while the main room sported stars that including David Jiminez, Alan X & Steve Pitron, all these names having made their mark at the colossus that was Crash. And during the halcyon Colosseum days, we grew increasingly fonder of our frolics in the hands of Beyond, not one New Years day ever quite the same without celebrating in the hands of this brilliant brand & its boy beatmasters, the music more mainstream than its old adversary Trade, perhaps accounting for its broader & lasting appeal. And even finding ourselves well out of its reach with work deployments into Essex & Kent, Beyond continued to feature in our frolics until 2006 when it dropped off the clubbing calendar, our Sunday’s temporarily replaced by new offer Ultra & venue Area, although life was never quite the same as those brilliant days, the loss of our now adorable afterhours akin to losing a close companion.
So when, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Beyond returned and took up residence at Ultra’s home Area in May 2008, a new dawn in the club’s history quickly followed, initial comparisons with Colosseum dissolving as the identity Area was giving Beyond was something quite spectacular, not least in the amazing atmosphere, lighting & effects that were to become the clubs trademarks. Plus, added into the mix was the continuity provided by some of its resident D.J.’s that survived the gap in the clubs services, the likes of The Sharp Boys, Gonzalo Rivas & David Jiminez, key players in the new set up, while the clubs longest surviving resident who like us, had trodden those tender first steps in 2001, right back in the thick of it all at Area, Steve Pitron the shining star that was pulling in the punters and playing, for us, the most magnificent music. And as we had craved our clubbing at Colosseum, we soon adored Area, Beyond the single most powerful link between the two that was by now riding on a wonderful wave crest that showed no signs of coming into shore.
With the club & the brand very much back where it belonged, at the top of its game and without doubt the most popular of all on the capitals clubbing circuit, Beyond entered a new phase of excellence, both at home & abroad, strides internationally seeing it play out to audiences in Paris, Amsterdam, Mykonos & Brazil, while back in London it was scooping award after award and cementing its reputation of being the jewel in the weekly clubbing crown. And our affectionate associations continued to grow for Beyond, the now infamous “spot” that had become a byword for Disco Matt’s dervishes, instantly recognised by so many of its regulars, D.J. residents & successive promoters, while our own purple patch period with the club reached its heights just this year when the equally infamous “rollercoaster emotional rides & joyful tears” became our secondary Beyond trademark. So, it was no surprise that, as the 10th Birthday loomed, our emotional excitement rose to boiling point, our expectations began to push the boundaries of reality and with many of its key players in place, on paper at least, we made vocal & emotional preparations to celebrate Beyond’s past, present & future, the scene now set for what was to prove an amazing afterhours anniversary.
Having sought to slide home to re-charge our batteries after a walk on the Casa Latina side, those now racing emotions of excitement & anticipation were very much gripping us, not least as we set the mood by listening to a handful of classic Beyond beats stretching back as far as 2004, all in preparation for the short journey return to Vauxhall, we finding ourselves arrive at Area’s doors at not long turned 6 a.m. And with the familiar face of Tom Fuller in his usual military style efficiently managing the considerable queue, it was clear many had decided Beyond was the only path to choose, the sweet smell of celebration hanging heavenly in the air. With door hostess Juliana’s welcome setting us on our way, it was into Area and first through the terrace room, where veteran of Beyond’s Colosseum days, Severino, was setting about charming the crowd with a ton of terrific tunes, a further advance into the chapel space spotting another Beyond heavyweight resident from past & present, Gonzalo Rivas, he too attracting an ample audience with a bundle of brilliant beats. But with our mind set on sorting a space for our belongings, then preparing for the main room magnificence ahead, we grabbed some refreshments & headed for the fresh air of the outside space, both to check our emotions and gather ourselves for the prolific partying to come.
With a flock of familiar faces coming up to say hi, it was clear that this Beyond birthday had attracted many of its most adoring fans, not to mention the whole of the Orange Group top brass, Craig Elder & all three sons plus Jonny Marsh & Verity Meyes present & correct, while scene faces aplenty were all around, we grabbing a few pre-dancing moments with the adorable Andrea, who like many, were waiting for the main room to swing into action. And with the jungle drums signalling its start, we headed inside and straight for our spot, arriving to find the space already rammed with revellers, The Sharp Boys in charge of the tunes and treating us to a terrific trip down musical memory lane, one classic Beyond tune after the next transporting us back to the delectable days of Colosseum, our eyes already ravaged with emotional tears as we span on our spot. But the Area memories were also having their say, not least when the release of the prolific & resplendent pyrotechnic rockets grabbed our attention, they racing across the rooms ceiling, their spectacular sparks adding to the already luminous lighting & amazing atmosphere, a collection of the Brazilian bunch that usually accompany us around our spot soaking up the splendour, both D.J. DouGuim & pal Giuseppe among them, our playful mate tempering our emotions with energetic insistence.
By now The Sharp Boys were in full flow, mind you so were our tears, the anticipation of the set we had been waiting for getting too much to handle, lending the need for a further fresh air break from the birthday bravado, a step outside spotting the arrival of Mikey D who, like The Sharp Boys, had put in a tremendous amount of preparation for a celebratory set full of musical memories of Beyond’s bygone years. So, fighting back yet more waves of emotion, we headed back to our spot, just in time to soak up a true classic, The Sharp Boys adding their own terrific twist to Chamonix’s “How Did You Know”, sending superb shivers up our spine, not least as this was one of ten tunes we had picked out as our own musical memories of the clubs history. With Steven having popped out to say hello & George waving over the D.J. booth, it was now the turn of Mikey D to step up to the Beyond birthday plate, admittedly without his back-to-back playing partner, many remarking on the absence of the clubs undisputed superstar, Steve Pitron, although what we & Mikey were missing in this masterful man, Mr Dower was to compensate for his companion’s absence with an simply scintillating set, soaring the amazing Area atmosphere to new heights.
Pulling ourselves together was now the order of the day, as Mikey set about stunning us with selection after selection, tracks “Delirious”, “Addicted” & “Sunday’s At Heaven” among a mound of other musical memory moments that were doing the job of deflecting the devastation we were feeling over the absence of our bon ami, Giuseppe on hand to soak up our tears and sending us into a spin with his bawdy bravado. And with the podiums topped with Elektra Paris’s drop dead gorgeous gogo’s, Mikey on fabulous form, the lighting & effects at full tilt, it was now that we found our significant stride, more & more familiar faces passing by to say hello, Lee Harris, Mauricio Ortiz & Naomi Ruiz among them, while Aaron Elder & Jonny Marsh were never far away, they like us marvelling in the magnificent music & prolific performance of Mikey D. With a terrific trail of treats being turned out by the tore de force that was Mr Dower, we found it hard to prize ourselves away from our spot, even with the tinsy temptations of a back-to-back set by D’Johnny & David Jiminez in the chapel space & The Oli in the terrace, such was the main room majesty before our eyes. But our moment of the morning was about to come, as the usual glances over the D.J. booth that would have come from our missing man, came our way from Mikey, the look & then the thumbs up sign sending the reassuring signal we had been looking for, lifting our spirits further within the rollercoaster ride we were journeying through this breathtaking Beyond birthday bash.
Now we were entering the final phase of our trip down memory lane, the arrival of Alan K & Jamie Hammond, the duo that would assume control of Beyond’s main room, signalling an end to Mike D’s magnanimous music, their assumption of the decks also marking a new phase in this amazing afterhours anniversary, a hint more to the Beyond present & future rather than its past which had been celebrated by the threesome before. And in this recently formed partnership, Alan & Jamie were to prove a formidable force in carrying the crowd along with their stupendous selections, we too suitably stolen by their dovetail devotions, although it would be Tom Fuller that would wrestle us away from the main room madness and complete the predictable pattern of our regular visit to this brilliant clubbing brand. So, assuming our position at the end of the terrace bar gave us the added bonus of soaking up a towering turn by the legendary Fat Tony who was attracting plenty of dancing admirers, not least when what surely can be described as THE anthem of the club, “Release Me”, was played out, that on top of recent hit “Enjoy The Ride”, both very much sealing our deal on this birthday bash, our minds now set on retiring home for rest, relaxation & reflection on what had been another morning packing with memory making moments.
So what did we think of this Beyond birthday celebration?, what were our heavenly highlights of this magnificent meet?, and what now for this brilliant top of the pile brand? Well, cutting through the emotions, the tears & tribulations of our day, we can say with hand on heart that this was an outstanding outing that will rank among some of the great Beyond’s of all-time and while it will probably never quite tip the scales that “Tokyo” & “Erotica” did, it will stand among a long list of others that will remain in our memory banks for many years to come. Hats definitely have to go off to The Sharp Boys who, without question, celebrated the glory of the Colosseum days through a spectacular selection of sounds that was pure unadulterated pleasure from start to finish, while each & every other D.J. across all of the three rooms played their prolific part in making this a birthday celebration colossus, mentions for Gonzalo Rivas, David Jiminez, D’Johnny, Severino, The Oli & Fat Tony indelible inclusions, while celebratory congratulations also have to go to the army of organisers who made this hallmark happening possible, not least to Mr Craig Elder.
However, for us, the huge highlight was that Mikey D set, a truly outstanding couple of hours in our morning marked with one towering tune after the next that we know will have made his playing partner proud, our huge highlight being that reassuring look he gave us over the booth in our moment of need. As for Beyond’s future, well it seems to be pretty secure, especially given the terrific turnout for this milestone mark in its history, the likes of new kid on the Beyond block Jamie Hammond sure to feature, while we know that the missing link from the morning, Steve Pitron, will be back and keen to make up for celebratory moments lost. Then there are its continual aspirations on the international clubbing playing field, the brand sure to make an impact on the further reaches of the globe, we sense a presence in Australia & South Africa on the cards, this on top of consolidation of its partying in Paris, its outings to Amsterdam & its sorties to Sao Paulo, while the Beyond trophy cabinet back home will need to make room for more awards to come as it steps into its eleventh year of cutting edge clubbing & colossal curtain raising cavorting. And despite what one particular tweet may have said, Beyond remains and will forever remain our most favourite club, meaning we will be right by its side as it continues to reign supreme, forging a path of clubbing fulfilment for us and many more besides. (DISCO MATT)
Now for those promised YouTube musical links and a self indulgent conclusion to this celebratory look at Beyond’s “10th Birthday”, as we thought it appropriate to pick our ten top tunes from the clubs history, well those covering the span of years & holding the most magical memories of their time.
So to our first choice and a track from Beyond’s first ever year, 2001, “Easy Livin” by Sea Flowers perhaps not that reflective of the clubs music of the time, but one which holds special memories for us as it was played by Brent Nicholls in the VIP room at club Colosseum, the club’s first home. A disco tipped track that will forever be about Brent & Beyond, catch a clip at http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y-uN5hRMyVs.
Onto our second choice and one from the clubs 2nd year, this 2002 track by Una Mass a real favourite of ours as “I Will Follow” would often finish off an Alan X set around 12 midday at Colosseum, sending us spinning into a fabulous frenzy, Alan one of a handful of residents that played at both Crash & Beyond in the early days of our favourite afterhours. A timeless track that still sounds as superb now as it did then, savour a slice at http://youtube.com/watch?v=4j-q6su5orc.
To our third choice and one that actually featured on Sunday morning, The Sharp Boys adding their own terrific twist to Chamonix’s “How Did You Know (77 Strings), which, when it was first released in 2003, stormed both the sets & the dancefloors of Beyond, many of its all star residents of the time playing it to rapturous reception, not least by Steve Pitron in Colosseum’s main room. This is a real memory maker, which you can grab in all its glory at http://youtube.com/watch?v=pYiFmDuCvko.
For our fourth choice we skip a year and look to 2005 for the first of two tremendous memory making tracks, both from a mixing/re-mixing duo that were very much hitting the high notes of the clubbing circuit at the time, Haji & Emmanuel. Dajie’s “Brighter Days” holds particularly special memories for us, not least as we can visualise our appearance at Beyond on NYD, our right arm in plaster & Steve Pitron playing the track, while Hugh Stevenson was also noted of turning it out on many an occasion. An all time Beyond classic in our books, the memory making mix out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=2_lPtUMN-xc
We stick with 2005 and with Haji & Emmanuel for our fifth choice of ten, “Take Me Away” firmly in the Steve Pitron camp of classics that he would play often at Colosseum, the lyrics, the beats & the amazing atmospherics of the track shouting Beyond, “…come with me to the dancefloor…I want to dance the night away…”, or in this case the morning, which we did over & over again to this towering tune. A choice that will forever be an anthem of our favourite afterhours & its biggest D.J. all-star and one you can savour in all its splendour at http://youtube.com/watch?v=AtRht_BInS4.
Onto choice number six and one that sees us jump to 2008, marking a new era in Beyond’s history as it now finds itself in new Vauxhall venue, Area, having halted its happenings at Coliseum, disappearing off the clubbing circuit two years before. Now, while this track will never be forever our favourite afterhours, “Sunday’s At Heaven” was one of the year’s biggest hits & in terms of memories has us gazing at our pint sized French pal as he gyrated on the podium in front of the Beyond main room D.J. booth. One from the vaults & a worth a spin or two at http://youtube.com/watch?v=SFrAXbqt38w.
Number seven in our ten, taken from 2009, is trademark Beyond & Steve Pitron, a track that continues to make an inclusion in his sets to this day, we suspect more to get that emotional reaction that has become our own trademark of our rollercoaster ride journeys that came to a fore this year. “Last Forever” by Norman Doray still sends superb shivers up our spines and when we close our eyes we are on our spot in Area & at Beyond, that is how powerful it is packed with memories of our favourite club. “…Let’s make this moment last forever…” which it certainly does when we go to http://youtube.com/watch?v=zoG6OBJ1euQ.
To our eighth track choice and one that simply had to be included as it has beyond written all over it, although it was Industri & courtesy of Paul Heron when we first heard “Release Me”, Paul having discovered the track from a trip down under. However, we adopted it as our anthem and many of Beyond’s D.J.’s reacted, playing it out just to see us spinning uncontrollably on our spot, not least Alan K & Steve Pitron. A pick from 2009/2010 and out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=5MhbKqoBbgA, this towering track still erupts the Beyond dance floors & ranks as one all-time great dance hits of our times at the club.
For the penultimate choice in our top ten, we look to 2011, a year that marked a real purple patch period in our association with Beyond & its music and while a long list of tracks were in the running as number nine, due to the overriding significance of “Waiting For You” by The Shapeshifters, it simple had to be included, not least as it holds masses of memories of our Sunday morning appearances & those looks over Beyond’s main room D.J. booth by Steve Pitron, starting off those joyous tearful emotional eruptions. “…If you need me, just call me…”, say no more, just catch a clip at http://youtube.com/watch?v=nnB3t51qRBM.
So we reach number ten in our choices and while there are some real anthems in our picks, we kind of pail in comparison to this track which will always be about Beyond & Steve Pitron for us. The truly tremendous “Here Comes The Rain” which was first released by The Eurythmics years before, got the remix treatment in 2008 but still features in Steve’s sets today, the ticker tape explosions, the bubble waves & those pyrotechnic rockets the backdrop to its brilliant crescendo beats. This is Beyond at its brilliant best & its all star resident at his most resplendent, a worthy inclusion worth catching at http://youtube.com/watch?v=ACcTKAv1Sak.
Having taken our tender steps onto the capital’s clubbing circuit some twenty or so years ago, we can count ourselves pretty lucky to have encountered some truly tremendous times in the hands of some of the biggest & best brands along the way, from Action to DTPM, Factor 25 to FIST, Matinee to SuperMartXe & Lovechild to Later, all making their significant mark in our memories. And whilst the list could go on & on, these are our handful of happenings that have reached the elite in our echelons and rank as those that have influenced our clubbing lives more than many others, but if we were to pin down the brands that have made the biggest impression on us, it comes down to just three, the first being Trade, no list ever being complete without the mother of all clubs which completely dominated the scene in the 90’s and still continues to this day, although admittedly a minnow of its former spectacular self. Then there is Crash, a club that heralded the underground movement & put Vauxhall onto the London clubbing map and a club that, without doubt, had as much, if not more of an influence on our lives than Trade, as it was at Crash that we formed some of our greatest & longest lasting friendships, many that survive & thrive to this very day.
But what the colossus that was Crash did more than anything else is create a Sunday morning afterhours phenomenon that has excelled all others before it, rising to the top of our clubbing pile and in so doing, beating off all potential rivals for our fondest affection. And it couldn’t be any other club than Beyond, a club and brand that started as a simple follow on for Crash customers, but has become a worldwide symbol for everything that is ecstatic & exemplary of club eventing, a brand that has dominated the capitals clubbing circuit for a huge slice of its existence, toppling Trade from its proud pedestal to become THE place to be & be seen clubbing on a Sunday morning. So, as Beyond prepares to mark ten years since making its first impression on the London clubbing landscape, we couldn’t let the moment pass without taking you back through some of its historical highlights, sharing some of the magical music & the prolific people that the club have served up to the scene and then delving into the detail of how the current team at the clubs helm plan to mark this landmark in its lifetime.
So where & when did the brilliance that is Beyond today begin?, well we have to look back to 2nd June 2001 when the concept for an Sunday morning afterhours was born out of what was initially an after party for the Purple In the Park, host venue, The Coliseum proving to be the clubs home for the first part of its heavenly history, although its first faltering year in operation saw Beyond play second fiddle to the Saturday superstars on the scene, Crash, Action & Heaven still proving the hard hitters, while Trade’s pedestal was proving a tough cookie to topple. But enter stage left the man behind other Vauxhall afterhours brands A: M & Orange, one Craig Elder and Beyond was to take on a whole new identity and impact, the joining of forces with Crash’s Wayne Shires proving a explosive collaborative cocktail and one that would see the brand propelled into the eyes of the clubbing community virtually instantaneously, becoming the talk of town & very much walking the walk, seeing off the Sunday morning competition that was Trade.
With Beyond under a full head of steam, the Colosseum days were to prove very special for us, not least that many of the resident D.J.’s from Crash would play out at this awesome afterhours too, the likes of Alan X, David Jiminez, Severino & Steve Pitron performing virtually week in week out, well when Beyond was given away to Crash’s own “Afterhours” party, while the iconic VIP room was where one of the best known & longest running D.J. back-to-back partnerships were formed, Brent Nicholls & Paul Heron playing line astern, this leading on to a playing partnership that saw soiree splendour Industri rule the Thursday waves for much of its own time in clubland. But with so many stars of the scene clamouring to play the Beyond decks and the now weekly parties very much roadblock affairs, what was originally a two room party was stretched to three a “Therapy” & then an “Elemental” themed space introducing the likes of Malcolm Duffy, Paul Martin & Red and Blue, while Beyond’s main room sported stars The Sharp Boys, Hugh Stevenson & Stevie B, mixing it up with the clubs originals, Mr Pitron still part & parcel of the clubs prolific package. And appropriately, Steve has just this month released a podcast from those halcyon days of Beyond, from April 2004 in fact, the magical musical memoires that he made back then coming flooding back before our eyes & ears and one that is an absolute must for all Beyond & Pitron fans as well as those who fancy a terrific trip down memory lane, one which you can grab by going to http://stevepitronsessions.podomatic.com/.
But while 2006 dawned with one of the clubs biggest parties to date, the early part of the year seeing the offer extend to a new concept called “B4 Beyond”, the might of Crash & Orange uniting in what was seen as the continuing & harmonious collaboration between the two camps. However, under the surface the lines were being drawn in the sand, as new club venue Area was in the cusp of being launched, the team behind Crash throwing their might & money behind this amazing arrival, one which was to see Beyond hit the back burner midway through the year. And with Beyond out of play, this new custom built venue stepped into the spotlight, its own afterhours outing “Ultra” becoming the darling of the Sunday morning clubbing market, attracting Crash stars that included Mikey D, Jamie Head, Brent Nicholls and, naturally, Steve Pitron among a host of others that had played Beyond in the Coliseum days and who play for the brand to this day, Paul Heron included in that elite list. But this part of the Beyond picture would never be complete without a massive mention for one other, as the hostess with the mostest, now known as Hrh Minty, but then simply as Minty, was the fabulous face of Beyond from its early days at Coliseum, very much providing continuity within the calamity that had seen our favourite afterhours disappear off our dance diary.
So, to pick up the Beyond story we need to fast forward some two years, to 2nd May 2008 to be exact, this marking the return of the brand to its regular slot in our schedule, an attempt to re-launch the club earlier in the year at the inauspicious Sunday evening timing falling on immediate rocky ground. But with Area now in the hands of Craig Elder & his Orange Group, Beyond was to see its most successful years ahead, not only cementing itself as the best afterhours outing on the clubbing circuit, but establishing itself as the leading brand in the eyes of the clubbing community & press, scooping award after award, not least the prestigious SeenQueen club poll, one of the most respected & robust opinion orators around. That said, the awards came on the back on the brilliance of the brand, not least with the dynamic D.J.’s that Beyond employed, Steve Pitron very much in the mix, while his old Crash pals Mikey D & Jamie Head became regular features too, the likes of Alan K, Hifi Sean, D’Johnny, Paul Christian & The Oli the new blood, joining the Colosseum company of David Jiminez, Gonzalo Rivas & The Sharp Boys. And many of these stars have laid down recordings in reverence of Beyond, Alan’s compilations considerable, Sean’s mixes magical, D’Johnny’s devotions delightful & Oli’s podcasts pumping, all worth checking out at http://djalank.podomatic.com, http://hifiseandj.podomatic.com/, http://djohnny.podomatic.com/ & http://theoli.podomatic.com/.
However, the story of Beyond is a continuing one, as in Area we have seen some of the best times in our own clubbing history, not one month going by without it playing a pulsating part in our prancing, so much so we find it hard to choose one or two from the wealth of wonderful weeks when the club hit our heavenly high notes, although “Tokyo” last October & “Erotica” this February rank as two huge highlights along with scores of others that received our rapturous reviewing, the brand benefitting from unparralled exposure through those reviews as well as countless recommends & reports posts, while we have sometimes courted controversy with revealing our displeasure to certain changes or directions the club has taken in recent times. That said, as amazing those halcyon days of Colosseum were, 2011 has been a purple patch Beyond year for us, our relationship with the club & many of its players reaching dizzy heights, our now much publicised “rollercoaster emotional rides & tearful floods of joy” never more apparent than when found on “our spot” in Area for Beyond, indeed that very phrase, our spot, a product of the club and one that is equally associated to us as we do it to Beyond. As for this brand, well 2011 has seen it stretch its international legs, touching the likes of Amsterdam, Ibiza, Mykonos, Paris, & Sao Paulo, while beaming out its beats on Gaydar Radio has reached audiences as far as Australia & South Africa, making Beyond as a brand a genuine global giant. Add to that it’s various incarnations, “Belief”, “Back 2”, “Midnight” & “Super Size” and if the club were a human being, it would most definitely be a man for all seasons.
Yet as the truly brilliant Beyond marks a decade since first opening its doors to droves of dancers, the club finds its very existence at threat, microscopic attention by the regulatory authorities in the last few weeks marring its magnificence, while rumours are rife of licensing & other issues that could affect its future or its home. That said, given the clubs standing on the scene together with its ability to survive & thrive where others have fallen by the wayside, come this Sunday morning (25th Sept), Beyond will be brimming with dance devotees both old & new, all coming together to celebrate what is truly one of the best clubs on the planet. And the team will be turning out the best that Beyond has to offer, with a never seen before bounty of back-to-back sets by its all-star residents, some also old while others are new, the marriage of multi mixing maestro Alan K with young gun Jamie Hammond looking electric, the playing partnerships between Hifi Sean & Severino, D’Johnny & David Jiminez set to be superb showstoppers, while the prolific pairing of Steve Pitron & Mikey D had to be a given and will surely prove stand-out among the ample helpings of this 10th birthday celebration cake topping icing impressions.
But with the devil in the detail, there is much more that this Beyond birthday bash looks like bring, not least as a further supporting cast of D.J. residents include Jamie Head, The Sharp Boys, Gonzalo Rivas, Fat Tony, The Oli & Jonny M, while we are told Elektra Paris will be heading up a team of ten dancers dressed distinctively to celebrate this landmark moment in the clubs history, the team telling us to expect “… everything from cutting edge LED gogos, to stunning couture sailors, amazonian warriors, erotic leather-bound studs, circus freaks and wonderland characters…” all on a custom built stage setting created exclusively for this event. Then add in the truly amazing Area lighting, effects, pyrotechnics & lasers, for which Beyond has become a byword and you have one colossal celebration of afterhours audacity at its brilliant best, all this hosted by the fantabulous Naomi Ruiz & Mauricio Ortiz, meaning that this is sure to be a roadblock event, thereby hinting that advance tickets are a must to avoid disappointment, these priced at a mere £10 and available online at http://clubtickets.com as well as at the usual Soho outlets. However, chancing it on the door will cost you £12 with an ad or flyer, while without will stretch you to a score (that’s £20 folks), those doors opening at 6 a.m. and the club running through to a planned 1 a.m.
Now that’s the detail, but how do we sum up this whirlwind look back at Beyond’s history & its landmark landing? Well, despite the pedantic part of us questioning its right to celebrate a 10th birthday, given that two year break in its history, it is in true fact a full (and slightly more) ten years since Beyond braved the capitals clubbing scene and during that time it has brought to us the best in music, the best in D.J.’s, the best in dancing, the best in atmosphere, the best in effects & the best in events. So, that simple word best speaks for Beyond in a nutshell and given its amazing ascendency, those halcyon days at Colosseum, the phoenix rise from the ashes at Area, the unrepentant wave crest ride it finds itself on today & everything in-between, we cannot take anything away from this colossus of a club’s moment of glory, so will hopefully be right in the thick of the action, nibble size tweeting, spinning on our spot, in a Pitron pool of tearful emotion, but moreover helping Beyond & all its prolific players celebrate this awesome afterhours anniversary. (DISCO MATT)
With our heads having been buried in computers & the compilations for well over twenty four hours, our minds are now focused back on the forthcoming weekend and one that looks set to be another purple patch period of partying with two exceptional events on our schedule. However, looking across the scene, there is so much more on offer meaning that it’s time to run through our Best Bites & Short Shouts across Soho, Vauxhall & elsewhere, as the march towards the middle of the month marks to marvellous meets.
To Soho first and our Best Bite pretty much a foregone conclusion as Profile & Lo-Profile get our choice again this week. But rather than run through the whole offer at these Wardour St. wonders, having visited two weeks in a row, we will let our reviews do the talking, , “I Want My Porridge”, which should probably say “We Got Our Porridge”, looking at Profile (direct link) http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/reviews-i-want-my-porridge-junior-moura-plays-profile-barcode-friday-1st-saturday-2nd-july-bite-size-review/, while with both Gigolo & Society playing a big part in Lo-Profile’s weekly offer, we combined both into one review which gives you as good a flavour as any recommendation (direct link http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/reviews-soho-social-splendour-times-two-gigolo-society-at-lo-profile-thurs-fri-7th-8th-july-bite-size-review/). However, whilst it’s good to reflect, especially when it’s all about good times, it’s also great to look forward and this weekend, both Profile & Lo-Profile give you a lot to look forward to, the former sporting two of its longest serving resident D.J.’s Jamie Head dishing up the dance hits tomorrow (Fri 15th), while the cheeky Craig Daniels does the business on Saturday, both starting from 8 p.m. & carrying you through to the extended 11.30 p.m. curtain call. With a fab food offer, the friendliest staff & the best cocktails in town, check out more info of his sophisticated spot at http://profilesoho.com. As for downstairs in Lo-Profile, with Society steering you into Saturday, the man behind the concept, nu-funk exponent extraordinaire Brent Nicholls kicks off another session of this social come clubbing splendour, while Nick Evans takes up the music mantle till 4 a.m. Then on Saturday, it seems that Lo-Profile can’t get enough of Hugh Stevenson, as he is back for a second weekend, Alessandro Londra polishing off another wonderful Wardour St weekend, more details on Lo-Profile available at http://loprofile.com.
Now to some Short Shouts & Rupert St get first bite, with D.J. Minx in charge on the tunes tomorrow night, while Oliver M, fresh from the La Demence cruise should have tons of terrific tunes up his sleeve on Saturday (16th) both selecting the sounds from 9 p.m. till midnight, details on this popular place out at http://rupertstreet.com.
To Ku-Bar now and having popped in last night, it seems they have had a major makeover (well since we were there last anyway), so definitely a more sophisticated look upstairs, while is business as usual downstairs, the DJ quest comp still in full force tomorrow (Fri 15th), while on Sunday, Lady Lloyd holds another “Hit Factory” happening, also not forgetting “Citric” on Monday (yes not the weekend!!), more info out at http://ku-bar.co.uk.
Finally to The Shadow Lounge, who are right in the middle of a massive makeover in time for their 10th anniversary, this Saturday signalling the last party before they close their doors for the major facelift works. So, with furniture & other Shadow souvenirs up for grabs, Andrew Elmore making sure the sounds are spectacular, this should be a closing party to remember, while the new look is also extending to the website, where you can get all the info you need on what when & where, at http://theshadowlounge.co.uk.
Onto Vauxhall and one event stands out among a sea of others in The Orange Group stable, as Casa Latina makes its second splash on the scene, with their “Super Car Wash” party this Saturday (16th July), we having covered it all in detail with our Weekend Focus “Brazilian Beats Bonanza”, out at direct link http://discomatt.com/web/2011/07/recommends-brazilian-beats-bonanza-cas-latina-super-car-wash-saturday-16th-july-weekend-focus/, and one prolific party you won’t want to miss. So, whilst Casa is standing in the Saturday spotlight, there is plenty else on offer, starting with Onyx tomorrow night at Area, residents D.J.;s including Lee Harris, Jc Christiopher Ariel & Lisa German, while straight after its another A:M Afterhours at Fire, proving a great excuse to push the euphoric envelope deep into Saturday morning. Then, with all those Latino’s out at Fire on Saturday night, they will definitely be in partying mood, so heading for Beyond on Sunday morning, while the team also party hard in Paris the previous night, The Oli & Paul Heron flying the flag once again. With Later on Sunday afternoon in a purple patch of partying, so should prove a draw, especially for those not heading out to Lovebox, while Booster keeps the clubbing going straight to Orange that carries you deep into Monday morning & a later crawl to the office or workstation. Whilst it is very much business as usual for The Orange Group this weekend, there is a new kid on the block night coming your way very soon, not to mention big plans for August, so here is where to keep your eyes peeled as the news breaks (no phone tapping required for info). But, you could also pay a visit to http://fireclub.co.uk/gayparties for more information on a full-on week of clubbing that also includes Gravity, Deuces, Open & Work, while to get guest list entries to clubs, clock on to http://gayguestlists.com/ & add your club choice after it (i.e. Onyx, Later, Booster).
Onto some Short Shouts now and never say we shy away from something a little off our usual beaten track, but when a club celebrates a birthday, its 10th no less, then it definitely deserves a mention. And in this case, our shout goes to Bootylicious, marking this milestone with birthday bash that celebrates this clubbing of colour collectives’ coolest raves across a decade that has seen it hop from Crash to Area & then jump to Colosseum, where this party takes place on Saturday (16th), more info on this institution available at http://bootylicious-club.co.uk/.
Next & to a venue who’s Sunday nighter, Horse Meat Disco, will be in the thick of the action at Lovebox in Victoria Park (more on that in a mo), while The Eagle hold a pre-Lovebox celebration with HMD’s Jim Stanton on the decks, while the previous night, Tim Jones’s “Tonker” sees another Jones on the decks, Ross bashing out the beats at this bear-tastic gathering. With HMD back for a post Lovebox mash-up on Sunday night (17th July) and a week full of frolics, go check out the venues website http://eaglelondon.com for more info.
Now to another birthday celebration, as Barcode Vauxhall celebrates 5 years on the clubbing scene this Saturday (16th July), with an extra special party, bringing back some of its favourite D.J. residents to mix up the musical birthday cake recipe, Steven Artis joined by Gonzalo Rivas, Hugh Stevenson, Elliot J Brown & Paul Coals. Now, we will be devoting an Extra Bites post to BCV’s birthday, so keep your eyes peeled for that, but for details on this, the now singular Barcode in the capital, go to http://bar-code.co.uk.
So to our alternatives and Best Bite just had to go to Lovebox, which whilst in the domain of breeder land for most of its three day festival length, has a distinct homo feel to it on Sunday (17th July), when it seems the lion’s share of the gay clubbing scene will be heading out to Victoria Park to give support to the likes of Circus, Horse Meat Disco & Trailer Trash, who will be flying the rainbow flag over the exceptional alfresco event. But when you see the main stage line-up, there is plenty of gay interest too, as headlining are The Scissor Sisters, while big players Robyn, Kelis, Beth Ditto, Blondie & Marc Almond no less, all hit the homo mark, the list of performers stretching deep into double figures (we count 55), both Tensnake & Jonny Woo in the mix, while that Circus stage looks like one not to miss. And having spoken with Kris Di Angelis on the subject a couple of weeks ago, the live performance planned is one you simply won’t want to miss, the Circus top protagonists all involved, including Scottee, Tom Stephan &, of course Jodie Harsh herself. Add to all that a packed park serving up cabaret, circus rides, street theatre, vintage bazaars, art installations & much more and we are just praying the glorious British summer doesn’t let us down. Now, looking at the official website, http://lovebox.net, there are still both standard & VIP tickets on sale via the official suppliers, Ticketmaster & HMV tickets, but be warned, you will need to collect them on the gate as even we, having ordered ours two weeks ago, have to potentially stand in a queue for our VIP ones (not very VIP that is it?!?!). However, tickets aside, this is going to be a fantastic festival and one hell of a day for us, DM being on hand to review it all, while we will also be pushing out an Extra Bites recommends post, giving you the last minute rundown of where to be & be seen.
Right to a couple of Short Shouts to round off this newsletter and we head up to Dalston first, to The Dalston Superstore in fact, who are very much in the Lovebox mood with their “Optimo” party on Saturday (16th) when the Glasgow duo of JD Twitch & JG Wilkes roll up fresh from their Lovebox appearance for the city’s legendary club, that being Optimo of course, while Horse Meat Disco’s Severino rocks upstairs. With “Boydem” on Friday & a very special “Outside The Box” post Lovebox party on Sunday, Trailer Trash, Bodytalk & Hot Boy Dancing Spot combining for one monumental mash-up & The DSS is definitely the place to be, more info available at http://thedalstonsuperstore.com.
Over at East Bloc and the boys are still in recovery mode after a superb Summer Rites festival last weekend, but welcome Fitladz to the fray, this boy on boy bash having uprooted itself from Vauxhall, picks this trendy Shoreditch spot to draw in some of those “aww right” East End ladz tomorrow night (Fri 15th), while it is a case of S.O.S., as this plu populaire night is back, the likes of Jim Warboy, The Lovely Jonjo, Scottee & La Gosse included in the line-up, more details on East Bloc out at http://eastbloc.co.uk.
Right folks, we are pretty much there for another weekend, but just time to squeeze in two tiny mentions, first to tip top clubbing site SeenQueen, who have updated their own diary of events right into August, this & much more available at http://seenqueen.com/, while with the weather being what it is, maybe a tan would go a miss, the best place to top up & look beautiful being Solarstation on Archer Street in Soho, full details of offers from Hassan & his team up on their website at http://solarstation.co.uk.
So, with plenty to choose from this weekend and with every hope that the sun will be shining on the righteous this Sunday, all that’s left to do is to wish you a pleasant one, wherever you are & whatever you are doing, but if you find yourselves at Casa Latina on Saturday or Lovebox on Sunday & spot us out, come say hi, but remember what we say, which is simply “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)