Posts Tagged ‘Kristine Cummings’

Sublime Sunday Service

Sunday t-dance style parties have been a feature of the capitals clubbing circuit for as long as we can remember, a whole host of brands trying their hand at this sometimes tricky timing, some with more success than others, good examples from the halcyon days being Salvation, DTPM & Factor 25, while in more recent times some new concepts have not been so fortunate, both Famous & TTD falling foul of an expected following that simply didn’t materialise. That said, if a party is pitched right, then success it can achieve, Downtown, the collaboration between Thursday phenomenon Room Service & Saturday sensation Meat, having created a Sunday t-dance that both attracted & appealed in significant numbers.


So, sensing a slight tide change in Sunday clubbing, plus with an eye towards more qualitative clubbing, The Orange Group decided it was time to up their own ante with a new club that echoed all of these sentiments, Blessed being the result. And from the moment of its announcement, this new venture very much set its stool as the new way to fill the sandwich of group’s Sunday schedule, fitting neatly between Later & Orange, thus replacing Booster, the niche club event with a more specific following & musical direction. The aim with Blessed was clear, it wanted to offer a more sophisticated setting, a lounge style space with tables & wine waiter service, matched by more mainstream music from scene favourite D.J.’s, along with live shows & performances from credible artists, the question being, how did Blessed actual deliver with its launch and what were our impressions of this improved offer?


Chapel Congregation

Landing back in Vauxhall after the Later boat party, we were in pole position to take in the Blessed launch from the off, although it seemed they weren’t quite ready for us, the planned 7 p.m. start slipping a little, leaving us to gather ourselves & effect a clothes change before arriving at Area to a warming reception from dutiful dudes Romain Lopez & Paul Vlad, both fresh from the regular Later at Fire. So, it was mere moments before we were inside although we were one of only a handful of post boat party goers, many probably having chosen to head home to refresh themselves from an afternoon on the high seas. Feeling a little like a lost sheep, we headed first into the terrace space, which had been subtly transformed into a chill-out space, a smattering of tables, candles & ambient lighting; although it seemed that the lion’s share of activity was spread between the outside space & the aptly named chapel room. And it was here where we found Fat Tony, standing proud in his D.J. pulpit serving us a sermon chorus of chunky tunes, many uplifting & euphoric but with tech intentions, a Blessed bible of beats that were striking just the right chord with his holy congregation.


However, after the antics of the afternoon, it was the outside space that we decided to spend most of our time for this Blessed t-dance launch, we soon being joined by a wave of familiar faces that had, as we thought, refreshed themselves after the Thames trip and made it down for this sublime Sunday service. Included within the ever increasing crowd were the likes of Johnny Marsh, Verity Meyes, & Mauricio Ortiz, although many more that had been boat bound were also here, Jamie Head with partner tiff soaking up some social splendour, while there was also no shortage of muscle hunks, good looking guys & girls, as well as a mixture of club kids that had now made it across from Fire. Plus, with three very fetching bar waiters dressed in tight shorts, black bow ties & not much else, circling around offering table served drinks, there was a sense that the aims of a more qualitative feel to this concept were being met.


Blessed Beats

With The Oli arriving and stepping in for an absent Mikey D on the Blessed decks, we continued our socialising outside, now in the captivating company of Craig Elder, the man a picture of health and clearly revelling in both the success of the Later boat trip and the pitch of this party. And there was now a real buzz building across the outside area, a photo shoot space having been set up for plenty of people to pose & pout, while Fat Tony was nailing the Blessed cross with a set of biblical proportions. Then, as if his prolific performance wasn’t enough, first The Oli assumed the pumping pulpit to preside over a packed out chapel room that would have put any church gathering to shame, the boy selecting a succession of sounds to savour, all added to by a spectacular showing by the vocal diva dynamite that is Kristine Cummings, she jumping on the stage & shepherding her flock of followers with rapturous renditions of club classics that were as towering as the ten commandments. However, as good as the party had become and as much as we wanted to stay, the call of an early start saw us throw in the towel a little earlier than we would have liked, leaving Area & blessed to party away till midnight & then an onward encounter with Orange, we wending our way home to reflect on a club concept with lots of promise.


So what did we actually think of Blessed? Well, it would be fair to say that it was a luke warm start, the crowd & the party taking a while to get going, but there was no doubt in our mind that pitching it with a more upmarket feel to its replacement worked well. The use of scene D.J.’s like Fat Tony, Mikey D, The Oli & DouGuim will certainly attract a more mainstream clubbing crowd and while Booster as a club does have its place, we like the direction Blessed looks like taking Sunday evenings in Vauxhall. We perhaps feel that the terrace space should have a more lounge like feel to it, possibly more seating to compliment the chill-out feel and that the table service should extend beyond just bottles of wine, but all in all, we were impressed with what Blessed achieved with the launch, the inclusion of weekly P.A.’s sure to boost its appeal even more, so wish it the best of Sunday service success and long may it preside over a crowded congregation. (DISCO MATT)

This Is Disco Matt
Who Is Disco Matt?
Disco Matt is London’s original party boy and independent journalist who previews, reviews & recommends London's best gay clubs, events & businesses, links to & reviews the scene top D.J.’s and generally covers the gay scene including international gay clubs & events.
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