Posts Tagged ‘Liberation’
When we were making our gingerly steps out onto the clubbing scene some twenty years ago, Gay Pride celebrations in the capital were somewhat different to what they are today, our first ever foray being down in Kennington Park, a reasonably sedate affair which was followed by successive years at Brockwell Park, Clapham Common, Victoria Park & Finsbury Park, the big baby being Hyde Park when Pride in London was at its peak. However, sustaining such large park style events & keeping everything free proved a battle the organisers were never going to win. Add to that the surge in popularity & size of competitor pride events in Cologne & Madrid and in the last three/four years Gay Pride in London has become a shadow of its former self, although with the staging of post parade celebrations in Trafalgar, Leicester & Soho Square(s), have seen it regain some of its status in the yes of the public, the central London locale of the celebrations, taking in the gay village of Soho, seems to work well, although it has to be said that the previous park cohesion has been replaced with a more fragmented offering.
Now whilst there is no doubt that we do miss the fabulous dance tents that used to feature large in the park celebrations, we have also enjoyed the replacement dance stages at Soho Pride on a few occasions and there is no doubt that when it comes to London’s current Gay Pride set up, of the three designated square set up’s ,the dance stage is our favourite by far. However, with the this arena being consigned to Leicester Square last year, a whole load of excuses being waged by Westminster Council & the police as to why Soho Sqaure couldn’t be used, while sponsors The Orange Group made the most of a bad job, it wasn’t a patch on the dance stage’s natural home, many complaining about the overzealous security & lack of facilities, plus the feel that everything having seemingly been implemeted & orchestrated by Gay Pride’s organisers at the last minute. That said, we had a terrific time, not least being treated to a back stage pass & in so doing, hooking up with many of the D.J.’s & Orange Group top brass, this outstanding organisation digging deep into its own pockets to support Pride both morally & financially.
So, with London Gay Pride 2011 literally days away, but with there being somewhat of a hush surrounding this year’s festival, we can celebrate in the fact that not only do we have Soho Square back, but the dance stage will once again be hosted & sponsored by Fire. And furthermore, with a whole succession of peripheral parties across the weekend, it seems that London Gay Pride 2011 looks like being dominated by the “Outstanding Orange Offer”, as no less than twelve separate parties will be hosted by the group, making them the biggest single contributor to the Pride festival, Craig Elder & his terrific team very proud to play a prolific part in Pride this year. So, with so much activity, on the clubbing front at least, we thought it only fair to devote a special Weekend Focus post to all things Orange, showcasing their outstanding offer, focussing on club nights Onyx, A:M, WE Party, Beyond, Later, Orange & Open, as well as looking at The Fire Dance Stage, which centre pieces the weekend.
So, while the Orange offer actually starts this coming Wednesday (29th June) with Patrick Lilley’s Work, then continues on Thursday (30th June) with both Deuces at Area & & Gravity at Fire, it is the “I A:M Onyx” party that gets our first full focus, the clever play on words indicating that Onyx will be going head to head with afterhours A:M, spreading across the three rooms of Area on Friday 1st July, very much the group’s main pre-pride affair and combining the tip top talents from both clubs for one night only. And looking at the line-up, it seems we will be in for a magnificent musical treat, as the main room will very much be an Onyx/A:M head to head, with Onyx residents Lee Harris, Jc Christopher, Jonny M & new promoter Verity Mayes squaring up to the might of Gonzalo Rivas & D’Johnny from A:M, making for a lavish line up, especially given given the club is open for just eight hours (we make that 70 mins each!), while it seems to be Onyx business as usual in the other two rooms, regulars Lisa German & Ariel tearing up the terrace with their tech & electro house, while Tasty Tim commands the chapel room ably assisted by Jason Price & James St James, all serving up pop-tastic tunes that make this room the popular place it is. Add to that the Onyx influence of fire eating displays & drop dead gorgeous go-go’s, while the dynamic David H adds the A:M percussionist touch to proceedings, while hosts Chrissy Darling & Glendora share the spotlight both on the door & inside the club, steering you through this spectacular showcase from start to finish. And what of that start?, well this Onyx/A:M head-to-head kicks off from 10 p.m. this Friday (1st July), with the club running through to an advertised “superlate” timing. Advance £5 tickets are on sale online at http://clubtickets.com, while if you get yourselves on the guest list by going to http://gayguestlists.com/onyx, it’s a mere £1 before midnight, while for others its £2 before & £8 after.
Onto Saturday and daytime gives way to the Fire Dance Stage in Soho Square, probably looking to prove itself as the most popular of the three, it coming as no surprise that The Orange Group will be digging deep into their reserves to serve up a colossal combination of D.J. stars & P.A. artists, this Soho arena famed for offering the best in open air clubbing, the intimate yet absorbing atmosphere of the square perfect for this post pride parade celebration & the whole proceedings in the superb & safe hands of tip tip promoter Steven Sharp. Now, having been given exclusive access to the line-up for The Dance stage, we can confirm here & now that, in terms of the D.J performances, Steve Pitron & Mikey D will be playing a special back-to-back set, with other names in the frame include Fat Tony, The Oli, D’Johnny, Jamie Head, & Jonny M, with the likelihood of further names & back-to-back sets, while The Sharp Boys will be closing proceedings around 8 p.m. As for the P.A.’s, Sonique has be confirmed and there will be an extra special guest appearing, although this is very much being kept under wraps, but we are hedging our bets on it being something to do with the word “Stronger”. Plus, we have been reliably informed that prolific percussionist David H will be on hand, along with a host of other artists to compliment the D.J.’s sets. So, with a line up like that & much more surprises in store, the Dance Stage arena will be packed with post pride party goers, although as the capacity within Soho Square will need to be limited for safety reasons, we recommend you get there early, as experience from previous years means that post 4 p.m. you will expect to find a one in one out situation, especially as entry is free, although the organisers do urge you to dig deep & make contributions however big or small, to ensure that London’s Gay pride remains a free festival. More information on this Fire hosted dance stage event can be found by going to http://freclub.co.uk &/or http://pridelondon.org.
Then, when dusk turns to dark, the choice widens to three, between “official” post pride party, Liberation, the chunky & hunky Bear Necessity & the Spanish Sensation WE Party, all things Orange very much catering for all clubbing tastes. So, let’s look Liberation first, this post pride party taking place at Fire this Saturday (2nd July), kicking off extra early at 8 p.m. with a special “Smirnoff Garden Party”, this brand one of the main pride 2011/2012 sponsors & hosting this alfresco offering across the extensive Fire outside space, with expertly made drinks served by the specially selected Smirnoff team, while relaxing ambient music will both serve as a welcome interlude from the frenetic action of the Fire Dance stage, but will also allow you to draw breath before the heated up post pride action inside, which kicks off from 11 p.m. And the Liberation line-up is very impressive, probably the strongest yet, showcasing some of the capitals best talents across four very different & diverse rooms. So what’s on offer?, well the main room will be spearheaded by Fire residents Mikey D, The Sharp Boys, Fat Tony & Lee Harris, while the second space will have a definite Onyx “Pop”, feel to it, residents Tasty Tim, Jason Prince & James St James joined by Gaydar Radio’s Alex Taylor. Then across in room three it’s all about RnB, as Queer Nation’s Big John Freeman Jeffrey Hinton & promoter Patrick Lilley take charge, the fourth space given away to the very cute Ku Bar boys & resident jock DouGuim. Plus, Fire have secured two terrific P.A.’s, Elloitte Williams, famed for the massive hit “Pride (A Deeper Love)”, while Sharlene Hector will also perform her hit “Sunshine Into My Life” and we are also told to expect a very special guest. So, with diversity very much the name of the game & Liberation attracting the glitterati of the Pride Festival, Fire looks set to host Pride’s best “official” party yet, advance tickets available online only at http://fire.clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/02/liberation-pride-party priced at £12, with door entry at £15, those doors opening to the main event from 11 p.m. & the night running through till 6 a.m.
Across at Area & it’s about chunky, hunky & funky action as big brand Bear Necessity rolls into town for a Pride special party , welcoming special gust Nick Tcherniak to the main room decks, he being joined by Bear Necessity London resident Micky Galliano, while over in the chapel room it will be all about Tonker, head honcho Tim Jones taking turns spinning the sounds with fellow bear brute Paul Coals, while Bruno Knight’s 21st Century men will be spilling the brawn, a line up of the hottest bear god go-go’s gyrating in the many podiums across both rooms, while a special stage show should set the whole event alight with action & compliment the touch tech & dance music. Add to that special host for the night, the attractive Andy Garcia , aka Dr Woof, along with a special pre-party at Tonker on Friday (1st July), Megawoof’s Tim Mcloone taking to The Eagle decks, and the all-in package advance tickets priced at just £14 are already selling like hot cakes and are available at http://clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/02/bear-necessity-london-pride, while if you choose just the main party at Area, which kicks off at an early 9 p.m., then the £10 options are also available, while entry will be available on the door, but for more. Now, as the venue will need to prepare for the massive Beyond “Super Pride” party, Bear Necessity will run until 5 a.m. & not into Beyond as before.
However, despite these two amazing attractions, both which should draw their own crowds, there is no escaping the fact that the big party of the weekend (we reckon the second biggest) will be WE party, which, following the massive roadblock sell-out of “WE Candy”, is expected to be a repeat, this “WE Heroes” event having created a real buzz literally days after the last party. And for good reason, as it is clear this brilliant brand has taken over from where SuperMartXe left off, The Coronet proving both a popular & perfect home for the huge lighting, laser & stage installations that WE has become renowned for. So, whilst we are expecting amazing things from this latest party in terms of the stage shows & all the effects that will surely make it one of THE most prolific parties of the Gay Pride weekend, it is the music which should make this “Heroes” happening a real winner. So who can you expect to marvel you with their scintilating sounds?, well it goes without saying that Spain’s best import, Carlos Gallardo, will be making a rapturous return, WE party never quite the same without his inclusion, while he will be joined by our very own Italian Stallion, Pagano, who plays for WE in the capital for the first time & should go down a storm, especially as he seems to excel on the big stage, London WE residents Gonzalo Rivas & D’Johnny completing the current line-up. But the really exciting news for us, is the inclusion of PA Shawnee Taylor, who will no doubt be performing her massive new release “Stronger”, a track that has quickly established itself as the Pitron/DM anthem and is spreading across the dancefloors of the clubbing world like wildfire. Now, given the positioning & size of this event, we expect it to be a complete sell-out, which means you need to grab your tickets fast, advance £18 ones available online at http://wepartylondon.com, similarly priced tickets on sales at Soho outlets Prowler, Clone Zone, 50 & Solarstation, as well as The Yard, Rupert St & Profile Bar(s). However, if you leave it to get in on the doors, which open at 11 p.m., then expect to pay more & be prepared to get there early as if the last event was anything to go by, the queue will be massive, this latest WE party running through to a planned 7 a.m.
Now, as we head onto the next & what looks like the biggest party of the weekend, we suspect that many of you WE party goers will want to head to Beyond too, the terrific team headed up by Tom Fuller having laid on transport you from The Coronet to Area, the convoy of coaches leaving from 6 a.m. & setting you down at Area, all for the very reasonable price of £5. But here is the real deal clincher on this, as that £5 & coach trip will not only get you free coatcheck for up to two items, but it will also gain you fast track entry into the club, the Barcode side of this Beyond “Super Pride” party set aside for coach arrivals only. However, you will need to be in receipt of a ticket for Beyond, advance online ones at £15 available at http://area.clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/03/beyond, while the usual outlets in Soho (see above) have tickets on sale too. However, for those of you that don’t manage either, then never fear as £20 ones will be on sale at WE, so keep your eyes peeled for Tom & his team.
So to Beyond, all roads surely leading to Area come Sunday morning (3rd June), the road slightly widened as the club once again joins forces with Barcode to make this a super sized “Super Pride” event. Now for those of you that missed out on Beyond “Super Size” on the last Bank Holiday weekend, then prepare to be amazed & impressed with all that extra space both inside & out, Area’s & Barcode’s frontages combined to make one huge alfresco hangout from the hectic happenings inside, while the usual Beyond three dancefloors will be increased to five with the addition of Barcode’s front & back spaces. In terms of the D.J. line up, we can confirm that the following Beyond all stars will be present, the main room spearheaded by Steve Pitron, he joined by Mikey D, The Sharp Boys & Gonzalo Rivas, while The Chapel Room will sport Paul Christian & D’Johnny, The Terrace space most likely the domain of Jamie Head, The Oli & Fat Tony. However, with the additional two spaces next door to consider, names in the frame include Alessandro Londra, Ariel, Onyx’s promoter Verity Meyes & Beyond promoter Jonny Marsh, although as yet no news on any Barcode D.J.’s. Now, it has to be said that we are far from keen with the idea of a club promoter also D.J.’ing, especially as in this case, Beyond’s super size will need its promoter in the spotlight, but we suspect Mr Marsh will be drawing on additional talent to compliment the line-up, so watch this space for news on that. However, what you can expect of this “Super Pride” event is “…more space, more music, more dancers, more effects, more everything!..,” and Beyond itself will be digging into its own pockets to donate £1 per person to Pride, to keep this festival free. As for the detail, Beyond opens its doors at 6 a.m. the club running through till 1 p.m., online tickets available at http://area.clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/03/beyond, priced at £15, along with sales at Prowler, Clone Zone 50, Rupert St & The Yard in Soho & Barcode in Vauxhall, a reminder of this & last minute detail on both Beyond & WE “Heroes” coming your way via an Extra Bites post later this week.
Next up in the all things Orange Pride weekend line-up is Later on Sunday afternoon (3rd July), who roll out one of their infamous “Funfair” parties, this Pride devoted one sure to be popular, especially if the sun is shining. With the team turning out all those fabulous funfair rides, some in miniature scale, the helter skelter is sure to prove a winner again, while the extensive outside space will be packed with revellers who will want to take respite from a sequence of parties already counting seven. But there will be no rest for the wicked inside, as promoter Jay Sharp leans on his towering residents team to turn out truck loads of tech toned tunes, with dollops of dance to delight, D.J.’s The Oli, Paul Martin, Jamie Head, & D’Johnny, sure to pack out the place, advance £8 tickets on sale online only at http://fire.clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/03/the-later-funfair-pride-party, while entry on the door is priced at £10, although discount stamps will be on offer at Beyond, so make sure you check with Area’s door staff before you head across to Fire. Plus, all Later entrants will be able to get their hands on a free (yes free!) ticket to the “The Only Way Is Orange” Gay Pride closing party.
So that neatly moves onto Orange who, after hosting some of the biggest & most successful Bank Holiday parties this year, have been invited to officially close Gay Pride proceedings this coming weekend, opening their doors on Sunday (3rd July) at 11 p.m., the club running for a massive eight hours until 9 a.m. on Monday morning, promoter Steven Sharp & his team pulling out all the stops to make sure this is a party for Pride to be proud of. And looking at the D.J. line-up, there is lots to savour, the main room masterminded by the famed Orange “Citrus All-Star” residents Paul Martin, The Oli & The Sharp Boys, although the duo of Fat Tony & Tonnic should prove a crowd draw & pleaser too. Add to that shows from Elektra Paris & her dance troupe, while the gregarious Glendora will no doubt attract a flock of followers as she hosts like no other. But it doesn’t stop there as the Orange RAW room will be on duty too, original residents David Jimenez & Gonzalo Rivas welcoming extra special guest Nick Tcherniak to the fold, Nick making his second appearance in this special space. As for entry, it seems that if you make it to any of the Orange Group parties across the weekend & keeps your eyes closely peeled for special free entry passes, then this closing party will prove as a massive thank you for supporting the group & Pride itself. However, if not then £10 advance ticket are available online at http://fire.clubtickets.com/, while a limited number of £5 tickets will be handed out at the Fire Dance Stage post parade celebrations, standard Orange entry prices of £12 before midnight & £15 thereafter applying.
However, whilst Orange officially closes the Pride weekend, it isn’t quite over as Tuesday morning madness Open makes a rare return to London afterhours clubbing for, in the words of the promotions team, “…the party to end all parties!…” and we highly expect that it will, especially for those that don’t have any work commitments on Tuesday (5th July), the club opening at 5 a.m. & running through to an advertised “superlate” timing, which in translation probably means 11 a.m., while this party is also aimed at those scene workers how have toiled away across the weekend, Open giving them an opportunity to let their hair down, now the hard work is behind them. As for the D.J. line up, well none other than Gonzalo Rivas will headline the neat & tidy team of talents, Mr Rivas treating us to a “classic” set that will no doubt include a mixture of the vast genre of sounds within his amazing armoury, while The Sharp Boys, George & Steven, who incidentally are co-promoting this event, will also feature, with guests yet to be announced, but possibly to include DouGuim & Fat Tony. Entry to the club is just £3 before 7 a.m. with a flyer, while for scene staff with suitable I.D., it’s just £2, the Open team out on the streets of Soho on Monday night, handing out special discount flyers, more info available at http://freclub.co.uk/gayparties.
So, that’s The Orange Group’s biggest Gay Pride weekend yet in a nutshell, well not quite a nutshell, more the most comprehensive guide you will find anywhere and testament to the fact that this clubbing company is making a massive contribution to London’s Pride Festival, both in terms of offering clubbers a complete experience from Friday through Tuesday & very much underpinning this “Outstanding Orange Offer” which includes some of the capitals best clubbing brands & artists. Therefore, it goes without saying that we will be joining Craig Elder & his team across this prolific Pride weekend of clubbing & hope that you will also “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)