Posts Tagged ‘Lizzie France’
When we look back across our clubbing life in the capital there is no doubt that times have certainly changed since we first arrived on the scene back in 1990 and it would also be fair to say that our tastes in clubs & the music they play has also changed, we not necessarily moving with the times although with ageing comes mellowness, probably like a good bottle of wine. Mind you, sticking with that wine analogy, we certainly seem to be showing no signs of turning to vinegar, rather in our twenty first year of cutting a stride on the scene, we seem to be just as active as we were back then, perhaps even more so, save for the odd debilitating injury that clearly also comes with age. And talking of coming of age, usually, or at least in old money, twenty one years marks that moment, although in the case of this club, which celebrates its 21st birthday this coming weekend, there can be no doubting that it came of age many moons ago, the heyday of existence in its first ten, those heady yet heavenly times at Turnmills, a time when clubbing, especially on a Sunday, was at its most decadently debaucherous and pushing the boundaries, as we did, was packed with excitement & naughtiness.
Trade has left on indelible mark on our lives, along with many others, some who like us, are still cutting that stride on the scene, while others will have long resigned themselves to a life less clubbier, the newer generation of Trade fans possibly not even having witnessed those wonderful times when it found itself at what can only be described as its home sweet home. Yes, there is no mistaking that combination of Trade & Turnmills is the bread & butter, the cheese & biscuits or the strawberry’s & cream marriage of the clubbing scene, hardly any other brand & venue association coming close, save for perhaps Salvation & Cafe De Paris. Yet, interestingly, as Trade turns 21, for nearly half of that time, this mother of all clubbing brands has found itself without a permanent place to lay its hat, venues including The Egg in Kings Cross, Fire in Vauxhall & Ministry Of Sound in Southwark all playing host to occasional events, whether it be the still surviving Christmas Day parties or, naturally, the birthday bashes. Yet while attempting to emulate the feel of Turnmills, The Arches getting the closest, it seems that the clubs ethos has diluted somewhat, not least in the style of music, the crowd it attracts &, of course, the overall atmosphere.
But before we talk about where Trade will be for it’s 21st, we thought it only appropriate, especially for those of you younger folk who were not around in those heady Farringdon days, to give you just a taste of what it was like to take in a Sunday morning at Turnmills, by, as briefly as we can, paint a picture of an a-typical trip to Trade. Generally, it would start with a 3 a.m. wake up call, followed by a 4 a.m. rendezvous with our Trade baby pal Terry in the early nineties, & Chris in the latter nineties, an arrival at Turnmills doors meaning joining a queue, sometimes for an hour or more, although the wait was worth its weight in gold. Then, with fevered anticipation we would descend the stairs into the main space, the bar the first eye catching sight, a wonder under the arches avoiding the packed “muscle mary alley” (so called as all the hunky men would meet here), then up the steps into our spot opposite the D.J. booth door, from where we could survey all the action on the dancefloor as well as casting our eyes on the D.J.’s at work. And it would be here that we would dance pretty much constantly for the next six hours to the likes of Malcolm Duffy, Alan Thompson, Steve Thomas, Rachel Auburn, Lisa German, Ian M, Tony De Vit, Gonzalo & Pete Wardman. And pretty much nothing would move us from our spot, save a short break for a coffee on the first floor around 11 a.m. or the need for refreshments & to refresh ourselves, hardly a week going by when we wouldn’t be there as the lights came up and when Laurence Malice turned them off again, a midday finish going on till 1 p.m., we eventually crawling out of Turnmills, bleary eyed, into a bright Sunday afternoon, happy days indeed. And if you were part of this era of Trade, then this video clip should bring those happy memories flooding back, http://youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=o_OuDT9Jch0, providing a rare piece of footage from the last event at its legendary home, whilst Laurence Malice’s interview in The Independent is a MUST read for all Trade enthusiasts & inquisitors alike, gives you as good an insight to the club & the man behind the club, so one you should absorb in all its glory by going to http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2011/10/24/laurence-malice-on-after-hours-partying-being-kidnapped-and-turning-away-axl-rose/.
So, looking to the now, where is Trade laying its hat for its birthday this year? Well, interestingly, they have opted for new club Pulse Southwark to house the event, the place, just off the south side of Blackfriars bridge where both SuperMartXe & Lovechild now stage their scene showings, Southwark as a district having been the home for Trade’s 18th & 20th birthdays but a hop, skip & jump down the road at The Arches. Now, following a number of false starts this year, we still have yet to see this new, state of the art clubbing venue, although from what we are told there will be plenty of space to house the hoards of people that will no doubt decide that this 21st birthday bash will be their Saturday night choice of where to be & be seen on the scene. And yes you heard us right, Trade’s birthday this year will be on a Saturday night, as opposed to the traditional Sunday morning, although the so called coming of age also means that life is a little different, not least that the afterhours phenomenon that effectively killed off Trade’s weekly parties, Beyond, will be joining forces with its nemesis, for an afterparty at Fire in Vauxhall, details on this we will be covering in a separate Weekend Focus post coming up. As for Pulse emulating the days of Turnmills, well those days are definitely over, but we are sure that with the planned artwork, Trade Mark style & the usual prolific production, it will be as close as we could wish for.
With the bricks on this birthday bash beginning to build up into a fuller picture, the venue & the night now sorted, what about the most important element of any Trade party, the music? Well, given the line-up it should be top draw Trade style as usual, big hitters of recent times, Pagano & Nick Denton in amongst a sea of stars from those magical days of Turnmills, main room men of that time, Pete Wardman & Gonzalo (he didn’t use Rivas then) also in the mix, while we are sure Steve Thomas & the face of Trade, Nick Tcherniak may surprise us with an impromptu back-to-back performance to match that wonderful one at Fire a couple of years ago. But the list goes as lite lounge originals The Sharp Boys & Fat Tony are there, while the long list extends to the likes of Daz Saund, Leonardo Glovibes (suggesting a Megawoof style room!), to Andy Farley, Rosco & Ross Homson (a hard house room for sure!), while the team also welcome special guests Monika Kruse (check out her interview at http://dontstayin.com/article-14593)& the legendary Smokin Jo who, together with Jon Byrne & James Nardi, complete a line-up that has something for everyone, from Trade babies of old, to lite lounge enthusiasts, through to those more used to the modern face of this 20th century colossus celebrating 21 years making music & now firmly in the 21st century. Plus, judging from the line-up, our guess is that there will be three, maybe four rooms, although as usual, the team are keeping these details very much close to their chests.
So what can you expect from the music?, Well, house, progressive house, hard house, harder house & techno house, although we were hoping to find a Trade 21st birthday compilation release to promote, while as of going to press we are still waiting for one, but what we can do is share links to podcast pages of some of the stars of this coming Saturday’s show, The Sharp Boys up first with two recent releases that give a nod towards what to expect from their set, both Sharpcast Episode 9” & the special promo edition worth picking out from their page at http://sharpboys.podomatic.com/. Then there is Nick Tcherniak, the so called face of Trade, as, with the exception of Tom Fuller, it would be Nick that Turnmills regulars would see first, although these days, Mr Tcherniak is better known for being behind the decks rather than in front of them, his set on Saturday one not to be missed, an idea of the kind of treats in store available by checking out his latest podcast, “Everybody”, at http://nicktcherniak.podomatic.com/, which includes the track of the same name, recorded with studio partner Steve Thomas (or Janet to his Trade pals) along with vocals from Lizzie France, who performed live at Trade’s birthday last year. Another name pretty synonymous with Trade and one who kind of stepped into the vacant shoes left by the prematurely lost Tony de Vit, is Gonzalo, his main room sets in the latter 90’s, pure memory making magic, we pinning our hopes on Mr Rivas to produce a podcast devoted to Trade’s birthday, although his “Cums Deep & Penetrating” mix is as close to the mark as we can get it, well worth a listen at http://gonzalorivas.podomatic.com/, although like Nick’s, his set on Saturday is one you should be around for.
Now we mentioned that name didn’t we?, Tony De Vit, no preview look at any Trade birthday would be complete without a mention for him and while he may have passed onto a better place 14 years ago now, his memory still lives on in many people’s minds, not least those Turnmills Trade babies that, like us, are still circling the scene, or at least pitching up to these annual birthday bashes. And in terms of giving those of you not accustomed to the full on high speed hard house sets that we used to enjoy week in week out on the Turnmills main room, just check out this video clip that, without visuals, introduces you to a real de Vit anthem, “Are You Ready” (http://youtube.com/watch?v=oWIzTYVUcIM), this track along with a host of unmissable others to be found on his “Global Underground” album & one we will be digging out & dusting off for a few plays before heading out from home on Saturday night. But with a never-ending list of YouTube clips available to mark the memories left by this legendary D.J., here are just a couple that give you an idea of the magic that this man created every time he played, http://youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=dfzkHmCQySQ chronicling another Tony anthem “The Dawn”, while the full 9 minute feature of “I Don’t Care” at http://youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=OWaWPx3hUa8 evokes the pounding & pumping surge of excitement that used to race through our veins while Tony was masterminding a Sunday morning spectacle of a set as he used to do with consummate ease.
Right, with you now surely in the mood for this Trade “A Journey To The Dark Side” event, all we need to do is to run down the detail, we once again stressing (more for Trade enthusiasts of old) that this is a Saturday night, rather than a Sunday morning party, Pulse’s doors opening at 10 p.m. and the event running through to a “superlate” finish. Now, if you haven’t yet got your ticket then best you get on the case pretty quickly, as we expect this to be a sellout, or at least a roadblock affair, advance £15 entry available online by going to http://www.clubtickets.com/gb/2011-10/29/trade-21-a-journey-to-the-dark-side, where you can also grab the joint £25 option which gets entry to the afterparty, “Ultimate”. However, if you prefer grabbing a ticket by hand, then Soho outlets Prowler, Clone Zone & 50 have them on sale, while for the foolhardy, there may be entry on the door, but expect to pay more & wait a long time to get in (so you know what to do!!). And, why not join the Trade mailing list at http://tradeuk.net, as by doing so, you get the chance to be included in the draw for free VIP passes to the party, while with our ticket already in hand, you can expect to see us on the Trade dancefloor come this Saturday night, reporting on it all, so if you do, come say hi, naturally making sure you “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
We look back to the days of Soho Pride with incredible fondness, the concept which started back in the mid noughties as a result of the de-scaling of London’s main pride event and quickly established itself as the capitals premier gay festival, outstripping the former in terms of both numbers & appeal, although quickly switching from a Saturday to a Sunday which seemed to fit better with all parties concerned. However, with a change in the city’s mayor, came a change in heart & funding, in effect cutting Soho pride off in its prime and leaving the capital without its own fabulous street festival as well as a gaping hole in its outdoor event schedule. However, out of the ashes of Soho Pride came Soho Pink Sunday, a reasonable sedate affair compared to its inspiration and at a glance looking more like a money spinning project for the bars involved rather than an all out celebration of community, charity, music, song & dance, although it certainly pulled out the punters, the streets & the bars packed all afternoon & evening.
So, Soho Pink Sunday is back and whilst plans hitting our desks have been quite sketchy, we expect most of the bars to be involved and the day to look much more like a Soho Pride affair, albeit that the stages will be confined to the Compton St end of this gregarious gay village. However, what we do know is that there is on hell of a party happening at Profile & Lo-Profile, as the might of Gaydar are calling on the services of Lovechild & Logan Presents to bring you a Soho Pink Sunday special entitled “Superlovers”, a party spread across both Profile & Lo-Profile in what looks like a truly fitting end to a dynamic day. And the combination of these big brand players along with a heavenly headline act looks like a sure-fire winner, the terrific team of D.J.’s including an amorous Aussie, flying in from Sydney to star alongside some of Lovechild’s favourite residents, while there will be no shortage of drop dead gorgeous go-go’s across the two floors, many pulled from the awesome armoury that exists within the Logan presents camp.
Well that’s the bones of this exceptional event, so what about the meat?, Well, apart from those delicious dancers courtesy of Logan & his schmitzels (more on that in a mo), there will be plenty of muscle-bound meat to feast yours eyes on in the form of the Lovechild D.J.’s, not least special guest Johan Khoury who makes a more than welcome return to the capital, marking his third outing for promoter Alex Erfan’s loveable brand, Johan having made a considerable impact on the capital’s clubbers on both previous occasions. Hailing from Sydney, he is very much active on the city’s scene, having played out at all the big events including Mardi Gras & The Harbour Party, while he is inextricably linked to the brand Day Wash, as well as the down under version of Love Muscle along with a handful of others residencies under his belt. That said, Johan has also made an impression abroad, having played out in parties across The America’s & Europe, stop off’s including Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Ibiza, San Francisco, Paris & Rome, while he rates his appearances in London high amongst his list of landings, his uplifting, energetic & euphoric house music style of sound making him a popular pull. And if you haven’t managed to catch him in action behind the decks as yet, then you can always grab a slice of this handsome down under dudes dance music mastery by checking out his podcast page at http://djjohankhoury.podomatic.com/, “Pandemia” a brilliant intro to an atypical Johan set, while “Dreaming” is full of that energetic house we were talking about and what he will surely be selecting come Sunday.
But Mr Khoury won’t be the only Aussie influence at “Superlovers” as Alex draws on the talents of one of his longest serving residents, Brent Nicholls having played out at the very first Lovechild in London and has been a feature at virtually every party since. And it is fair to say that this attractive Aussie continues to attract an audience wherever he plays, Mr Nicholls being no stranger to both Profile & Lo-Profile, having played out for the brands regularly, he being the inspiration behind the launch of Friday night sensation “Society”, a compilation dedicated to the club at http://djbrentnicholls.com/web/2011/04/14/minipodcast-society/, a good hint towards his nu-funk & disco groove style that will be likely to feature at “Superlovers”, while he remains as popular a pick for Mr Erfan now as he did back in the days of Salvation & PSP. Add to Brent, the musical magnificence of two of Lovechild’s mainstay residents, Tony English & Alessandro Londra, both who have represented the brand across Europe as well as here in London, while recent recruit Marco Gee will no doubt add even more dimension to this already dynamic D.J. team.
So that’s the music, what about the entertainment?, Well in true Lovechild & Logan Presents fashion, it will be right up there with any club offering around, not least that the services of two prolific P.A.’s have been called on for this “Superlovers” event, Lizzie France the first and a foxy female that has a voice to match her substantial stature together with a list of vocal hits that includes recent smash “The Answer”, while we are sure that at least one of her new track releases, produced in collaboration with Nick Tcherniak & Tom Marchant will get an airing on Sunday. But Alex & Logan have also managed to secure the one & only Alexis Houston and, yes, she is the sister of her more famous sister Whitney and looking at Alexis you can see the resemblance too, we being told her voice is every bit as good, while having been delighting audiences from an the tender age of six, she has been both performing and producing music, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Justin Timberlake & Christina Aquilera, while her phenomenal voice embodies the soul of Aretha Franklin, so is sure to go down a treat at “Superlovers” and will no doubt be a heavenly highlight of the happening.
Add to that the injection of those drop dead gorgeous dancers we deluded to and in the very capable hands of Logan Schmitz, you can pretty much guarantee the crème de la crème, not least as the man’s own dance pedigree & resultant contacts within the field pretty much speaks for itself. Having spent a fair amount of the summer travelling, Ibiza & mainland Spain featuring in his tours, Logan has touted some really gorgeous muscle hunks to add to his already considerable stable of London based boys & girls and if you happened to be at SuperMartXe’s “Blackout” event last Saturday (shame on you if you weren’t) then you would have seen some of them in audacious action. So, come Sunday, you can expect only the best in terms of beauty & brawn, the dancers topping the Lo-Profile podiums from the off and surely mingling with the masses upstairs in Profile too. Plus a quick mention has to go to Gaydar, who are throwing their sponsorship weight behind Logan & his terrific team, we are told supplying plenty of giveaways for the night, so best you get up close & personal with one of Mr Schmitz’s schmitzels to score your surprise.
Now to the detail and “Superlovers” takes place this coming Sunday (18th Sept) at both Profile & Lo-Profile, kicking off from 10 p.m. with tickets available on the door at a price of £10, while if you grab a flyer then it’s just £5. However, if you are around Soho for the Pink Sunday festival, then keep your eyes peeled for the “Superlovers” hunks who will be handing out discount wristbands all day, while we are told advance tickets will be available from behind the bar at Profile too, while more info on this exceptional event can be found by going to either, http://alexerfan.com or http://loganpresents.com.
Sadly however, it seems that an individual from a certain organisation (we won’t mention names) has been seeking to derail this “Superlovers” event with a surreptitious message he is spreading in which he has said “…Be careful about buying any tickets for any party’s run by Alex Erfan from Love Child as he is going bust and may keep the money and not do the party. Tell anyone who might buy one…”, one that is founded on nothing else but pure fiction & malicious intention. Having spoken with Alex personally on the issue and also speaking out in his behalf, we cannot condemn this message enough and with the whole of the “Superlovers” team also doing the same, not least major sponsors & supporters, Gaydar, we want to assure you that ANY tickets bought for this or ANY event run by Alex are sold with the upmost of integrity & honesty and that the ONY care you need to take, is not to get sucked in by this despicable message & its intentions.
So, let’s end on a high by wishing you a very happy & safe Soho Pink Sunday and cannot think of a better way of rounding off your partying by joining Alex Erfan, Logan Schmitz, Gaydar and the whole of the Profile & Lo-Profile team for “Superlovers”. We will be there to live nibble size review tweet & report on it all, so if you see us come say hi, but make sure you “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
Casting our minds back some ten to fifteen years and looking at a London clubbing landscape that was littered with special events both indoors & out, the likes of Famous Five & Universe attracting huge numbers on Bank Holidays and this marking a time when outdoor Pride parties were never more prolific, happy happenings at a host of alfresco areas, Clapham Common, Victoria, Kennington & Finsbury parks, all significant, while memorable Brockwell Park meets particularly stuck in the mind, a string of outstanding outings culminating there with Purple In The Park in 2002. But by this time, the penchant for a park party had pretty much fallen out of favour, not least due to a succession of soaking sessions, London’s premier Pride party in Hyde Park proving a wash-out two years in a row, even Purple suffering a similar fate. Yet, despite the weather, there is nothing quite like a park party and while Brighton seems to have survived & indeed thrived, whereas London has lost out, but when news hit our desks of the re-launch of an exceptional alfresco event that well & truly rocked Brockwell Park and was best of the bunch, we simply had to give it the support it deserved.
Summer Rites was, without doubt, the best alfresco outing we have attended, the launch event some twelve years ago making its mark pretty much instantaneously with the most prolific party we can remember, an outing that saw us accompanied by our then close companion, Chris Reardon, when the likes of Ultra Nate were headlining the massive main stage, while a pack of peripheral parties within this massive festival very much hit the mark, not least Monday morning madcap meet, Warriors, which took over the lido, creating a water park style splash that we will never forget. But like so many of it park party bedfellows, Summer Rites became a victim of that tide change we talked about, outdoors being swapped for in, leaving the whole creative concept pretty much dead in the water. However, with the vision of its original organisers spotting a new gap in the festival market, no doubt spurned by the success of Lovebox, along with the marriage of minds of brands like Salvation, XXL & Popstarz, combined with the more cutting edge east end events, Gutterslut & meat, very much gave this boutique festival credence to the clubbing circuit crowd, meaning, on paper at least, there was nothing stopping Summer Rites “Remixed” from being a resounding success. The question was, how did it actually fare? And what were the real highlights for us?
Having succumbed to a totally unplanned trip to Beyond on the Sunday morning, initially agreeing to leave after just one hour, it was The Oli that stalled our departure, the rest pretty much history, although we blame a storming set my Mikey D that really did the damage., So, with plans to arrive at Summer Rites bright & early laid to waste, it was Lovechild’s promoter Alex Erfan that came to our rescue a very welcome chauffeur style ride to Shoreditch Park by Queer Nation’s (and many more) Patrick Lilley, transporting us from SW4 to E1 in an instant, although a little later than planned, we hitting the ground running (well nearly the ground actually) a just after 5 p.m.. However, with the distinctly rain filled clouds having cleared by this time, we couldn’t have timed our arrival more perfectly, the sun suddenly shining and a glorious greeting on the gate by the ever smiling Stewart, just the started we needed, particularly in our fragile state, but then there was no one else to blame for our Beyond bawdiness that had caused us to feel this way, a pick me up very much in order, although right from the off we seemed to be left a bit begging.
Finding out feet momentarily, we gazed upon this Shoreditch Park splendour of a Summer Rites “Remixed” alfresco audacity, the mix of tents & stages pitched perfectly, although some were finding favour over others, our first stop being the Bootylicious bus, which had a faithful following of its usual mix of colours & creeds, Messrs Lilley & Forbes in their element. Then it was a case of slowly (thank heavens!) making our way around the park, our next port of call the XXL tent, Christian M in charge of the tunes, a brief stop soon finding us across that the main stage, in the hands of international clubbing brand Salvation, Elliot J Brown taking centre stage with a myriad of magical music mixes that had us on a monetary upsurge of energy, the considerable crowd also lapping up his dance delectations with real gusto. But we were keen to spot out the East Bloc tent, not least as both awesome alternatives, Gutterslut & Meat were sowing their hands, the likes of Per Q.X. & Tom Stephan masterminding the music. And, we weren’t to be disappointed, as not only was the atmosphere amazing inside, but it was packed with familiar faces, Ross Paterson & pal, fresh from their Madrid Pride exploits, as well as the Brazilian bunch including Sophie & Giuseppe, all throwing themselves into the Gutterslut slice of this alfresco antics afternoon.
However, our tour of the park was not yet over, with the VIP area still to investigate, but not before circling the park to take in the Popstarz tent, although being caught in our tracks by fab photographer Chris Jepson who instantly snapped us together with our “mature boy band” partners before heading off to click his camera at more unsuspecting targets. With the Popstarz tent pretty empty, save for a handful of pop pickers, Max Sanna included, we waved farewell to both Patrick & Alex had had seen what they wanted to see, the VIP area our next port of call and that much needed “pick me up” that our Beyond bedraggled body had been crying out for. Mind you, with the scene glitterati floating around, The QX top brass, the Boyz boys, a smattering of D.J.’s & other scene faces, we soon fell into captivating conversation with Tony Tansley who seemed grateful he was the right side of the organisational side of the fence, having been part of the original Summer Rites team, but now enjoying this “Remixed” festival as a patron. But it was then the amiable Antoine 909 who engaged us fully, we talking D.J.’ing, pride partying, festivals & all sorts of other topics, we realising just what a tremendous guy & talent he is and one that the London scene sorely misses (a comeback pleaaase!!).
With our VIP socialising over and the evening sunshine peeping through, we were main stage bound, the lion’s share of the remaining festival frolickers glued to a spectacular set by our very own foxy lady, Miswhite, who was clearly revelling in her big stage appearance, further familiar faces within the crowd, including Phil Marriott & Russell, both camera clicking, a quick pop backstage seeing a chance meet with the adorable Paul Vlad who was in fine fettle. However, we were waiting for prolific P.A. Peyton to hit the stage, so back front we went finding more captivating company, this time in the form of vivacious vocalist Lizzie France, who like us, was praying for a prolific Peyton performance. And we weren’t to be disappointed, as he pretty much stole the Summer Rites “remixed” show, with a clutch of towering tunes including “Trapped” leaving us once again breathless in admiration of his scintillating stage showing & powerful presence. So with our Shoreditch park festival box well & truly ticked, we pointed out now flagging body towards the exit & a saunter home to reflect on one of the best gay outdoor gatherings in a long while.
So what was our verdict on this return of Summer Rites? Well, there was absolutely no doubt that it had all the right ingredients that make for a successful park outing and we were particularly impressed with the marvellous mix of club tent & entertainment offerings, bringing in all colourful corners of this superb scene that we are so lucky to be involved in. And, while the park was never packed, the turnout was impressive enough, although we suspect that the entry price may have been a distraction for some, while the weather was always going to play its part, that fateful British summer not letting us down, with a shower & sunshine parade that was probably a deterrent for others. Yet, with the choice of clubs represented balanced well, the inclusion of the mandatory fare rides, market stalls & food stands, along with the all important drinks outlets, Summer Rites had it all, was a park party pitched perfectly and ended up be a very enjoyable excursion, so well worth the trip across town. Highlights have to have been Peyton’s prolific performance & that awesome atmosphere in the East Bloc tent, while the amiable Antoine made our day pretty much complete, meaning that we sincerely hope Summer Rites & all its terrific trappings will be back, bigger & even better next year as it certainly gets our vote. (DISCO MATT)
Having been out of action ourselves for a few weeks, it seems the scene has also been missing one of its favourite brands & promoters, both Lovechild & Alex Erfan having very much dipped under the radar. In fact, searching through our archives it was back in May that this lovable brand showed its hand at Fire on a Saturday, yet despite it also having shown its hand at As One at the last bank Holiday, it has now been well over a month since the scene has savoured this colourful club in the capital. However, while London may have been missing out, Alex & his team have been bevering away across in the continent, parties in Antwerp & Lyon, added to a host of others that have combined record it’s most successful year yet. Then, when we thought all things Alex had gone quiet on the western front, not only will this coming Saturday (9th July) see one of our favourite clubbing brands consume the capital, but the following weekend it heads north of the border to Edinburgh to help celebrate the start of the cities fringe festival.
So, let’s take a look at London first and to the “Super Lovers” event that should surely see Lovechild reclaim its stake on the Saturday scene, its promoter very much playing on the brands strength, the word “Love” no less, he explaining to us that, “…, Lovechild has always been, first and foremost, about the love, love of life, love of self, love of the music, love of mankind…” , quite a substantive claim, but if you have been to any Lovechild event, you will know exactly what Alex means, as no club can claim to have a more friendly crowd, while the club itself gives gives & gives, love oozing out of its pours. Indeed, looking back across the score of events across the last twelve months, the Lovechild team have always pushed the envelope, entertaining us with some of the most prolific P.A.’s, an incredible list of international D.J. guests and a resident list that puts virtually every club in the capital to shame. But come this Saturday, whilst much of the fabulous formula remains the same, Lovechild is certainly taking the club to a higher level, Mr Erfan adding that “…Lovechild returns to Fire, with an incredible international line-up of DJs and performers in celebration of those who take love to the next level, so called the SUPERLOVERS…”
And he isn’t wrong as not one, not two, but three international D.J. stars will be centre staging this “Supper Lovers” come super heroes event as we have been reliably informed that new Lovechild dance director Nik Ripley has drawn on his previous experience working closely with Matinee in London to gather together some of the best looking go-go’s in town, while Alex’s right hand man Nhamo has drawn on the services of Invincible Rubber to create a whole host of super hero costumes that look like putting those sported by Spanish counterpart WE Party this last weekend, very much into the shade. And whilst you may think that this is a case of copy cat (possibly Cat Woman!), Alex informs us that this super heroes theme to his “Super Lovers” party has been in the making for quite a while, probably accounting for Lovechild’s absence from the capitals scene. But, while Nik has some gorgeous go-go’s to pop out our eyes, Mr Erfan will be pulling his drag queen contact strings, a very special star flying in from Tel Aviv that will simply take your breath away, especially when she does her Wonder Woman twirl.
So, with the eye candy entertainment deal sealed, what can we expect from the music? Well, as we hinted, three international D.J.’s for a start, Matinee’s newest resident & a feature among our short(ish) list of firm favourites (are we allowed?…yes), Javier medina making a welcome return to London, having featured both for Lovechild & As One last year, but having really grown into his international status following that matinee appointment in December. Having made a name for himself stateside, with gigs in Miami, New York, Javier’s year has slowly been accelerating, especially in recent weeks as the build up to Barcelona’s Circuit Festival takes him right across Europe & even as far as Canada & South America. And naturally he will feature large in the twelve day festival in his home city in August, so landing him in London in the middle of his heavy schedule is a coup for the Lovechild team & one we cannot wait for. Plus, his current style of deep tech & tribal house will definitely be taking Lovechild to a new level, we reckoning you will dig his superb sounds which we suspect will be very much akin to those of his “Happy Tech House” mix which is well worth a listen at http://soundcloud.com/javier-medina/happytechhouse2011.
As for the other two stars?, well one is really well known to us, having looked after us amazingly during our recent visit to Muccassassina in Rome, Micky Galliano being a resident of the truly awesome club, while his D.J.’ing C.V. reads impeccably, clubs he has played including Ministry Of Sound, Vertigo and Azuli, not to mention Gay Village & SuperMartXe, while bulky brand Bear Necessity is part of his repertoire as it club & record label Deviate, along with London’s Barcode, Queer Nation, Tonker & now Lovechild. And whilst we were hoping he would lay down a compilation marking his inclusion in this “Super Lovers” event, it was Bear Necessity’s Pride event last weekend that benefitted from a Micky mix, one like Javier’s, giving you a good idea of what to expect from Mr Galliano come Saturday, so a listen must by going to http://soundcloud.com/micky-galliano/bear-necessity-london-pride. As for the other international star, what we can tell you is that he comes from Russia, Moscow in fact, although has played as far afield as Greece, Holland & Spain, although it is his home city where he has made his mark, having been at the top of the scene game there since 2006. Representing SuperMartXe in the Russian capital, he has also played for SMX in Amsterdam, while he has recently also swapped ship to play for WE Party internationally. And his name? Well it’s Saeed Ali, not quite the Russian influence you would expect, he having a distinct Mediterranean come Middle Eastern look & charm, his latest claim to fame being the driving force behind new club brand “Alimania”, he having dedicated two compilations to the club, both which are out at http://soundcloud.com/dj-saeed-ali.
With the international trio taking up the main room mantle, Lovechild “Super Lovers” will be extending across two other rooms, Fire’s mirrorarch space, known in Lovechild terms at The Contact Room, will sport resident original Alessandro Londra, with recent entrant Marco Gee, while in the Love Lounge, its Brent Nicholls following on from D.J. Savin, while in terms of the all important detail, this Lovechild “Supper Lovers” party takes place this coming Saturday (9th July) at Fire in Vauxhall, Mr Erfan mentioning that, “…After all the Pride Parties, we know you need to give your wallet a little rest so we are giving you the opportunity to enjoy this incredible party for as little as £5. Yes, you read that right – just £5!…”, the team having released 250 £5 tickets online at http://alexerfan.com as a thank you to faithful Lovechild supporters and fans, meaning its online you go to grab this special offer, tickets also available on the door, which opens at 11 p.m., the club running through until 6 a.m., while free wrist band entries to beyond will be up for grabs for the first 100 through Lovechild’s doors.
Fast forwarding a week & Lovechild makes that move north, teaming up with Edinburgh’s finest Fever at The Liquid Rooms in the Scottish capital, the marriage of minds looking like one made in heaven, plus promising to form an on-going partnership that should spurn regular residencies for Alex & his team over the border (or is that Hadrian’s wall?!). And for this first foray next Saturday (16th July), Mr Efra will be taking the cream of his team with him, Lovechild resident D.J Tony English travelling north, as will by superb P.A. & vocalist Lizzie France, not to mention nee Lovechild dance director Nick Ripley & his troupe of go-go’s. They will be joined by Fever D.J. residents Brian Fisher & Mark Price, across Liquid Rooms hi-tech main space, that sports the latest sound equipment, lighting & visual effects that will dazzle & delight, while there will be a distinct festival feel with lots of magic & miracles from a host of entertainers to top off the dancing & music. With further details available at http://alexerfan.com, advance tickets priced at just £10 are already on sale online at http://clubtickets.com/gb/2011-07/16/fever-meets-lovechild-edinburgh-liquid-room.
Now here’s a bit of details on Fever’s past to give you a feel of just how much of an iconic club it has become in Edinburgh. Fever was launched at Club Ego in March 2004, the night having been created by the people behind the legendary Sunday night clubbing institution, Taste, which ran in Edinburgh for just over 16 years. Fever was very much developed to satisfy the demands of Taste members who could no longer make it to their former favourite on Sunday nighter, this new monthly Saturday night club quickly becoming an immediate success and from day one filling to capacity. The Fever philosophy of open minded and attitude free clubbing coupled with a very tight door policy ensured that only the best of Edinburgh’s party people would be allowed to enter the event which made for one of the friendliest atmospheres of any club in the city .Fever’s D.J. resident team know how to keep their crowd happy and the clubs success was undoubtedly due terrific talents & Edinburgh favourites Brian Fisher & Mark Prince, both famed for playing uplifting & accessible house in the main arena, while Jon Pleased Wimmin and Kaupuss sported an anything goes music policy in the basement. Fever remained an integral part of the Edinburgh club scene until January 2010 when host club Ego was forced to close its doors due to severe fire damage, although such has been the demand for its return, Fever was, in the nature of its name, feverishly organising a return, The Liquid Rooms refurbishment the opening it need & now the joining of forces with Lovechild, the icing on the club nights cake. More info on The Liquid Rooms can be found at http://liquidroom.com.
So, two Lovechild love in’s “From Fire To Fever” to fulfil your clubbing desires and whilst we won’t be heading north, as commitments here in the capital will stop us travelling with the Lovechild team, we will be down at Fire this Saturday, so if you see us out, come say hi, but regardless, make Lovechild “Super Lovers” a date & ensure you “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)
When the seeds were first sown on a specialist evening of entertainment, combining clubbing with clobbering, we took it all in with a pinch of salt, the thought of a proper boxing ring with proper boxers brawling, not quite our cup of tea, although the pseudo match-up of muscle mary’s that was pulled off in superb style by Matinee at Fabric three years ago, proved a real hit with the crowd, even if the marauds of dancers left the structure in a semi collapsed state. However, for lots of people the sight of a boxing ring & good looking guys bashing seven bells out of each other is quite a turn on and then when you add in elements of dance & clubbing cavorting, the concept, on paper at least, looks like a sure-fire winner, if a little different from the norm. So, with vision for this very unique combination becoming a reality, Pink Collar Boxing Meets Lovechild was set in stone and the planning wheels were set in motion, Scala in Kings Cross the venue and Friday 15th April the date.
So what exactly will Pink Collar Boxing Meets Lovechild be offering? And what can you expect from Europe’s first ever gay boxing/clubbing event in Europe? Well, first and foremost probably one of the most testosterone boosted & audacious atmospheres of any clubbing event to hit the capital, the combination of sport, music & dancing a rapturous recipe for enthralling entertainment, whatever your passion and with the backing of one of London’s most successful club promoters along with one of the best exponents of the “White Collar Boxing” industry will ensure that he night will be both well organised & thrilling to all the senses. Now we can hear you say, what is white collar boxing/ Well, it is a sporting phenomenon that was born a number of years ago in the USA, developed to allow those everyday men & women from regular walks of life to pursue their passion for properly staged boxing matches but without the rigors of the professional game or the intensity of the amateur circuit, fit people of any age simply stepping into the ring, following their pastime dream and then returning t their desk job the following day, minds, bodies & souls intact, hence the phrase “White Collar Boxing”, get it?!
With that explanation over it should now be a little clearer as to the boxing element, as we mentioned, a safe and relatively secure environment for gay men in this case to play out their passion, this element of the event being masterminded by the king of White Collar Boxing in London, Dermot Mannion, who will be masterminding the whole showcase in the ring, which will be headlined by actor come boxing fan, Ricky Sinz (great name!) who will be flying in direct from the U.S.A. for this event, although, as the title suggests, this is pink not white boxing, so the show will be complimented by not so much hardnosed fighters, but brave young boys that fancy a go at this so called noble sport. So, squaring up in the ring will be a number of contestants, including Scott Roberts of Gaydar Radio & Pat Cash (thought he was a tennis player) from QX Magazine, both relative novices, although very much up for some boxing bravado, while the boxing will only form part of the overall entertainment package, as in between rounds, three top male models will be parading the ring to provide suitable eye candy, while the candy of the music variety will be provided by our very own foxy lady, Mis-White, serving up plenty of uplifting & heavenly house to spruce up the shows for sure.
When the boxing is over, Lovechild will take over, as into the lion’s den of the boxing ring will come hard hitting D.J. residents Alessandro Londra & Nick Wolanski, to true exponents of tough tech fuelled house that will be oozing their own type of testosterone, though their music selections, both having played for Lovechild on a number of occasions, Alessandro still smarting from nailing the recent European Gay Ski week event for the brand, compliments flying in that he played the set of the week, while US born & all around tough guy Nick Wolanski has both the looks & the musical armoury to befit this boxing bash. And as a fore-taste of what these two terrific talents will be treating you to, go check out their latest podcasts, Alessandro’s pressed” just two weeks ago, “Dope” a tech house triumph and available for download by going to http://djalessandrolondra.podomatic.com, while Nick’s Lovechild offering goes back a little further, although is still as fresh as when it was produced & still available at http://lovechildclub.podomatic.com/entry/2010-07-22T09_52_52-07_00. Then, playing a select slot will be one of Lovechild’s shining stars, Tony English fitting in a 30 minute masterpiece at this boxing come clubbing colossus, he also steering the superb show from prolific P.A. Lizzie Jane France, who like Alessandro completely wowed the audience in Alpe D’Huz a couple of weeks ago and will come armed to pack a punch with her vocal hit “The Answer”, among a handful of others that include her own twist on the new “Lovechild” anthem, as well as a gaggle of gorgeous gogo’s gyrating gallantly.
Right, lets get down to some of the detail and this Pink Boxing Meets Lovechild event kicks off at an early ding dong bell round of 8.30 p.m., the boxing taking the first slot of the evening at Scala with eight matches scheduled, then handing over to Lovechild from 11 p.m. until a planned 3 a.m. finish. Advance tickets are still on sale, although due to the various installations, are limited and all early bird £10 ones have been sold. However, fear not as £15 options are still available, which you can grab online at http://ticketweb.com or via outlets Prowler, Clone Zone & 50 (formerly DV8), with a very limited handful of tickets on the door, priced at £20, while the team will be dishing out special discount entries to A;M for those that want to continue packing a punch into Saturday morning. With the models for the night being supplied by Dee Crooks of Fierce Casting Co, more information on this extra-special event can be found by gong to http://alexerfan.com.
So, whether you’re into boxing or not, the night definitely has a lot to offer, not least with the involment of Lovechild that will definitely add stack loads of clubbing spice to this specialist evening and with it set to be the talk of town, we will be there to see if it walks the walk and reckon you should be too, leaving us to simply say, “Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)
Across a scene that is scattered with successful clubbing brands, some more successful than others, there are a mere handful that reach the high five status of our favourites list (yes we do have favourites), Lovechild being one such brand that has not only attracted attention from us since it cut its first stride in the capital just over two years ago, but of all the remaining Saturday night sessions (and there aren’t many), it seems to do it for us more than any other and that includes SuperMartXe. Yet, while we had a great time at the birthday party a month ago, resident D.J. Brent Nicholls stealing the show with a storming set in host venue Fire’s mirrorarch room, there seemed to something a little lacking. Then, when news came through that the planned tour of South Africa by this loveable brand of promoter Alex Erfan, a tour to coincide with our trip to the southern hemisphere, was cancelled, our love affair with Lovechild seemed to be falling off the rails. However, with a one-off move to Area for their latest event, we returned to London with much excitement & anticipation of a re-kindled relationship plus with expectation of an exceptional event in one of our favourite capital clubbing venues. The question is, did that rekindling materialise and how did Lovechild fair in its temporary new home?
If we had been less well prepared for a clubbing outing, it was this one, the Lovechild “Presents Muscle” team having gone to press on the detail while we were out of the country, so trying to hit the ground running after a three week vacation in unforgettable & sunny South Africa was always going to be a hard task. In attempting to get up to spped in advance of our arrival, it seemed that Lovechild’s latest incarnation, “Muscle” (have they done this before?1?) appeared to be a last minute shift from its latest & recognised home Fire, to sister club Area. And this witch was to prove a notable nemesis, not least as right from the off, everything felt a bit on the back foot, none of the familiar faces at the door, although that said we joined a considerable queue that didn’t really look as though it was moving, perhaps another inkling to the confusion around. So, a quick call to promoter Alex Erfan saw us fished out of the line and straight into the club, although not before engaging with the ever calm & professional Simon Patrick, a welcome familiar face & reassurance that the organisation wouldn’t be quite as bad as we were dreading.
Inside and with our coats safely stored away, we were into the first of three rooms, two of which were open and attracting plenty of attention, the Terrace space sporting superb new star, D.J. Savin, spinning some serious sounds, a mixture of uplifting beats & more tech toned tunes that had the place pumping. However, bumping into pals Roni & Danny detracted us from dancing for a few moments, as we headed to the bar & straight into a confrontation with a bar team member, who seemingly was refusing to accept any of our complimentary drinks ticket vouchers, not that we were too fused as we would have quite happily paid hard cash, although this individual seemed to make such a deal of it, only a radio message from Simon Patrick was enough to sort it. So, with Roni twitching, Danny already over it and we intent on getting some serious dancing in, it was the second room where we headed, this space known as The Chapel room in Beyond set up, in the hands of D.J. Marco Gee a talent we had not come across before, indeed didn’t recognise. Mind you we did recognise Tom Marchant, Nick Tcherniak’s other half, who was in the company of another cutie, the young man immediately seeking, grabbing & clutching to our attention.
But we digress from the task in hand (head in our pants again!), the task being some serious dancing and the cause being of a show stopping set from the new to Lovechild, Marco Gee, who had The Chapel Room (yes we know that’s a Beyond phrase!) packed & pumping with a glorious collection of new tunes & older tracks rehashed (very vogue!), he looking right at home with his lot and as though he had been playing for Alex’s club for ages. Indeed his neat selections between new, old, re-modelled & re-made hit complete resonance with the cavorting crowd, some atop of the podiums in partying delight, while others like us were happy to spin in serenade to his superb sounds. And the experience was made all the more pleasant by the company of his Marco’s boyf & Tom Marchant, the excitement only getting better when the man, Nick Tcherniak, arrived, which always spells trouble if not plenty of hilarity. So, he wasn’t going to disappoint in this respect, remarking “oh I get the theme, Muscle, now”, as we starred at testosterone & steroid pumped men who had now assumed their starring spots on the podiums, this innocent remark reducing us to fits of laughter which then laid siege, Nick equally hilariously remarking, “…right I’m off!…”, a line that was to feature with each & every encounter between us thereafter.
But we were keen to see exactly how Lovechild would fit into the hallowed turf that is Area’s main room, a space that is usual preserved in our minds for the brilliance of Beyond, even trips to Onyx not feeling quite the same. And interestingly, it was this main space that was the last of the three rooms for Lovechild to open, rather than the other way round, incumbent D.J., the cute & cuddly Phil Hewson, keen to prove his worth in his debut in this special space. So, as he took to the decks and the party people began to pour in, there was a sense that Lovechild would fit here, although when we assumed our spot (you know the one left of the D.J. booth), somehow it just didn’t feel right. Not only did the lighting feel a little lack-lustre, the production was quite minimal and the effects pretty nonexistent, no pyrotechnics to speak of and certainly none of that amazing atmosphere that Area is most renowned for.
So, with Phil doing his best and actually pulling out a reasonably credible performance, it was now down to P.A. for this “Muscle” inspired event to take up the mantle & ring out some rapture from the crowd, Lizzie it has to be said, one of the most prolific P.A.’s we know, certainly the best we have seen at Lovechild and throughout last year, second only to the phenomenal Peyton, who completely wowed us at WE. But as good as Miss France’s performance was, her three song show including the new hit by Tom Marchant (yes Mr Tcherniak’s boyf!), it wasn’t great, partly due to the strange inclusion of a male vocalist for the first part of the first song, then a less than spot on sound & mic system that required Lizzie to pull out every inch of her professionalism & skill to seam the cracks, leaving the half full room a little bamboozled with all this being in Area rather than Fire.
That said, with the show over, D.J. Mattias then assumed the decks and took the party to a new dimension, mixing progressive beats with uplifting tones, a two hour set that ended up being three & a half, but may goodness what a 3 ½ they were, the man pulling out some real corkers and clearly revelling in it all. And, re-assuming our spot, having waved farewell to Tom & Nick, Mr T this time able to say with real conviction “…right, I’m off!…”, we actually began to find our stride and slot into our comfort zone, perhaps in the knowledge that the blending into Beyond was very much upon us. Indeed with the other two rooms being given over to this awesome afterhours, the remaining Lovechilder’s were shepherded into Area’s main space, for once in the whole evening elevating the atmosphere to something near we have come to expect from the brand, Mattias continuing to entertain us right up to the arrival of superstar Steve Pitron, which very much signalled goodbye Lovechild, hello Beyond.
So, what did we think of this Lovechild “Muscle” event and the switch to Area? Well, it probably seems quite evident that it all seemed a bit strange, not just to the brand’s clubbing customers, but to the organisers themselves. What on paper looked like a marriage in heaven, ended up being an engagement that was broken off before it started. Yes there were some highlights, Marco gee’s superb set in The Chapel room, Mattias’s magnificent music in the main room and, naturally, the company we held, Nick and his “…right I’m off…” line really making our night. However, when you consider that Lovechild was not only competing with Megawoof, who had their now usual slot in Fire, but a private party also in Fire, these two events surely taking custom away from Alex & his team. But add in the amount of people that pitched to Fire in expectation of Lovechild being there and the result was confusion & ultimately a muddled meet, somewhat leaving us in our own muddle as to how Lovechild will move on from this, we suspect fine, especially given Mr Erfan’s influence & experience, so, naturally, we will be looking on with interest. (DISCO MATT)
Welcome to the latest edition in our increasingly popular series, where we take a bite sized look at club experiences fresh in our minds, in advance of the full length review, this time we going to print as rapidly as possible on Lovechild’s latest party, which we think has marked a tide change in the brands positioning in the capital, why?, well…..
Trying to hit the ground running after a three week vacation in unforgettable & sunny South Africa was always going to be a hard task and it seemed that Lovechild’s latest incarnation, “Muscle”, would, in the seemingly last minute shift from its latest & recognised home Fire to sister club Area, would prove a notable nemesis, not least as right from the off, everything felt a bit on the back foot. But in true Disco Matt style, we made the most of a muddled meet, taking advantage of a show stopping set from the new to Lovechild, Marco Gee, who had The Chapel Room (yes we know that’s a Beyond phrase!) packed & pumping with a glorious collection of new tunes & older tracks rehashed (very vogue!). And the experience was made all the more pleasant by the company of his boyf & by another D.J’s boyf, namely Tom Marchant, the excitement only getting better when the man, Nick Tcherniak, arrived, which always spells trouble if not plenty of hilarity. So, he wasn’t going to disappoint in this respect, remarking “oh I get the theme, Muscle, now”, as we starred at testosterone & steroid pumped men on the podiums, this innocent remark reducing us to fits of laughter which then laid siege for the rest of the night. But, hilarity aside, there was nothing much else to smile about, as the main room opened late, Lizzie France’s PA performance was good but not great, and it seemed everyone was a bit bamboozled with being in Area rather than Fire. That said, Mattias ended the night in superb style, although by this time, it was Beyond & not Lovechild that was stealing the limelight. Competing with Megawoof & a free party, both at Fire, was “Muscle’s” biggest obstacle and one that was never going to shift, so with much more to say its “Ready Steady Go For The Review”. (DISCO MATT)
Ever since we first dipped our toe into the international clubbing arena, toe being the optimum word, as it was the Supersized Pool Party in Paris where we did our first bit of international dipping, we have been yearning to fill our clubbing calendar with trips away from London to pastures new. Indeed, brilliant Berlin was to prove one of our most enchanting experiences of the year, capturing not just Hustlaball & Salvation, brands that we have been used to back here in the capital, but also jumped at the opportunity to take in a slice of the breathtaking Berghain. However, as good as both excursions to the German & the French capitals were, it was our Christmas cavorting with the Lovechild crew that was to top our year of outings, Antwerp proving to be the jewel in our crown of clubbing trips abroad. But hang on, this is sounding more like a yearly round up rather than a reflection of our latest trip, one that we had been so looking forward to since the date was announced back in September and a journey that was to prove both emotionally enthralling & enlightening.
Now, there is no surprise that Lovechild has been very much one of the biggest success stories of 2010, as not only has it survived the struggling Saturday market back in blighty, but is has well & truly thrived internationally, a whole string of superb showings at destinations that have included Amsterdam, Cologne, Istanbul, Paris, Rome and even Johannesburg & Sydney. However, probably its biggest bash & success was when it joined forces with the might of La Demence on their anniversary weekend, touching down on Antwerp’s Red & Blue club, presenting a special “Gods & Monsters” event which was a sell-out smash, reports coming in after the event that coach loads of people were still arriving at 4 a.m., a staggering five hours after the club had opened, to get a slice of this outrageously extravagant outing. So, with such as success on their hands, it was no surprise that the team from Red & Blue wanted Alex Erfan & his loveable team back for more, choosing Christmas Day as the next event in the emerging affair between Lovechild & Antwerp.
It is fair to say that Christmas now rarely gets us excited, we much preferring New Year as the time to act like we are still a child (well that’s stretching it a little), maybe more like a teenager (even that’s pushing it!) although this year was going to be oh so different as the day arrived with alarming speed and we found our early wakeup call speeding us across (under in fact) the channel to a snow swept Belgium and our rendezvous with Red & Blue, in the captivating company Lovechild’s head poncho Alex Efan and a supporting cast of D.J. Alessandro, host Chrissy Darling, P.A. Lizzie France & stage showsters Bruno Knight & Ben Brown. And with our best Christmas in recent memory already signed sealed & delivered by amazing Antwerp, not least by a welcome in our hotel that surpassed any we had experienced, we found ourselves at Red & Blue’s doors with our Lovechild lot, all ready to prepare for what we later discovered was the clubs first ever Christmas Day event, expectations suitably muted and being echoed by the chilly climate & sporadic snow showers outside, although nothing was going to dampen our spirits on Schipperskapelstraat.
Arriving early as we did, allowed us to take a look around the venue, a very smart and clean affair compared to compatriot clubs back in London, the bare brick wails giving the place a sophisticated feel, as were the modern industrial touches against the luminous lighting & traditional furnishings, all making for one of the most impressive interiors we had seen for a long time, the addition seasonal touches including a three massive Christmas trees suitably positioned for maximum effect, while the already luminous lighting was made even more breathtaking by a dangling display of neon blue lit streamers that made an sparkling statement. And with our first impressions box filled with a massive tick (a trademark of this whole weekend), resident D.J. Ruben Winters arrived to whisk us away for a chat & catch up, leaving the Lovechild lot to prepare for this very special Christmas cracker, while we took the chance to delve deeper on Ruben’s D.J.’ing in the comfortable surroundings of a local bar, before heading back to the lure of Lovechild. Despite expectations of a tepid turnout, the club had actually filled considerably by the early hour of midnight, we finding position at the top bar with Mr. Winters, having dropped our bits & bobs off in the dressing room & catching a moment with Alex, Chrissy & co. From our vantage point with Ruben, we could survey the territory in front of us, the dancefloor already pulsating with party heads, some even up on the stage & podiums, relishing the renditions of heavenly house music from resident D.J. Elof De Neve, we even getting to meet the man in motion behind the decks, Alex giving us an introduction to this charming chap & his crew.
Now we were keen to make the most of this Lovechild affair with Antwerp at Red & Blue, testing out a few spots on the dancefloor before settling on one that fitted the best, although on this occasion to the right rather than spookily was just shy of the D.J. booth on the right as opposed to our usual left, this position giving us a perfect view of the stage & the superb Red & Blue sign that dominated the space, as well as the bank of screens around, spotted by a simple swivel of the head. And it was here where we took in the full extent of not one, two or three, but five sparkling showings by the Lovechild cast of performers, first the delectable go-go dancers, centre-pieced by Bruno & Ben, both dressed to the high pins in suits that would later be stripped off to the delight of the amorous audience, then by host Chrissy Darling, sporting her colossal costume headpiece that has so become her trademark and finally by D.J. Alessandro assuming centre stage behind a smart set of decks balanced atop two massive modelled hands that made a superb statement of their own, the icing on the Lovechild “Christmas Party” cake being the arrival of prolific P.A. Lizzie French, who immediately captivated the crowd with her presence, pounding out a succession of dance tune smashes, including her very own “The Answer” EP release.
With the party in full swing and we having very much found our stride with the magnificent music from by Elof & Ale, mixes of euro-style and tech house beats blended in with uplifting & espaniol vocal master-pieces had us spinning in a dancing dervish just as though we were back in Beyond, the glances from fellow Red & Blue frolickers testament to some of the attention we were attracting with our audacious antics. But our night was only going to go from strength to strength with more introductions to folk from both Alex & Bruno, then, as we headed to the bar for refreshments, being caught by surprise by the small but perfectly formed & beaming Lesley, who had made our welcome in Antwerp so wonderful just a day before, was our cake icing. So, with a gracious return to his hospitality in hand, we spent some special moments with our angelic aide before duty called with a return to our spot to soak up the stream of shows & mesmeric music, which included Mr Knight’s angle grinding display, Lesley even joining us in our escapades for a short while, before retreating to the comfort of his own preferred spot (see we all have them!). Mind you he missed out in the continual plumes of snow & ticker tape that added to the amazing atmosphere, ice cannon blasts keeping the heat down but the party pace up, Chrissy adding her own cannon catapults from the stage to the delight of the dancefloor dudes below.
Such was the extent of our enjoyment, we were now firmly in clubbing overdrive, having very much over indulged in lots of ways, although we really wanted to savour all that Ruben Winters could deliver from his set, we doing our best to hold station for his showing, following the final curtain call from the Lovechild lot, who all assumed the stage for their spectacular serenade by Lizzie France. However, with this curtain call done, so were we, the extent our devotions turned to another, as we attempted to rally the troupes to join us in some magical minutes with Mr Middleton, we trying to grab Ruben’s attention before withdrawing from our spot to be by Lesley’s side. With Alex joining us for a moment, the others were obviously exhausted from their own outrageous escapades, not least Chrissy who had made a connection of her own with the cute cameraman which certainly climaxed her evening exceptionally, as had ours been for reasons & company of our own. So, with this Red & Blue affair coming to a close, we waved goodbye to the splendours of Schipperskapelstraat to wend our way back to our hotel, still floating in the clouds of complete captivation for the amazement of Antwerp Lovechild style.
It isn’t often that the place & the people exceed those of the music & motion in a clubbing event which we visit, whether home or abroad, although with the resounding brilliance of Red & Blue as a venue along with the cosmically captivating company we held throughout the night, they pretty much did & certainly spoke for our volumes. Yes we were immensely impressed with the performances of resident D.J.’s Elof De Neve & Ruben Winters, indeed they would certainly find favour even with the pickiest of party people in London, the contrasting styles of the two working extremely well with the progressive style of the club and Alessandro sandwiching the two like butter to bread. However, as good as they were, as good were the spectacular showings by Bruno & his boys, as well as Chrissy’s cavorting, it was the crowd, the venue and the company that tipped our scales, a more obliging, a more mixed and a more welcoming bunch of beauties we couldn’t have asked for. And whilst the club was never packed, considering it was their first Christmas Day outing & that the weather clearly had taken its toll, both Lovechild and Red & Blue should be well pleased with the outcome, as we know we were. Plus to leave the club & the city with our heads dreamily in the clouds and, five days later, still struggling to pull our feet back to the ground, is an incredible indication of the impression made on us during our amorous amazement in Antwerp, meaning we will be back for more for sure. (DISCO MATT)
We wanted to take this opportunity of thanking the following people, without whom our Christmas in Antwerp would not have been the splendidly special time it was, each and every person making it a Christmas to remember for a very long time to come. The list is in no particular order but cannot be complete without one, who has made an indelible impression us. So to Alex Erfan, Alessandro Londra, Ben Brown, Bruno Knight, Chrissy London Darling, Elof De Neve, J.d. Cerronez, Lesley Middleton, Lizzie Jane France, Patrik Danser, & Ruben Winters, thank you one & all.
Plus, why not get a slice of Lovechild at Red & Blue through the specially commissioned mix by Alessandro London, available to download at http://djalessandrolondra.podomatic.com/ as well as Ruben Winter’s recording of his set live at this “Christmas Ball” event which is out now at http://soundcloud.com/d-jayme/red-n-blue-december-02
Casting our minds back to when we were twenty, finds us frolicking in the clubs in & around Johannesburg, our informative years having been spent in South Africa, but in moving to London when we did, signalled a real step change in the way we clubbed. And the music we listened to, the hi-nrg sounds of the eighties transforming to the hard house tunes of the nineties with one club shinning out over & above the rest as the real trendsetter in this respect. Plus, setting its stool on a Sunday morning was also very much an evolutionary step for the London scene, especially at a time when the only option after the mainstream clubs closed, were illegal raves for clubbers & cruising for others, this now legendary institution quickly establishing itself as THE place to be & be seen, the place being Turnmills & the club being Trade.
Since its launch back in 1990, Trade has assumed that legendary status with consummate ease, along the way bringing us larger than life character’s, not least its creator Laurence Malice, but also other including the amazing artist, known best as Trade Mark, as well as a host of D.J. talents from Malcolm Duffy, Alan Thompson, Steve (Janet) Thomas, Ian M, Pete Wardman, Gonzalo & who can ever forget, the late great Tony De Vit. And these main room D.J.’s really set the trend for the hard edged Sunday morning partying that went on at Turnmills throughout the 90’s, further enhancements including the introduction of the Trade lite lounge, spurning greats like Guy Williams, The Sharp Boys & Fat Tony, while the post weekly Turnmills years have seen the brand choose venues like The Renaissance Rooms, Colosseum, Area, Fire, Egg, & MOS to lay its specialist night hat, never failing to celebrate its birthday in style somewhere, the most memorable of late being the 18th, which was held at The Arches in Southwark. So, celebrating Trade’s 20th birthday was a given and in returning it the place of those memories of two years ago seemed an incredibly popular move, but how did this landmark anniversary in the clubs history turn out? and what were our huge highlights?
With the anticipation for this 20th birthday building to a crescendo, we found ourselves in a lengthy queue at Arcadia’s (formerly The Arches) doors at not long turned 5.30 a.m., the fevered frenzy feel that used to grip us back in the days of Turnmills back with fervent, our hearts tripping a beat as we patiently waited for our turn to be checked in by the extremely overzealous security on the entrance. Mind you, given the incidents at the 18th birthday, it came as no surprise that the checks were somewhat over the top, clearly slowing the process down, as was the woefully undermanned coat check system once we were inside Arcadia’s walls. However, as with those heady days back in the 90’s, we quickly learnt patience needed to be the order of the day, this being rewarded by our release into the club with fellow Trade party goer Benoit, to grab refreshments at the busy main bar, having already in this short time, caught up with a score or more of familiar faces.
Main room bound, we were keen to check on exactly what the D.J. line up would be, the first room by the entrance already having been laid aside for Gabriele Cutrano to warm the crowd into proceedings, we finding the delectable Per QX opening, not necessarily the start we had expected, the usual form of Malcolm Duffy mysteriously absent. However, we quickly warmed to Per’s electro twisted beats, the main room already filled to brimming, even at this early hour, an indication that this commemorative Trade outing was the lions share choice over any other. Establishing our spot, strangely nowhere near the D.J. booth for a change, we soon bumped into yet more friends & faces from clubbing years past & present, Chris Brogan & co lapping up the building main room atmosphere, even old Trade babies Glen & Maz, two iconic individuals from our years in Turnmills, very much in the thick of the developing action, the Arcadia main room having the closest feel to the former Farringdon home we have experienced. And looking around, the team had certainly gone to extra effort to make it feel as much like Trade & Turnmills as possible, the walls blazoned with Trade Mark artwork, classic trade production hanging from the ceilings & just enough laser lighting to give it that truly decadent & rave house feel that we had so loved back in the club’s heydays.
But, we were keen to investigate further & with the other spaces opening, we ventured forth, first checking out the classic room which was about to get going, then the space opposite, interestingly set aside as a darkroom, and eventually finding our way down to the lite lounge where Circus resident Kris Di Angelis was setting the scene with some sordid sounds. Bounding up to say hello, he seemed as pleased to see us, as we him, our encounter temporarily putting him off his stroke, although it wasn’t long before he was back in the groove & stirring up a storm of terrific tunes to tantalise, so, having found our feet across the expanse of the venue, we headed back into the main room where Nick Tcherniak had taken over the decks duty. Finding favour with each & every track selection, his set slowly built from the more melodic classic Trade sounds through to energetic hard hitting house that had us spinning in a dervish in our spot towards the back of the dancefloor, yet with the space now rammed with party heads, we struggled to find room to dance extravagantly as we had so been used to doing both in the Trade of old & the Beyond of new, eventually finding a spot to swing our pants & settle into his set.
So good was Nick’s music, especially when he pulled out & played the fabulous “My People”, we were in absolute heaven & loving every minute of his magical mixing, our pal Benoit struggling to find his own pace with the tough edged tech sounds, but so many old Trade faces lapping up this 20th birthday bash with gusto. Then, as if Nick had been brilliant enough, up stepped recording partner & Trade original resident Steve Thomas (known affectionately as Janet) upped the ante with an octane fuelled string of sounds that well & truly set the room alight, closing our eyes for moments of his magnificent music, transporting us right back to the 90’s & those tremendous times at Turnmills in his hands. So superb were the sounds & so amazing the atmosphere, we were now going absolutely nowhere, even the massive screen in front of the D.J. booth firing up & displaying iconic Trade visuals to add to the incredible laser lighting & other effects that were giving this main space at Arcadia a fantastic Trade-esque feel.
Now the place was swarming, our extravert moves on the dancefloor only rarely traded for refreshment & relieving stops, the whole venue a veritable feast of eclectic & euphoric Trade followers, very much a who’s who of clubbing and clearly the only place to be on this final day of October 2010. And with the morning hardly half way through, there was so much in store, not only from a prolific PA performance from Lizzie France, who, to our delight, ascended the main room podium right next to us to belt out the Tcherniak & Thomas collaborative EP hit “The Answer”, but didn’t stop there, treating us to three other tracks, before making her leave & handing the controls of this colossal commemoration to Trade over to none other than Pagano. In an instant, this disc spinning maestro had the room in his grip, switching the feel, pace & direction delightfully, swarms of Pagano followers surging forward towards the D.J. booth to soak up his sounds, while the podiums were topped with Logan’s muscle-bound go-go dancers to give this Trade party a distinctive edge.
With the heat of the main room beginning to bite and our pal Benoit in need of some lighter edged music, not to mention a truck load of messages on our phone from a sadly missed & absent D.J. friend, we headed into the lite lounge where Fat Tony had taken charge, flanked by the vivacious vocalist Tonnic, ready to take the space by storm. And that they did, the room a wall to wall sea of bare chested bodied man hunks & glorious girls, all intent on non-stop dancing to Tony’s towering tracks, while, like in the main room before, we quickly found our feet re-tuning ourselves to this more uplifting & accessible musical magic, this time positioning ourselves in our favoured spot, yes you guessed it, just left of the D.J. booth, fighting off the perspiration & heat of this lite lounge love-in, as Tonnic delightfully added her vocal infusions to the scintillating sounds been selected. Now Benoit was in his own heaven, the feel more akin to Beyond than Trade, although we knew exactly where we were, memories of two years ago flooding back in our minds, only the stifling heat stopping us in our tracks in favour of respite out on the rain soaked smoking terrace and the occasional dive into the main room.
With morning turning to afternoon & the a list crowd showing no signs of dissipating, we continued to savour the delights of this awesome Trade anniversary, the lite lounge finding favour over the other spaces, many familiar faces also finding their way there, we catching up with the pals Michelle Thornber, Clayton Wright, Tom Marchant, Clington Forbes, Tamsin Roberts, Joel Thomson, Guy Williams & many more, all soaking up the lite lounge sounds, even bumping into yet more faces old & new. Plus, catch up moments out in the terrace, including those with Simon Patrick & Pagano himself, matched by earlier liaisons with Per QX, Lee Yeomans, Mauricio Ortiz, Paul Weller, Adam Barr, Gabriele Cutrano, Ross Patterson & Hassan Hatoum, to mention just a few (we can’t leave out Glen & Maz of course), meant that this party was living up to its billing as not the place to be but the gAylist place to be. Indeed, the constant wave of people either saying their hello’s to us as Matt or as Disco Matt, some recognising us from recent times, others from the past, all combined to make this one of the more memorable events in our clubbing year thus far.
But, as truly terrific this Trade birthday bash was, our decadent delighting had to come to an end, the stifling heat in the lite lounge having drained us of most if not all of our energy, an upsetting encounter in the main room sealing our departure fate, not to nicest end to this prolific party that we had wanted, although the mound of mesmeric minutes we have experienced throughout our nine hour marathon far outweighing this unfortunate end to our day. So, waving farewell to Arcadia & Trade, we sauntered into the West End to recharge our batteries & gather ourselves for the next instalment in our weekend of wonderment at DTPM’s “Eastbenders” bash, yet still full of tremendous moments of Trade magic etched on our mind & in our soul that would mean it would be hours before the euphoria of this epic encounter with the mother of all clubbing brands wear off.
Trade, having dominated our lives throughout the nineties, can be held solely responsible for shaping our clubbing world. Yes there have been so truly ground breaking clubs since that have & still form a major part of our lives, the iconic Crash being one & Beyond undoubtedly the other. Yet, as much as Trade is now only an occasional outing, it still holds all that magic it did back in those heady days of Turnmills. And with its 20th birthday bash, the brand proved that it remains just as decadent, just as debaucherous & just as delightful as it always was. Whilst Arcadia did prove a brilliant host venue, the heat of both the main room & the lite lounge was sometimes too much to bear, plus the overzealous security did put a dampener on the party for some, reports coming in of sporadic checks for no reason, an unfortunate result of issues from two years before, added to the fact that the place was a little on the dirty side for others.
However, that said, Trade’s 20th lived up to our expectations & more, real highlights coming in the shape of scintillating sets from Nick Tchernaik, Steve Thomas & Fat Tony, even the vocal infusions from Lizzie France, Tonnic & friend, adding extra spice to an already enormous event that has to go down as another titanic Trade triumph. But, all the highlights aside, what really made the party were the people, a magnificent mix of old faces & new, all intent on having the best time possible & making the most of this mesmeric mash up as only Trade & a handful of other parties can achieve. Plus, the news that Laurence’s brand will be back for more on a regular basis, should sufficiently shake up the scene & give it the injection of energy it needs, leaving us to raise our glass to Trade & its Tremendous Twenty Turn and may we wish it plenty more. (DISCO MATT)
Having just reflected on the massive club brand Trade, which celebrates its 20th birthday this weekend, if there is another club that sits in a similar bracket to Laurence Malice’s creation, then it is D.T.P.M., the Sunday afternoon event that started life back in the 1990’s at the fabulous Villa Stefano’s in Holborn (who can forget those infamous buffets), very much being the next clubbing port of call after frolicking in Farringdon. Indeed D.T.P.M. itself made it round to this mid-town area, having seen moves to Shaftesbury Ave & The End, before resting its laurels on massive venue Fabric, which saw some of its most successful times, shifting the timing from afternoon to evening & eventually running deep into Monday morning. But, unlike Trade, DT (as many affectionately call it) called it a day a couple of years ago, stopping at the height of its success but leaving a serious gap in the Sunday clubbing market.
But, as they say, you can’t keep a good thing down and DTPM was back with a bang last October, taking to the dizzy heights of Paramount for a re-launch that went like a dream, the team following it up with a NYD bash over at The Roof gardens in Kensington, clearly the lofty intentions of the club very much the pattern. But coming back down to earth with nearly as much of a bang on Valentine’s Day, saw this superb Sunday smash land on the posh Jalouse in Mayfair, much of the ingredients that made the previous parties so successful present, but something slightly lacking. However, after a well deserved break during the spring, it was summer were hope sprung eternal for DT, as not only did they take Brighton by storm, but followed that up with a return to Paramount, where “The Bitch Is Back” had made such an impact just a few months before.
So, with Halloween on out doorsteps & D.T.P.M. very much back in the frame, the team couldn’t have timed their latest party any better, as with Trade celebrating their 20th birthday & swinging into action on Sunday 31st October, DT promoter lee Freeman is very much looking to re-capture some of that original magic that made Sunday’s so special, D.T.P.M. “Eastbender” kicking off at the Sunday afternoon timing of 1 p.m., yes a couple of hours earlier than the original at Villa Stefano’s, but a Sunday afternoon nevertheless. And, to add to the excitement, the team have chosen host venue Cargo on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, a place that should suitably impress, as not only does it offer two rooms of dance & the feel of decadence yet with all the 21st century technology to deliver that delectable experience, but there is even a heated terrace area too. Further details of the venue can be found at http://cargo-london.com/.
As for “Eastebender itself, well Lee & his team have secured the services of some of their best resident D.J.’s as not only will Miguel Pellitero be making a welcome return, but Guy Williams will be back too, these two having made a considerable impact at Paramount last October., as will the one & only Fat Tony, But it doesn’t stop there as both Nick Tcherniak & Steve Thomas will be performing a special back-to-back set which will no doubt include their latest hits “My People” & “Deep Water”, both which have charted straight to number one on Juno’s download chart, as well as their brand new release “The Answer” which has the incredible vocals of Miss Lizzie France & will have had a first playing at Trade’s birthday, in advance of its official release this coming Monday (1st Nov). Then there will be the superb D.J. talents of Boy George to add into the mix, along with now regulars the House Husbands, the duo of Salvo & Mike getting their own EP say too, their “All Aboard” release receiving favour & heading up the Beatport charts, the guys giving us access to the link, which is well worth a look at https://www.beatport.com/en-US/html/content/track/catalog?contextEntityId=124591&contextName=Househusbands&contextType=artists&pageNumber=1&resultsPerPage=13#app=a40&a486-index=0 (wow, that’s a long link!). Add in further additions in the form of Dave Kendrick, who has been rocking the East End scene for quite a while now, especially at Guy Williams’ “Paradise 45” & other Dalston Superstore outings, as well as the massive “Macho City”, so will be a welcome addition adding the east into the bender that will be surely a beat-tastic DT party in the hands of all these gem D.J.’s.
Now to the all important detail and, not surprisingly, all the £13 early bird tickets sold out a while ago and we won’t even mention the “Hot Tickets” which were supported by sponsor, Manhunt, which were gone within hours of release. So, that kind of gives an indication of just how popular this party is likely to be, so best you get your skates on, or at least your browser burning and snap up an advance ticket at £15, which you can do via to direct link http://ticketweb.co.uk/user/?region=gb_london&query=detail&event=413549&interface, or failing that, run into Soho & grab yours by hand at either Prowler on Brewer St, or The Edge on Soho Square, or if you are close to the venue (Cargo), The Store Rooms on Pitfield St also have some on sale. As for tickets on the door, well yes there will be some available, but if you are leaving it to chance, don’t leave it till late, as we are sure there will be huge converges on Cargo from Trade. And those doors will be open from 1 p.m., DTPM’s “Eastbender” event running through until a respectable 10.30 p.m. close, Cargo found at 83 Rivington Street in Shoreditch (directions on their website).
So, with D.T.P.M. back where it belongs, looks like this Sunday afternoon affair is going to be a biggie, meaning that it’s time to ditch the Eastenders omnibus and rather head to Cargo for a full on “Eastbender” of an event, leaving us simply to say….Go There! Be There! (DISCO MATT)