Posts Tagged ‘Steven Sharp’
With much promise posed ahead of its “A New Beginning” event and with plenty of talk about Covert both championing change across the capitals clubbing circuit, was Saturday’s party the proof of the pudding in the eating, what was our verdict on this gigantic gathering and how much more did we learn about this clubbing change concept.
There can be little doubt that the clubbing scene in the capital, certainly as far as big style clubs are concerned, has very much been in the doldrums recently, the weekly, monthly & occasional event calendar being dominated by just one group & the usual set of brands. And will some view this as a good thing, the problem we have with it, particularly of late, as that feeling of same old same old, the same D.J.’s the same venues, the same faces, a regurgitated repetition that has, quite frankly become boring. Indeed the current sorry state of affairs has been a couple of years in the making, many competitor brands either pushed to the sidelines or pushed out of business entirely and with little in the way of replacements from the protagonists of this sordid situation, save for a Friday night clubbing concept that is wrong on so many fronts, we are left unenthused & unexcited about a pastime & activity that used to fill our weekends, wall to wall. Yet that said, while Vauxhall is clearly in the monotonous, same old, same old doldrums, there is plenty more happening, if but on a much smaller scale, a swing out to Shoreditch finding a hip & happening melting pot of parties, East Bloc the most dynamic deliverer, brands such as DISH, SOS, & Gutterslut drawing on clubbers from far & wide, proving that there is life beyond Albert Embankment & South Lambeth Walk.
However, in the eyes of clubbers, Vauxhall is still seen as their mecca, even if it is not quite the dynamic draw it was a few years ago, although with the likes of Colloseum & Hidden hardly used, it pretty much leaves just three full on club spaces, naturally the two Orange Nation ones, Fire & Area and Crash (now known as Union). But wait a minute, what about Covert we hear you say, a venue that used to trade under the name of Factory but was brought by a tight knot group of investors who, when re-constructing the site last April brought Orange Nation into the picture, the initial idea being to let them both manage the place & increase the clubbing offer & variety. Yet while the plans were all well & good in theory, with just one genuine addition in the form of Deelooded, in the short space of 10 months, Orange Nation let what was supposed to be a sophisticated & stylish club venue run down into rack & ruin, the planned works to finish the venue never materialising and, quite shockingly, the group reneging in financial & other promises, leaving the investors with little choice but to take Covert back under their control. But with much more happening in the background, it seems that these investors now have the bit between their teeth, with plans to the driving force behind the re-invigoration of the clubbing scene, both & Vauxhall & London as a whole, their first event to hail this marvellous movement, their “A New Beginning” event.
So with this exciting event and the prospect of something fresh, new & enticing on offer, despite health issues, we simply couldn’t miss this Covert cavort, not least that with a D.J. line-up extending deep into double figures, club promoters, scene figureheads & clubbing friends aplenty, it was one of those mustn’t miss meets, although with our planned arrival for the VIP reception thwarted by a deep disco dose, it was around 11.30 when we arrived, to be greeted on the door by a warming welcoming committee that included heavenly hostess Chrissy Darling, promoter Alex Erfan & Covert’s manager, the terrific Tom Fuller, he having wisely jumped from what we predict as a sinking Orange nation ship. However, on missing the reception, we had also missed Pier Morrocco’s set, although caught a moment with him before he sped off to XXL, we then quickly diving into the club to get out of the cold, a further warm greeting by Steven Sharp sealing what was a perfect start to this “A New Beginning” shindig. And with Steven giving us a guided tour, the upgrading & the finishing to the venue was clear to see, the shabbiness that Orange Nation had allowed to creep in, all but eradicated, noticeable differences including fabulous floor coverings in both the main room & the second space, new laser lighting, new ceiling coverings, a totally transformed upstairs area with sumptuous seating, but moreover the subtle touches to trimmings, bar fronts & the like making the place look finished & fantastic.
However, the most impressive transformation was in the second space, the D.J. booth having been moved downstairs, elevating the feel & the atmosphere amazingly and making it a dance room in its own right and it was here where we bumped into the first of a flock of familiar D.J. friends, Ben Jamin preparing for what turned out to be one of a whole host of superb sets in this space, this very much a bit of a home-coming for Ben, as it was he that was part of the Crash team towards the latter years and this Covert second space, for us, echoing the former quite noticeably. But the D.J. faces from the Crash days & Vauxhall both past & present extended to many more, Guy Williams, Brent Nicholls & Alan X three of a whole host of others, not just this his second space, but back in the main room too, a real brilliant blast from the past, Terry Bryan, pumping up the pace of the party perfectly. Indeed, with the initial slow trickle of arrivals ballooning before our eyes, given our delicate state of health, we retreated towards the safety of the bar area where we bumped into pals Peter & Fabio, our evening just getting better by the minute, the list of friendly & familiar faces lengthening with every passing moment, Dave Cross, Tom Marchant, Louise Port, Nicholas Montenegro, Paul Coals, Tony Bruno and, naturally, Tom Fuller, just a measure of exactly how refreshingly friendly this glorious gathering was turning out to be and certainly what our recent Vauxhall clubbing experiences had been missing.
But the night was still young and with Jamie Hammond in charge of the main room tunes now, we were looking forward to prolific performances from Lovechild’s own Tony English, he failing to disappoint with a sterling set, while with Paulo Moreno, Alan K, Fat Tony, The Oli & The Sharp Boys still to come, this Covert “A New Beginning Event” was certainly living up to its billing, the vast array of D.J. talent, some inextricably linked to that other Vauxhall based clubbing group, proof that Alan’s promise to give D.J.’s the opportunity to play when & where they want, was bearing fruit right before our eyes. So, sinking into the rest of our slightly shortened stay, we traded main room for second space, outside for in, spending some time catching up with Alex Erfan and talking about plans moving forward, both for Covert and for their wider scene plans, some so exciting that we are itching to share, although have been sworn to secrecy. We also took advantage of the upstairs space, joining Peter in resting & escaping what was now a packed & pulsating main room, Paulo Moreno delivering delectable doses of dance delight, while we traded health issue notes with peter who, it seemed, was also going through a tremendously tough time. That said, it was great to be out clubbing again, this our first foray in March and a better choice & place to mark what, given our personal circumstances, was quite a milestone, we couldn’t have made, although with our energy levels sapping & the comfort of home calling, we graced our exit not long after 4 a.m., leaving behind a club that was very much alive, kicking & looking great in every way, not even an ounce of enticement for us to visit our old Sunday morning stomping ground, a small measure of just how times are changing.
So you can pretty much guess what our verdict on “A New Beginning” will be, this very much the huge success that the team had hoped for, a slow(ish) start soon transforming into a truly tremendous turn, a party full of positives in every respect, from the atmosphere & ambiance to the finished feel of the venue, from the style & sophistication oozing from this smart multi faceted space to the amazing additions to equipment, fixtures & fittings and from the depth of D.J. talent, all coming together under one roof in support of this marvellous new clubbing movement, to the party people themselves, all who exuded an air of relaxed & enthralling enjoyment, we not having seen quite so many smiling faces in one club for a very long time. Add to all that, a real sense that the tide of clubbing change that had been promised in so many words, was swinging into action and we walked away from Covert happy with what we had seen, but with plenty of anticipation of what is to come, this event the first building block in a number that will surely build a solid foundation for Covert to them achieve its aims & aspirations beyond its own borders, all for the greater good of the capitals clubbing circuit. Indeed, with the wraps already being pulled off their new Friday night club “Foundation”, plus a new Saturday afternoon clubbing concept on the cusp of creation, there is already much to celebrate in terms of new brand blood, we hopeful that this will kick-start others into action, maybe even collaborating with Covert for the greater good of the capitals clubbing circuit, we raising a glass to Alan, Paulo, Alex, Tom, Steven & the whole team for showing the others how it should be done & what clubbing is all about. (DISCO MATT)
With a sense of real optimism that the competition crushing & clubbing monopolisation that has dominated the capitals clubbing circuit in the last handful of years, we are thrilled to bring you access to the first part of an exclusive interview with the man behind this exciting “A New Beginning” movement, a D.J. tuned club promoter and a man extolling enthusiasm for an inclusive London scene.
It will come as no surprise from our recent reports, “Finding Our Favour Faltering” & “Winds Of Clubbing Change” that, after having witnessed probably THE most damaging period to plague the capitals clubbing circuit, when competition crushing & monopolisation drove many of the edge of eventing and some out of business, we decided the time was right to speak out against the protagonists of this destructive & damaging tactics. So with our disgust for the The Orange group cat out of the bag and with an exciting new movement to sweep aside their bullying & domination, rather to restore the circuit to the diverse yet inclusive scene it always used to be, this movement coming from within Vauxhall itself, we have naturally decided to centre ourselves within this marvellous movement, the first of two special features this exclusive interview with the club & the man behind it all.
So, with the gloves off, without the political corrective ties of certain magazines and with an interviewee keen to set the recent destructive record straight, here is the first part of our no holds barred Disco Matters special feature interview with Covert’s co-owner & promoter Alan Adams, aka D.J. Alan K.
So, we know you well as a prominent D.J. on the capitals clubbing scene, but what got you into the club owing & promoting business?
I’ve always been one of the owners of Covert along with my friend & D.J. Paulo Moreno, as well as my cousins Raymond & David. As a collective, we bought the old Factory club and paid for all the renovation work to turn it into Covert. Both Paulo & I also do property development, which meant we could use our teams of builders and others to do the whole renovation in 10 weeks. As for being promoters, we are not, so have, as part of the clubbing change we are passionate about, have teamed up with some figure heads of the scene to create amazing parties where everybody is welcome.
You had quite strong ties with The Orange Group through the number of D.J. residencies you held with clubs such as A:M., Later, Gravity and, most notably Beyond, so was this significant in you going into business with them?
Well yes to be honest, personally I didn’t want to go into the clubbing business as everyone knows I announced my retirement a long while ago to focus on our property business but the clubbing and D.J.’ing was something Paulo had a lot of passion for he is in love with music, so he decided that he wanted to give the clubbing game a go so I went along with it to manage the build and finances.
Tell us about the working relationship you had with the group and particularly Craig Elder and how did deteriorate to the stage that you decided to stop D.J.’ing for them?
Craig was my friend of many years and I stood by him through thick and thin, as he did for me. I feel I achieved great things as a D.J. for him, I was a major Beyond resident at the height of the clubs success, every week packing out the main floor as well as representing the brand internationally. Plus, I also played at his other parties such as A.M., Gravity and numerous others he has promoted over the years. However, I decided to finish playing for the Orange Group because of personal issues.
We understand that the original business arrangement with Covert was that you & your businesses partners who provided the investment for the development of the venue, would allow Orange Nation to run the show& manage the club. In hindsight was this wise and what, in your opinion, went sour with this arrangement?
Yes the original agreement was we would pay for it and build it then hand it to the Orange Group to run. In return they would get 40% of the shares once the initial loan amount was paid off, In answer to what went sour it’s not something I’m comfortable talking about sorry the bottom line is we got back what belongs to us.
So we are right in saying that you have now taken Covert back under your control and Orange Nation are no longer involved, so what is the current set up and who are the key players within your team?
Yes we have taken Covert back under our control and the Orange Group are no longer involved. We are working with the likes of Alex Erfan, Wayne Shires, Tony English, Steven Sharp & Steven Geller in the events side of things, but the business as a whole is run by myself, Paulo, Tom Fuller and my cousins Raymond and David, with who we continue to also carry out property development & investment.
We have obviously been privy to some of the aims & achievements that you & your associates have for restoring the diversity yet inclusivity of the London gay scene, but can you expand a little on this for us?
Yes we want to bring as many club promoters together as we can and create a unity on the scene where everybody is free to work and not worry about constant fighting amongst each other. We feel this is long overdue and will benefit the scene massively, bringing back brands like SuperMartXe, Lovechild & Bear Necessity, while also trying to re-introduce international clubs to London, such as La Demence and Rapido. We are also going to be working closely with Wayne Shires this year for Summer Rites and hopefully by next year, grow bigger and bigger as an organisation but with togetherness. There is enough out there for everybody, but trying to dominate, as we have seen recently, you just make the scene smaller. If everyone works together, London will be a very special scene, so this is our overriding aim.
So it is clear that Alan, along with the whole Covert team really want t ring the clubbing changes for the good of the capital’s circuit & wider scene, tomorrow night’s event “A New Beginning” the start of much more exciting things to come from these championing clubbing changer overt collectives, while we will be bringing you the second part of this in-depth & revealing interview with Alan in the next few days. (DISCO MATT)
Shaking up the scene and championing clubbing change across the capitals circuit, we find Vauxhall’s Club Covert at the centre of this magnificent movement, so delve deep into the aims & achievements of this band of brotherly club owners, promoters & figure heads, both for this coming Saturday’s “A New Beginning” event and for the future bright blue with brilliance.
There can be no escaping the lacklustre and sometimes lousy state the scene here in London has found itself within over the last dozen or so months, the decimation of a whole bevy of big clubbing brands that have been effectively brushed aside by the greed & domiace of one particular clubbing conglomerate, that has send many promoters running for cover, scattering themselves to the edges of existence or simply upping sticks and moving onto pastures new. Moreover, the competition crushing, the dominance & the monopolisation of this greedy group has, in the course of what has proven a destructive downswing in what was always seen as the most richly diverse yet inclusive scene’s in the world, sucked many people into its practices, this period even seeing us fall for their seemingly good intentions to better the scene, bring new dynamic parties, international brands & exciting new concepts to the capital, have effectively imploded that very diversity & dynamism that was the admiration that was extolled on London by many corners of the continent & wider clubbing world. Yet, despite this doom & gloom picture we paint, there is a bright new movement that his looking to champion change, banish this bad egg practice and restore then scene to that rich & diverse yet inclusive one that has been so sorely missed in recent months.
So, who is at the centre of his marvellous movement in championing the change to clubbing in the capital? Well, ironically, it from within the very backyard of this greedy group that both a venue & club owner, promoter & scene figurehead collective that is the driving force behind what they are labelling as “A New Beginning” for clubbing, not just in Vauxhall but across the capital, Covert the club and this collective a terrific team from both within & outside of this latest superb clubbing spot in this one seen mecca & melting pot south London suburb on the scene. And as for the individuals, well this championing collective includes Covert’s co-owners, Alan Adams (aka D.J. Alan K) and his cousins, along with investor & business partner to Alan, one Paulo Moreno, while the team extends to promoters Alex Erfan, Steven Sharp & Steven Geller, who are all on board very much on board with this brave new beginning, while a long list of D.J.’s have sounded their support, not least that they are very much buying into the fairer pay and more open playing field that Alan & his Covert partners are proposing. But the wider team includes some major scene figure heads too, Tom Fuller (like Alex, Steven, Alan & Paulo) having formerly been associated & n the employ of Orange Nation, is now heading up the management of Covert, while scene starlet hostess, Chrissy Darling, is fronting the Covert house and, along with Tom and other peeps such as Mark McKenzie (aka Edna), makes for a terrific team of individuals who share the passion & desire to champion clubbing change in the capital.
With much promise along with ample aims & achievements that Alan is driving through his passion for the scene, it’s probably appropriate before we get into the detail of his & his clubbing collective plans, to spell out the situation with regard to Covert itself, a venue that was to be the third in the then expanding Orange Nation empire, one that at the time of its purchase from previous owners under the incarnation of Factory, was pitched as injecting further vitality & opportunity for variety in Vauxhall, but in the hands of the said group was rather run both shoddily & sloppily on a number of fronts. Indeed, having been privy to plans, having conducted a construction site visit back in April last year and having had a prolific picture for plans painted by Orange Nation’s Craig Elder, we were somewhat dismayed by what we found a few months later when we attended Deelooded, one of only a very small handful of Orange Nation supported brands that were residing within Covert, those plans very much to make the venue the cornerstone of the clubbing conglomerates plans to halt the so called ping pong effect of clubs between their other two venues. But more than that, with a clear sense that the venue, even nine months down the line, remained unfinished, that certain parts where looking shabby to say the least, was suffering from the lack of ongoing maintenance & re-investment from party profits that was promised, the writing looked very much on the wall that Covert’s owners, and we must stress that Orange Nation did not have a capital stake in Covert but were simply running the club, would wrestle back full management, not least due to some unscrupulous financial irregularities that came to light.
So, just eight months after handing Orange Nation the running reigns, Covert’s owners unilaterally seized back Covert lock, stock & barrel, this move very much contrary to the picture painted by both Orange Nation & its effective magazine rag Boyz, Alan particularly incensed by some of their unscrupulous activities and, like a lot of us, realising that the time was née to champion change, to put a halt to the domination & monopolisation that Orange Nation had engendered, but moreover to pay and award/reward workers, D.J.’s management & promoters connected with Covert in a fit & proper manner, something which had been severely lacking in the hands of its former management. And this change has quickly been the catalyst for the new beginning movement that is set to sweep both Covert & the wider scene from this coming Saturday (16th Mach) and beyond, the likes of Messrs Erfan & Sharp soon part of the process, while Alan, his cousins & Paulo have been very clear about how they want to champion the change they have been talking about so vocally. Indeed, with working relationships with others promoters across the scene, including Wayne Shires, Patrick Lilley and more, the words are being transformed into actions, although the building blocks for this phase of clubbing co-operation & change still need to be properly formed and this change they are championing may take time to bear considerable fruit, although the promise is both heartening & welcoming.
Well, it all begins with Covert’s “A New Beginning” event this Saturday, one we will be expanding on in our upcoming Weekend Focus Special, “Charitable Clubbing Champions”, but with the seeds on this marvellous movement sown, we leave you with a trailer teaser and welcome you all to be a part of the clubbing change that is set to sweep the capital in the coming weeks & months. (DISCO MATT)
While we make no secret that Beyond has become our favourite club of all-time, having wowed our world for over ten years now, recent developments have left us in dismay over some of the mixed messages that are marring its magnificence, while come Sunday (3rd Feb) all that will be brushed under the carpet as Beyond’s first big bash since NYD looks set to be a sell-out success, we reporting on then recommending this brand & it’s “Pervert” party.
Having devoted reports, features, recommendations & reviews to this brilliant brand, pretty much speaks for itself, while we have propelled related podcasts, music and the clubs resident D.J.’s on scores of occasions in our time, all an indication of the love and passion we have for this awesome afterhours (we use that word for good reason), as since day one back in 2001, we have been probably one of the biggest & longest lasting supporters, fans, fervent followers of this Sunday morning (also used for purpose) meet. Indeed, having formed friendships with flocks of D.J.’s, scene faces, scene workers and pure party people, this captivating club, for much of its history, stood for everything that was great about clubbing. From the Colloseum period, through to its current reign over Area (and no other brand or event feels the same here for us), a purple patch period between 2009 & 2011 chalking up tons of terrific turns, during 2012 and particularly in the last two to three months of the year, it seems to have lost some of its spark, So, our once weekly visits have become far less often and when we do make it down,, they are short & sweet (for some far too short), no one’s fault but ours, we just seem to be finding our favour faltering. But more than that, what was recognised from the off as a pure afterhours party, has shifted its timings as often as the wind changes direction, leaving us scratching our head as to what the promotions team are attempting to achieve.
Beyond, without doubt remains at the top of the capitals gay clubbing circuit pile, it having built on the solid foundation of its early years competing against Trade, quickly becoming THE place to go after the previous parties pale, this “all roads lead to” reputation played out virtually weekly, Area having proved the perfect venue for this awesome afterhours. And our clubbing memory banks are brimmed with magical moments, not least from the band of superstar resident D.J.’s that have graced the club’s decks over the years, The Oli, Jamie Head, Hifi Sean, Fat Tony & The Sharp Boys right up there as considerable contributors, while that purple patch period we talked about was pretty much dominated by Alan K, Mikey D & Steve Pitron, Alan always playing the final main room set, while Mikey & Steve would swap around, we & masses of other never getting tired of seeing the same trio week in, week out, it was monotonous, it was simply magically stunning to soak up their scintillating sets. And when you look at Trade for example, their main room line up hardly changed each week, Malcolm Duffy starting, Steve Thomas next then Alan Thompson, Ian M, Tony De Vit & Pete Wardman, while as a couple of the characters fell out their places were filled, but the D.J. format hardly ever fiddled with.
Yet in the last couple of years and in 2012 particularly, the Beyond powers that be have insisted on messing with the magic, introducing an effective rolling D.J. roster, while the year also saw Alan K finally throw in the towel, for reasons we won’t yet go into detail on, while poor Hifi Sean, who for us, was the epitome of everything the was charismatic & compelling about the chapel space, was ditched due to inter promoter politics. But the upheaval didn’t stop there, oh no, The Sharp Boys removed from the roster by the current promoter, they being told “…their music didn’t fit with Beyond…”, shocking in the extreme, especially when you take into consideration that they were playing the club in the Colloseum days and, with the exception of Steve Pitron, are (or is that were) the longest surviving residents. Indeed, talking of promoters, very much like the club timings, they have changed like the wind over the last three years, we’ve had Steven Sharp twice (the best in our opinion), Jonny Marsh, Mauricio Ortiz & most recently Ben Kaye, while as we go to press with this post, our ear to the ground information (not confirmed we must stress) is that Ben is due to be replaced by JJ Clark. And as for these “Midnight” parties, which in late 2012 & for nearly the whole of January became the norm, well they are the single most confounding contributor’s to the mixed messages that are marring the magnificence of Beyond, The Orange Group seemingly falling back on the brand to fill a gaping gap in their Saturday schedule, rather than launch a new night, a move that may perhaps re-emulate those heady & hypnotic days of Juicy & Horizon.
Yet, all that said, we feel that Beyond has been the savour of the nation of clubbing brands that make up Orange (Orange Nation – The Orange Group), as 2012 has seen virtually all of them falter, some more significantly than others. Onyx has all but disappeared & As One has gone into hibernation, CasaLatina seems to have ceased to be, while A:M has been subject to what we see as a muddled make-over affecting numbers, Orange a place on its prolific past. Even Gravity has seen a switch of venues, in effect downsizing form his former home Fire, Later’s “Nu Direction” promising, well until the promoter that made all the marvellous changes was, once again, sidelined, Beyond however remaining buoyant, often brimming, its popularity seemingly unblemished despite a distinct movement away from Vauxhall. So, as much as we have our own issues, one thing is for sure, this awesome (and it truly is) afterhours beats every other club we know in London & on the continent hands down, meaning that while we remain uneasy with recent developments, Beyond simply cannot escape our positive spin, our resounding recommendation and, more than anything else, our acknowledgement that, clubbing in the capital, when this brilliant brand is on fantastic form, doesn’t get any better. And we highlight suspect it will be at its best this weekend, when it entertains Matinee goers & many many more for sure, with its “Pervert” party.
So what can you expect from this spectacle? Well, we concur with the promoter, Ben Kaye, when he say’s “…this is biggest weekend on the gay scene calendar since NYD…” and given the explosion of events, Beyond looks like it will have rich pickings as there are at least three other big events apart from Matinee, that will no doubt converge on Area on Sunday morning, although with it being the official afterhours for the Spanish superclub’s latest London outing, Beyond sharing the “Pervert” pin for its party, so will probably also replicate some of the production & dancers from the Fire foray. However, the D.J. line-up is pure Beyond, the main room looking good (well great actually) as it seems the team may have sensed some of our discord, Steve Pitron & Mikey D appearing consecutively from 6 through till 10 a.m., while The Oli is back in the terrace too, the full line-up picture completed by Rob Sykes, David Jimenez, Maze & Masters and (sharp intake of breath) Anina. Plus, the promoter tells us that the team are “…welcoming back JJ Clark to Beyond, who you will be seeing a lot more of in the coming months…” perhaps deluding to what we said earlier, while a whole host of others, including James Marsh on the door & the amazing Altina Ha on VIP duty and new addition John Brooks who, following the sudden closure of Profile/Lo-Profile, switched swiftly and now seems to be involved in Gravity, Beyond, Later & A:M, while he has brought brand Society with him, one that launches in Area this very Sunday evening from 6 p.m. As for Beyond’s doors, well they open at 4 a.m. this Sunday (3rd Feb), advance tickets available online at https://orangenation.ticketabc.com/events/beyond-official-mati/ as well as at the usual Soho outlets, all at an inflation busting £10, while entry will be available on the door, but expect to pay more, further info available via https://facebook.com/beyondclub and on the events page at https://facebook.com/events/203328906476042/.
Now, given our pre-Christmas planned commitments, we won’t be back at Beyond, our stay of absence extending and almost unheard of six weeks, while we leave it to Ben Kaye to round off our recommendation when he says, “…don’t miss the best after hours in London on the weekend that the whole of London seems to be going to…”. (DISCO MATT)
Sales shopping sorted, sporting activities accomplished and Christmas leftovers lapped up, there’s only one thing that should be on your roster radar this spiritual St Stephen’s sacrament, as A:M Ultra rolls out its “Boxing Day Blowout” tonight (Wed 26th Dec), a prolific party which wrestled our “Pick of the Day” choice from the Popcorn & Gigolo competition, all the event detail a banner selection away opposite or an image click below, while we fill out our Festive Focus Extra beneath.
Having suffered our own knockout blow following a mugging on the way to Orange “The Christmas Day Institution” event at Fire last night, while our Boxing Day may be on the back burner, there is a place that will be making the most of this final bank holiday of 2012, Area in Vauxhall entertaining A:M Ultra, which holds its “Boxing Day Blowout” bash tonight (Wed 26th Dec), moving across Vauxhall from its historical Fire home to the amazing & atmospheric Area. And with A:M’s tip top promoter, Steven Sharp, and his team pulling out all the showcase stops, this brilliant bash has all the hallmarks of the most heavenly festive happening of the season, this blowout bash having beaten off the Popcorn & Gigolo completion to make it to our premier “Pick of The Day” position. So, it simply wouldn’t do just to post a picture, but rather wax lyrically and bestow a Festive Focus Extra on this enthralling event, we sharing the slices from our special Orange Nation Christmas week focus, which serves up all the detail of his dance delight.
So, without further ado, this is what we had to say of A:M Ultra’s “Boxing Day Blowout”, our original devotion slightly edited to fit this Pick Of The Day & Festive Focus Extra, post, we kicking off by looking at the transformation of A:M, as well as sharing promoter Steven Sharp’s view on Boxing Day clubbing…..
“….Tonight (Wed 26th Dec) an afterhours institution that has gone through a significant transformation during 2012, holds its “Boxing Day Blowout”, A:M Ultra flying the Orange Nation flag, given that it’s a Wednesday and Onyx, which would normally occupy this slot, has all but disappeared from the capitals clubbing circuit, in a way a victim of its own success, like a tormented city trader having burnt itself out after a hectic three seasons at the top of the Friday tree. However, while to the naked eye, Onyx is no more, with an inside track along with informed information, Onyx has actually been absorbed by A:M, which under the superb steership of none other than prolific promoter Steven Sharp, has gone all “Ultra” on us, shifting & extending is previous afterhours status into the realms of nightime clubbing too, this traditional Saturday morning meet becoming a Friday frolic as well. And given the souped up size & substantial standing with the Orange Nation weekly clubbing/event schedule, it seems wholly appropriate that A:M “Ultra” has been granted this much prized Boxing Day slot, Mr Sharp pleased as punch that he has landed this cracking Christmas schedule stocking filler for his club, he remarking to us that “…Boxing Day has always been a traditional favourite party night to celebrate with friends and an excellent opportunity to dance and burn off any inches from Christmas Day excess!…” especially for those that didn’t make it to Orange last night…”
Then, we honed in on the detail of this “Boxing Day Blowout” bash, propelling the party PR, the D.J. & host line-up and then pointing you to the all important ticket & event info…..
“…As for the event, the first big “Blowout” piece of news is that A:M “Ultra” once again switches from his native home Fire, moving across to splendid sister (and in our opinion the much better suited) Area, Steven also revealing that the venue “…will be transformed into a snow setting, with all new decor, new visuals & loads of pyrotechnics to make the party GO BANG!…” we concurring that there is no better place than Area with its superior lighting, layout & atmosphere to push these plans to prolific prominence. And Steven is pulling out all the team stops, hostess with the mostest HRH Minty, with her little elf helpers Danny Boyce & Louise Port all on duty & handing out mince pies and Xmas sweets, while the D.J. line up oozes A:M from its main room pores, the star studded line up including Jamie Head, Gonzalo Rivas, D’Johnny and newish resident players Matt Bogard & Ania, all playing “…playing the contemporary supercharged house…”, the sounds extending to a second space where Onyx takes pop music charge in the heavenly hands of Tasty Tim & DMS. So, with a line up like that, this is sure to be the billed “Boxing Day Blowout With A Bang”, Area’s doors opening this coming Wednesday (26th Dec) at 10 p.m. and the vent running through to a planned 8 a.m. finish, advance tickets available online at https://orangenation.ticketabc.com/events/m-3-2-2-2-2-2/ priced at an early bird (still available) £10 or the standard £12, while with an ad/flyer it’s that same standard price on the door till midnight or £15 without & after, this surely an Xmas disco diary must, especially if (unlike us) you have Thursday off…”
Well, what more can we add, apart from sharing event page with you, a click on http://facebook.com/events/448638455184127/, while we leave some of the last words to Steven when he say’s “…so why not dance off those Christmas Day excesses with the team at we transform Boxing Day Night clubbing and take it to a new level and remember this special event is at Area not Fire and the doors open at 10pm…” he rounding off by saying “…see you on the Boxing Day dancefloor…”. And as this brilliant blowout bash gets our full thumbs up, we reap a recommendation reckon that you should “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
If there was ever an organisation to come up trumps over Christmas, it is Orange Nation, a superb selection of spectacular showings that sparkle & shine bright throughout the coming Christmas week, we focussing on Orange “The Christmas Day Institution” & A:M Ultra’s “Boxing Day Blowout”, while short shouting for no less than six other glorious gathering’s, a New Year Golden Ticket touting and an Orange Nation Christmas present of free clubbing in January mini mention.
As we find ourselves on the cusp of Christmas week 2012, we look back to the same time last year and a calendar of events that was every bit as plump as the turkeys that will no doubt be making it to dinner tables across the land come Tuesday, although with Christmas falling during the week this year rather than over the weekend like last, the 2012 festive season reality is that the lack of two additional bank holiday’s means that for some (like us) it’s just two days off from work making for leaner clubbing cavorting. Yet there will be plenty of others that will have either been granted or will be taking the whole week off, meaning there will be a penchant for partying, the clubbing circuit in the capital certainly not failing to deliver, especially if you head into the world of Orange Nation, the clubbing conglomerate that is responsible for brands such as A:M, Beyond, Gravity, Later & Orange, a host of events carrying you from Christmas Day to N.Y.E. meaning we thought it only right to propel their parties in a specially devoted festive focus which we have aptly called, “Christmas Cracker Of Continuous Clubbing”, honing in on two of the big Christmas events, but also giving a mini mention to the myriad of others. And with 2013 just over a week away, we will also take the opportunity to hint towards 1st January in what will once again prove one of the biggest clubbing days of the year, while we cannot forget the special Orange Nation Christmas present of free clubbing in January, no scrooge at large here.
So let’s crack (or is that cracker) on and head to Christmas Day (or night actually) as the institution that is Orange swings open its doors, flying in the face of conformity, dragging you away from the comedy repeats on the Beeb and giving you an outstanding opportunity to work off the excesses of the day. And while the promotions team claim “…let’s face it, you’ve been very bad this year so Santa won’t be coming anywhere near your chimney, so screw the turkey, let’s go to Fire!…” perhaps an excessive amount of clubbing during 2012 being their point, although we doubt you have been that naughty but will want to indulge in a little post dinner decadence while others fall asleep over that traditional Christmas supper. But we much prefer the promotions tack when they say “…Join together under the shining star of Orange with your London family this Christmas Day at our annual institution, and live the alternative nativity scene that didn’t make the gospel. Kings (& queens) travel far and wide to the stable of Fire where it all began, for a festive celebration like no other…” and if previous year’s experiences are anything to go by, then it will be a pumping & prolific party to plunder, Orange standing on its own two feet this year rather than previous Chrimbo combo’s with that other Christmas institution Trade.
So what’s on offer? Well citric sound splendour from start to finish as the D.J. line-up is pure Orange old school, The Sharp Boys, & Fat Tony on deck duty, while another original resident makes a special festive appearance, Gonzalo Rivas jetting in from his home & base of Valencia in what will be the first of a string of showings that include Beyond, A:M & WE Party, although he cannot contain his excitement for being back behind the Orange (potentially RAW) decks on Christmas night, so much so that he has laid down a special compilation to mark the occasion and one you should go grab without delay by clicking on http://orangenation.podomatic.com/entry/index/2012-12-20T08_37_46-08_00 while his set will definitely be one to savour. However, with the party kicking off at Fire this Tuesday (25th Dec) at 11 p.m. and the event running through till 7 a.m., plus with the potential of not just one but two rooms of fun, the D.J. set length maths dictate that the so called “…special guests…” will be required for duty, likely includee’s being Verity Mayes & playing partner Bryony Masters, while if they are in town, both The Oli & Paul Martin may be called up, the prospect of all these spinning stars sorting the Christmas night sounds surely too much to resist. So, having netted your hook, line & sinker, all we now need to say is go grab your advance tickets now, online at https://orangenation.ticketabc.com/events/orange-2-2-2-2-2-2/ still priced at just £10 or you can pay on the door although expect to pay more, further event info, should you need it, out at http://www.facebook.com/events/424553537610538/.
Then, the following night, another afterhours institution that has gone through a significant transformation during 2012, holds its “Boxing Day Blowout”, A:M Ultra flying the Orange Nation flag, given that it’s a Wednesday and Onyx, which would normally occupy this slot, has all but disappeared from the capitals clubbing circuit, in a way a victim of its own success, like a tormented city trader having burnt itself out after a hectic three seasons at the top of the Friday tree. However, while to the naked eye, Onyx is no more, with an inside track along with informed information, Onyx has actually been absorbed by A:M, which under the superb steership of none other than prolific promoter Steven Sharp, has gone all “Ultra” on us, shifting & extending is previous afterhours status into the realms of nightime clubbing too, this traditional Saturday morning meet becoming a Friday frolic aswell. And given the souped up size & substantial standing with the Orange Nation weekly clubbing/event schedule, it seems wholly appropriate that A:M “Ultra” has been granted this much prized Boxing Day slot, Mr Sharp pleased as punch that he has landed this cracking Christmas schedule stocking filler for his club, he remarking to us that “…Boxing Day has always been a traditional favourite party night to celebrate with friends and an excellent opportunity to dance and burn off any inches from Christmas Day excess!…” especially for those that didn’t make it to Orange the previous night.
As for the event, the first big “Blowout” piece of news is that A:M “Ultra” once again switches from his native home Fire, moving across to splendid sister (and in our opinion the much better suited) Area, Steven also revealing that the venue “…will be transformed into a snow setting, with all new decor, new visuals & loads of pyrotechnics to make the party GO BANG!…” we concurring that there is no better place than Area with its superior lighting, layout & atmosphere to push these plans to prolific prominence. And Steven is pulling out all the team stops, hostess with the mostest HRH Minty, with her little elf helpers Danny Boyce & Louise Port all on duty & handing out mince pies and Xmas sweets, while the D.J. line up oozes A:M from its main room pores, the star studded line up including Jamie Head, Gonzalo Rivas, D’Johnny and newish resident players Matt Bogard & Ania, all playing “…playing the contemporary supercharged house…”, the sounds extending to a second space where Onyx takes pop music charge in the heavenly hands of Tasty Tim & DMS. So, with a line up like that, this is sure to be the billed “Boxing Day Blowout With A Bag”, Area’s doors opening this coming Wednesday (26th Dec) at 10 p.m. and the vent running through to a planned 8 a.m. finish, advance tickets available online at https://orangenation.ticketabc.com/events/m-3-2-2-2-2-2/ priced at an early bird (still available) £10 or the standard £12, while with an ad/flyer it’s that same standard price on the door till midnight or £15 without & after, this surely an Xmas disco diary must, especially if (unlike us) you have Thursday off.
So those are the two Orange Nation Christmas week headline events, but what about the rest? Well on Thursday (27th Dec), the team point you in the direction of Room Service who hold a pre-party for WE “Vogue which takes place on N.Y.D., this followed by Gravity at Covert from midnight until 8.am. Then moving to Friday (28th Dec) A;M “Ultra is back and back at its home Fire, doors opening at 11 p.m. & the club running superlate (translated as post Saturday morning dawn), while just fifteen or so hours later, awesome afterhours Beyond rolls out yet another of its infamous “Midnight” meets, that is from zero o’clock on Sunday 30th Dec) running through till another superlate billing, we suspect 10 or 11 a.m. Then completing the Christmas week picture is Later, which itself is on the move for a one-off Sunday daytime disco dervish at Covert, making this a perfect hop, skip & jump from Beyond at next door Area, proceedings kicking off at 11.30 a.m. & the club running through till 7/8 p.m. details of all these events due out at http://orangenation.co.uk. Then, after a resting respite on New Year’s Eve, the “Golden Ticket” trio takes charge, Beyond NYD, WE “Vogue” & Orange “WE Afterhours” the £40 combined ticket package which is brilliant value so worth a mini mention now, this terrific ticket combo available online now at https://orangenation.ticketabc.com/events/new-years/ while details of what it offers is up at http://facebook.com/events/128980950589187/, while watch this space for special New Year Focus features on Beyond, WE & Orange, as well as an Extra Bites post on Beyond “Midnight”, all coming up later this week.
So, spending Christmas week on the Orange Nation dancfloors is truly a seven day prospect & affair for some, while work commitments look like restricting us to that institutional tradition that is Fire on Christmas night, although we wholeheartedly support all seven soiree’s as prominent places to be seen on the scene this festive season, meaning you should “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
From the backwater of Bermondsey to the vibrancy of Vauxhall, the scene’s longest running & surviving weekly marks fourteen years of citric clubbing splendour tonight (Sun 11th Nov) meaning that the orbicular outing that is Orange simply had to make it to our “Pick Of The Day” choice, all the event detail a banner selection away opposite or an image click below, while we mark this outstanding occasion with our own overture beneath.
What started out as an alternative to DTPM and amidst a time in the capitals clubbing history when partying outside the usual Friday or Saturday night parameters was very much vogue, the then cavorting minnow that today is not just the longest running weekly club on the scene, but is undoubtedly the recognised & symbolic starter of the clubbing organisation we now know as Orange Nation (formerly The Orange Group). And while the beginnings were very humble indeed, Bermondsey the initial backwater choice and a traditional pub at that, the switch of suburbs proved the crowning glory & catalyst for Orange and all the other club brands that were soon to follow, A:M, Beyond, Gravity & Later, like their citric commandant, surviving while many others have fallen by the wayside, the likes of Salvation, Factor 25, Sherbert & Warriors all having made their Sunday mark but have disaperead into complete capital clubbing circuit obscurity. Yet through passionate promotion, a fervent & faithful following plus an indelible list of incredible ingredients that have remained part of the clubs award winning recipe through its history, Orange has not only survived, but for a substantial slice of its existence, thrived, meaning by marking its 14th birthday, there is much cause for citric champers celebration.
So, having adopted the name for his now considerable conglomerate, the Nation’s head cheese, Craig Elder, remains as fond of the brilliant clubbing brand that is Orange as he was when it all started fourteen years ago, Craig remarking that “…Orange is very special to me, it’s where it all started, back in a small pub in Rotherhithe called the Prince of Orange…” this clearly the inspiration for the club’s name, while he continues, “…I am very proud that it is now London’s longest running weekly party and although it has evolved so much over the years Orange remains at the forefront of cutting edge house music, and even in these days of economic crisis it just amazes me how our loyal crowd just keep coming every Monday morning, proving that London is indeed a 24 hour city…”. And Craig is spot on, both with his reference to the music of Orange and that, more than any other afterhours on the capital’s circuit today, it exemplifies everything that is indulgently addictive about a club that week in week out re-writes the rules to the conformist start to the working week. Indeed, having succumbed to the club’s citric splendour on a score or more of Sunday’s, it has been Monday morning, sometimes afternoon before the routine reality has taken over, Orange still being able to achieve this fabulous feeling fourteen years down the line.
Therefore, it seems wholly appropriate for us to sing the clubs praises from the rooftops as well as make it our pick of the day, and in so doing, share some of the event detail with you here, this “14 Glorious Years” event cracking open the celebratory champagne from 11 p.m. tonight at Fire, the home that is the cornerstone of it & its owning organisation Orange Nation. And while we could go into our own oratory Orange event detail, there is surely no-one better than its most prolific promoter to date, the superb Steven Sharp, to let you in on what this captivating club means & what this exceptional event will deliver when he say’s “…Orange is an incredible thing, a perfect combination of people and house music, love and history, future, friendship and fierceness that has proved its place in people’s hearts and as a founding father of the London scene. This Sunday brings together true DJ legends that we are proud to call our residents, representing this city with that unique, forward thinking and uplifting Fire main room soundtrack that has put Vauxhall on the map. Celebrate 14 years with all of the Orange family including Tonnic on live vocals, historic hosts and promoters, and most importantly – you, the children of this fine fruit!…”
And those D.J. legends, well it’s The Sharp Boys, Fat Tony, & The Oli, George & Steven playing a classics set, special guest Paul Heron joining forces with Oli for a one-off back-to-back set, while no Orange celebration of this stature would be complete without the iconic playing & performing partnership that is Tony & Tonnic. But it doesn’t stop there, oh no, as RAW returns with one half of its founding duo, David Jimenez, he joined for another back-to-back set showing by D’Johnny, while we are sure the thoughts & well wishes of all the team, Orange customers & cavorters, as well as ourselves, reach out to Hifi Sean who was very much looking forward to being part of partying proceedings tonight, but remains laid up in hospital following operation complications, you surely joining us in wishing him a speedy recovery. While Sean will be sadly missed, other fabulous & familiar faces from within the Orange family will be there, hosts Hrh Minty, Louise Port & Danny Boyce looking after you both inside & out, while the terrific Tom Fuller masterminds the Orange operation including the door, which as we said, opens at 11 p.m., the club running through till a planned finish of 7 a.m. Monday morning, entrance on the door just £5 before 1 a.m. (£10 after). And with special birthday presents for the Orange faithful (are you one?!), drinks priced at just £2.90, shots at £1, and an exclusive membership offer that includes free entry to all Orange Nation clubs during January, all up for grabs before 1 a.m., early is definitely better than later, more info if you need it out at http://orangenation.co.uk.
So, with a resounding attendance recommendation as well as wishing Orange a very happy 14th birthday, we both concur with as well as leave some of the last words to Craig Elder who say’s “…I want to thank all the DJs and loyal fans that have supported us over the last 14 years, making Orange the Monday morning phenomenon it is. Here’s to the next 14!…”, definitely hip hip hooraying that & finishing by simply saying, miss this birthday bash and you will definitely miss out, so make sure you “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
In celebration of the outstanding Orange occasion, two of the clubs original resident D.J.’s Steven React Sharp & George Sharp Mitchell, better & more simply known as The Sharp Boys, have laid down a special podcast production that gives more than a hint of what to expect from their equally special “classics” set tonight, so one not just for your collection, but a wonderful way to get you into musical mood for tonight’s birthday bash, download/stream options a click away at http://orangenation.podomatic.com/entry/2012-11-07T10_18_51-08_00. Music Is The Answer! Go There!
Sunday afternoon clubbing south of the river has never looked quite so good, as its seems that Later is proving to be one of THE clubs of the moment, the considerably capable promotional hands of Steven Sharp having taken this daytime disco in a wonderfully “Nu Direction”. And with today’s event well under way as we go to press, George Sharp, D’Johnny & Later fave The Oli on the decks, it simply had to make it to our “Pick Of The Day”, all the detail a banner click away opposite or an image click below, while we devote our deliverance on the clubs new promoter & his plans beneath
If there was ever a club that coolly, calmly & collectively has been making its mark week after week, month after month & year after year, its Later, the daytime disco that has been bridging the gap between the brilliance of Beyond & the outstanding Orange, the razzmatazz that these two often exude, tempered by the no fuss rather fabulous fun & frolicking that this afternoon delight has been delivering since it opened its doors back in 2004. And while there have been a handful of occasions when special soirees have splashed the scene, the “Funfair’s, the “Boat Partiers” & the “Birthday’s”, generally Later has just quietly gone about its barnstorming business, for a sizeable chunk in the hands of promoter Jay Sharp Vokins. However, just a handful of events ago, another Sharp assumed control of this disco delight, one Steven React Sharp to be precise, a D.J./Producer & Promoter that has a prolific pedigree behind him and one that has successfully steered a whole host of clubs & brands, let’s see, Orange, Beyond, Royal House, A:M and now Later, Steven’s whole persona & procedure in promoting the most hands on & refreshing we know, meaning that he is considered as possibly the most safest pair on hands in the Orange Nation (the group behind Later) armoury.
So what does Steven have in store for Later? Well, while it is clear he wants the club to head in a “Nu Direction”, we highly suspect that he will be drawing on many of the qualities that have made this daytime disco the delight that it has been for the eight years of its history and while there can be little doubt that Later’s fortunes have pitched & yawed in this time, we have every confidence that, like A:M has responded in his hands, Later’s fortunes will be going only one way and that is up. Indeed, there is a similarity between the two clubs in his hands, that being that Mr Sharp is profoundly passionate about letting the music do the talking, while his keen eye for detail, his unstinting energy in pushing & networking his clubs and that hands on nature he adopts during events, having paid dividends for A:M on so many levels and is sure to do the same for Later too. Plus, we know of no better man when it comes to commissioning creative & eye catching artwork to promote clubs, while his inventiveness for theme ideas, tag lines and capturing the moment is one of many strengths Steven shines, so many examples from Orange, Beyond & more latterly A:M, standing him head & shoulders above his contemporaries.
With music clearly being the focal point of immediate & intermediate plans for Later, Steven is subtly shifting the emphasis towards that, introducing some new names to the clubs residency D.J. team, La Gosse & Marco Gee just two examples, while he is also naturally relying upon individuals that have not only cut their cloth here, but have themselves proficient pedigree for party propulsion, The Oli, Jamie Head, D’Johnny & George Sharp all exceptional exponents and ones that Steven is keen to keep in place, while after the initial few weeks of the “Nu Direction” programme, we have it on pretty good authority that he has some special party events planned, not least with the upcoming festive season which is just a matter of weeks away (scary thought). But within this programme of directional dynamism is a cornerstone of consolidation as well, this week’s event being just that, as Steven welcomes three Later veterans (am sure they won’t mind being called so) to the decks, as of going to press, George Sharp having already kicked off proceedings, while D’Johnny is the filler in the superb D.J. sandwich, although not just a filler but a full on Later favourite, that also being true of The Oli who is one of the clubs originals, having played at the very first party and the vast majority of one’s since. And while the nights are drawing in, the outside temperatures are dipping, you can guarantee that the infamous Later garden will be geared up for the season slide into winter, while inside the dancing action & D.J. deliveries will be as hot, hot, hot as ever.
So, all in all its clear that Later is on that up and is very much becoming a Sunday Soiree Sharp Style and we cannot wait to not just report but get back to review this daytime disco delight with a deluge of delicious delectations. (DISCO MATT
For over nine years it’s been storming Saturday mornings, pushing the mid to late A.M. boundaries, but the club of the same name is about to embark of the biggest change its history, shifting into Friday as well as Saturday, A:M going all “Ultra” on us from tonight (Fri 2nd Nov), meaning it not only makes our “Pick Of The Day” but gives us reason to “Focus Extra” on the event, all the detail a banner selection away opposite or an image click below, while we cast our own eye on this dynamic development beneath
When we look across the diverse & dynamic gay scene’s across the near continent, there are a few brands that tend to stick out, many that have been pushing the boundaries for well over ten years, there’s La Demence in Brussels, celebrating 23 years in business this weekend, , Muccassassina in Rome equally as established, finding itself into its 23rd season, while the resplendent Red & Blue in Antwerp is not that far behind, cracking open the champagne on 1st December, marking its 14th anniversary, although what all these have in common is that they are the single most outstanding brands in their respective cities.. However, here in the capital, the prolific clubbing picture is somewhat more significant, as we have a whole host of brands that have notched up that double figure in business landmark, just last weekend seeing Trade celebrate its 22nd birthday, while Orange is, in just two weeks, marking its 14th, Beyond already deep into its 11th year storming the scene, all three not only iconic come legendary here in London, but are brilliant brands both known & active right around the globe. But there is a fourth, one that sits very much in the afterhours bracket like all the other three, yet just three months ahead of its 11th birthday, this club is about to embark the most dynamic & dramatic development in his history.
So which brilliant capital clubbing brand are we talking about?, well A:M of course, the club that has, singlehandedly been responsible for changing the Saturday mornings of masses of clubbers in the 10 years it has been pushing the boundaries of normality, as while the majority of men & women in the land consider heading out for the Saturday morning shop, A:M devotees week in week out trade the supermarket aisles for the dancefloor, partying deep into the sixth day of the week to the banging beats of a bevy of A:M resident stars. And during its 10 year history, we too have been found within the captivating confines of Fire on a Saturday morning, our most recent trip taking in the special guest splendours of Lottie, while many a moon ago, we would fall into A:M from our West London base with weekly regularity, that afterhours feel that we have adored since the days of Trade & then Beyond being replicated in its own wonderful way by the amazing A:M. Yet all this is set to change (or is it?) as the brand prepares itself to shift from just being a Saturday morning event to a full blown 10/12 hour happening each & every week, A:M embracing both Friday & Saturday in what the team ate calling an “Ultra” make-over come look and in doing so, introducing some exciting additions to the A:M package.
Now, before we make our own analysis & judgement on the changes afoot with A:M, perhaps its best to share what the promotions team have to say about this dramatic development in the A:M branding, they beginning by saying “…new beginnings are always something to celebrate, and with clubbing pedigree like ‘A:M’ it means something very exciting indeed…” the first exciting change being the incorporation of another brand into the A:M fold, the Friday night award winning club Onyx captured under this new “Ultra” umbrella, the team saying of this addition and how this new clubbing combination will look, “…bringing in a hot new line up and harnessing the strength of another Friday institution ‘Onyx’, A:M Ultra will revolutionise the start of the weekend with a super-size, super-production event from Friday night into the not-so-early hours of Saturday morning…”. But hold it right there, as did we read this right, A:M will, in its new “Ultra” form be a “not-so-early hours of Saturday morning” club?!?! And what does this mean for this much beloved Saturday morning mash-up?, well we will tackle that shortly, while back to the team talk, as they let us in on some of the new D.J. stars of this clubbing combo, “…our headline resident is none other than superstar producer Pagano, joined by D.J.’s including Severino, Paul Heron, Ariel, Matt Bogard & D’Johnny, delivering turbocharged house to Fire’s main floor. In room two it’s an Onyx takeover with the all star D.J.’s pumping out dirty pop anthems including Lady Lloyd, Adam Turner, DMS & Tasty Tim…” while there is more as “…Raul Gonzalez returns to the A:M fold bringing his stunning dance troupe and injecting some Spanish glamour to the weekend, alongside the freshest hosts and special performers…” while the team are launching a “…hot new VIP space the Skylounge, hosted by JJ Clark, offering a place to sip Champagne and oversee the dancefloor of Fire’s rocking main room…” as well as promising “…regular pop up clubs, incredible drinks deals, massive smoking area, hot new décor and loads more…”.
So exciting times for A:M for sure and in the hands of a man who we easily describe as THE most capable & competent club promoters on the capitals circuit, Steven Sharp, A:M in this new “Ultra” format is sure to go from strength to strength. Indeed, since taking over the brand just under a year ago, Steven has made subtle changes to A:m that has seen it rekindle the purple patch years of its earlier times, the club very much about the music, he having brought some superb special guests, Paul Harris, Smokin Jo & (of course) Lottie just three examples, while with residents such as Jamie Head, Paul Heron, David Jimenez & D’Johnny, the music is on the tougher side of house but clearly continues to hit the mark with A:M’ers far & wide. Therefore this marvellous music policy can only get even better with the introduction of stars such as Pagano & Severino, while with a totally different poptastic feel in the newly formed Onyx second space, there should genuinely be something for everyone, whether Friday frolick’ers or Saturday shimmy’ers. That said, we have to note a caution concern as, for us, A:M was always about that decadent feel of clubbing deep into Saturday morning, pushing those normality boundaries & having a resultant feel of fabulous naughtiness, while in this new format and being a “…not-so-early hours…” club, we fear that that is a real danger that A:M will lose that exciting edge and rather become a mainstream & conformist club, although flipping the analytic coin, we have to concede that in these times of austerity, the team have reacted by not quite landing the downward spiralling Onyx on its sword, but giving it a new lease of life by combining it with a brand that has been on the up & up & bucking the trend of the former.
With our analysis not yet complete, lets pause to run through the detail of this A;M “Ultra” which takes place tonight (Fri 2nd Nov) at Fire in Vauxhall, doors opening at 11 p.m. and the club running through to the advertised “Superlate” timing which we hope means the usual 11 a.m. finish but suspect sadly that it may be a little earlier. While we are told advance tickets are available via the new Orange Nation website at http://orangenation.co.uk, entry on the door is still the best way to go with A:m, especially when you pick up a flyer or ad as the team are offering free (yes FREE!) entry before midnight, while the same flyer or ad will get you discounted £6 entry before 3a.m., otherwise it £10/£12 during these times. Plus, with the A:M promotions team out in force across Soho & Vauxhall, we reckon that some special entry offers will be up for grabs, especially if the terrific Tom Fuller is masterminding the flyer team (as we are reliably informed he is tonight), while those drinks offers mentioned earlier mean it’s never an expensive affair for your A:M trip, the added bonus of hosts Hrh Minty, Danny Boyce Louise Port & JJ Clark mean you will be in heavenly & charming clubbing hands from start to finish, more info available by visiting the Orange Nation website, by hitting promoter Steve Sharp’s page at http://facebook.com/steven.r.sharp.1 or by checking out the event page at http://facebook.com/events/296615937120263/. As for that analysis of ours, well while there is definitely loads of positives to draw on, the combo of Onyx into A:M one, the introduction of new resident D.J.’s as a result another, the potentially extended hours of the A:M ethos an exciting prospect, given that this new “Ultra” format has been labelled as a “Friday revolution”, we fear the emphasis will be taken away from Saturday meaning that A:M is we have known & loved it will be no more, meaning the DM jury is out on this new format although the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, meaning, despite this reservation, the new look A:M receives our rapturous recommendation meaning we can simply say that to eat that prolific “Ultra” pudding you need to “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)
Modelled as the modern day derivative of the likes of Famous Five & Universe and finding itself in its third summer on the scene, As One in the hands of promoter Steven Sharp continues to bring together clubbing communities from far & wide, this latest collaboration combining some big brand hitters that certainly signals a new era for this magnificent meet, we delving into the detail of the magnificent marriage of capital clubbing circuit minds.
When we look at the rather mundane, monotone & monopolistic bigger branded clubbing scene that we find ourselves within here in the capital, we all too often see in-fighting between clubs & their promoters, competition crushing & strong arm tactics by the powerful players pushing many once popular parties to the wall. And it isn’t just the minnow meets that get this unsavoury shove from the heavyweight hitters, but some of these so called big shots also take the hit, SuperMartXe one of the most notable recent casualties, while in a quest to run the show, the phrase “…cutting off your nose to spite your face…” regularly springs to mind, although all this said, we can still count on a clubbing circuit that offers vivacious variety even if, in the whole, it does come from just one or two organisations. Therefore, reading between the lines, as we are sure you are already doing, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that we are pointing the finger unfairly and in some ways we probably are, especially given the encouraging development that is about to take place before our very eyes this weekend, when the marriage of club & promoter minds brings together brands that would never have been considered as comfortable bedfellows.
So what the heck of we talking about? Well As One of course, the colossal clubbing combo that was created close of three years ago and has since seen successive seasons tweaking the original fabulous formula, mixing up a bevy of brands in its quest to offer the clubber on one-stop shop of the best that the scene has to serve up, both in terms of diversity & depth. And when we look back across this clubbing combo’s short(ish) history, they have certainly done that, brands included in the past extending to Beyond, Lovechild, Megawoof, Trannyshack, The Men Who Fell To Earth, CasaLatina, Lo-Profile, Orange, Trade & Onyx, a marriage of minds that has successively & successfully secured its position as one of the busiest & best clubbing events on any given bank holiday, the “all roads lead to” label which often gets attached to Beyond, very much the byword for As One too. And this is sure to be the case come Sunday (26th Aug), when it slots into the bank holiday schedule just after WE party & before the second Beyond of the weekend, it following a pattern that, this year, has worked like a dream and is sure to do again, host venue Fire giving way the whole complex to As One, we expecting a couple of brand inclusion surprises to add to the ones already confirmed.
So, who is involved in As One this weekend & what can you expect? Well, following the inclusion of Trade for the last two events, it having proven a runaway success story in the marriage of clubbing minds, the mothership as she is known is back, along with its brilliant bedfellow Orange, those now infamous Orange/Trade parties immediately springing to mind, not least on Christmas Day last year as well as their show stealing sorties at As One on NYD. But with the inclusion of a real scene huge hitter for the first time, the internationally famous Salvation, As One’s credentials are getting a big boost, this collaboration coming not just as a very pleasant surprise but one which many quarters of the capitals clubbing circuit will take heart from, perhaps a sign that those roses have been smelt, that the wakeup call has been heard and this marks a new era in co-operation or, at least, comfortable co-existence. Then, to add to Salvation’s inaugural As One appearance, Tonker is welcomed with open arms too, promoter Tim Jones thrilled to be involved and sure to pull in many of his regular punters to play, while Trannyshack is back in the As One fold too, a better spread of clubbing genres the team behind this creative collaboration couldn’t have wished for, virtually all tastes catered for, musically & otherwise, the current team carrying on the lofty legacy born out of casual conversation between Craig Elder & Steven Sharp and is now, without question, the biggest clubbing collaboration on the capitals clubbing circuit calendar.
With the theme of this latest As One outing being “Legends of London”, the team tell us that “…each of the selected brands has been rulin’ the scene for longer than they care to remember – but each brand has developed and changed to fit with the times and remained current and cutting-edge whilst others have fallen by the wayside…”they going into further detail on the contributors to this colossal collaboration as follows:-
For 13 years Salvation has reigned supreme as the most glamorous club party on the London scene. With a discerning house music policy and international pedigree having toured many of the world’s greatest cities and venues, few clubs can match Salvation’s history.
‘The Monday Morning Phenomenon’ has transformed from an after party in Surrey Quays to a behemoth brand and London’s leading Sunday night club party for the gay community. Bringing together a friendly crowd of house music lovers each week Orange is the longest running weekly party still running weekly events after almost 14 years.
The original ‘all night bender’ Trade was the first legal afterhours in London, and since ceasing weekly parties at the legendary Turnmills has continued to evolve, always a cutting edge, forward thinking super-brand, taking over unique club spaces in London for unbeatable pop up parties and the infamous annual birthday events. Trade has been running spectacular parties for 22 years.
Taking place every Friday at the London gay scene institution The Eagle, Tonker operates under the mantra of ‘Booze, Cruise & Tunes’ serving up the hottest bear crowd in London for coming up to 9 years.
The UK’s favourite gender-bending, pop-tastic weekly Wednesday get-together for the last eight years, featuring the crème of London’s tranny DJs and scene celebs plus regular special guest performers.
all this vindication as to the depth & diversity that we touched on earlier, the D.J. line-up across just these five brands making rapturous reading, names such as Nick Tcherniak, The Sharp Boys, Gonzalo Rivas, Fat Tony, Pier Morrocco & Tasty Tim that exude both experience & entertainment to exemplary ecstasy, while with a cast that extends to Tim Jones, Paul Coals, MisWhite, Lady Lloyd , Gabriele Cutrano, Dusty O, Rosco, & Lee Yeomans, there will be no shortage of superb sounds to see each & every room packed to the rafters with revellers. As for the club expanse itself, we are told to expect “…unique décor, music, dancers and live performances from each of the brands, coming together to offer five different zones under one roof…”, while Tonker’s Tim Jones informs us that they will be hosting the Lightbox & further states that “…Tonker is excited to bring our unique blokes party to As One – expect a very sexy crowd of ‘guy next door’ meets your favourite dad or uncle and rugby player! We will serve up the best in eclectic music from DJ Tim Jones and Paul Coals taking you on a roller coaster journey from Disco to House to Mashup and Progressive Beats…”. And talking of beats, you can get a flavour of what to expect, well from Fat Tony in the Orange room at least, by checking out his specially devoted podcast, well worth a download/listen at http://orangenation.podomatic.com/entry/index/2012-08-21T09_07_15-07_00.
Now need we say much more apart from running through the detail on this As One “Legends of London” event which takes place this coming Sunday (26th Aug) at Fire in Vauxhall, doors opening at 11 p.m. & the event running through to an advertised “superlate” finish, we suspect around 7 a.m., the extra Beyond opening its doors across at Area at 6 a.m. But back to As One and advance tickets are still available priced at £18, on sale online at direct ticket link http://orangenation.clubtickets.com/gb/2012-08/26/as-one, while you can grab one in your hand by visiting Soho outlets Prowler, Clone Zone & 50, as well as asking across the bar or of the hosts at any of the Orange Nation events this weekend, so Onyx, A:M, Beyond, Later & even WE, but very much at Gravity tonight (Thurs 23rd) as this audacious afterhours is the official As One pre-party. But, suffice to say, entry will be available on the door on the night, but expect to pay more, while if you grab one of the marked flyers, a £3 discounted entry up till 1 a.m. will apply, while in terms of hosts, Hrh Minty will be flying the Orange flag alongside Salvation’s Andromeda, plus an as yet unannounced special VIP host (watch this space), more info, should you need it, out at http://orangenation.co.uk.
So, with this looking like being THE roadblock event of this August Bank holiday, we will be in the thick of the action reporting it all via our nibble size review tweets which you can tune into live at http://twitter.com/discomatt, so if you see us, then come say hi, but make sure you don’t miss out & in so doing “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)