Posts Tagged ‘The Brixton Electric’
If we had a pound for every club launch we have seen come & go over the years we have been circulating the scene, we would be pretty rich by now, while the same could be said for the plethora of promoters that have tried & failed to make the mark. So much so, when news first hit our desks of yet another new brand concept braving the tough cookie that is the capitals clubbing circuit, we were somewhat sceptical not just of its credentials but of its chance to cut a sufficiently significant & successful stride. That said, when the Fire fanfares shouted statements that included phrases “…the club launch of 2011…”, along with “…a new era of London clubbing…” as well as “…it will need to be seen to be believed…”, there was no wonder that our ears pricked up and our expectations grew, Brava the new brand, an international clubbing collaboration the concept and the word revolution the strap line running through the veins & arteries of this latest byword for clubbing.
However, the mightiest statement of intent among a field of others was still to come, the team behind Brava staking the claim that it would“… push the boundaries of technology and club culture further than ever seen before to create something truly spectacular, bringing together incredible new technology with an iconic image and cutting edge dance music…” a brave & bold statement indeed and when combined with the others, immediately placed Brava on the highest of pedestals in peoples estimations. But more than that, shouting from the rooftops that this was a “…spectacular international clubbing collaboration…”, when you consider that the two club brand names behind this new concept were (are) the Spanish superclub & global success story that is WE Party, along with the most awesome afterhours & brilliant brand Beyond, in this marriage of minds aimed at creating a combination of the two, it certainly seemed that in Brava had all the correct credentials to back up their colossal claims. So why the full-on fanfares?, and did Brava live up to these elevated expectations?
With this prolific picture painted, it came as no surprise that Brava, right from the outset of its announcement, was creating quite a stir within the clubbing scene, not just here in London, but across Europe, a whole host of D.J.’s & scene faces getting in touch with us to find out just what this revolution in clubbing was all about. And quite rightly so, as a glance at the new brands video viral at http://youtube.com/watch?v=dKpzWpzfkgM, along with the clubs bespoke website at http://bravalondon.com were enough to get those tongues wagging and the inquisitive minds ticking, yet whilst we were by now very much sold into the idea that Brava was expected to be quite spectacular, we were struggling to pinpoint exactly what was going to be so revolutionary about this club launch of 2011. That said, in host venue The Electric (formerly The Fridge) expectations were also very high, a comprehensive refurbishment planned & expected, encapsulating the best in technology with stylish & sumptuous surroundings, leaving us with two further simple questions, would the brand & the venue deliver to expectations?, and would we walk away from the launch delighted or disappointed?
Well, with the scene set and the day arrived, it was time to find out, our planned early arrival for the VIP reception shelved due in part to an over extended disco nap, but with our technology charged, our revolutionary style t-shirt pressed & our review hat ready, we were set for the hop skip & jump down to Brixton and to nibble size tweet our way through this expected club launch of the year. And, arriving at our destination it was looking promising, well from the very healthy queue at least, which was stretching away from the venues entrance down Brixton towards the town hall, it obvious that many had chosen Brava as the place to be & be seen on the scene this bank holiday Sunday night, our expectations of a prolific party ahead improved further by the warming welcome from door hosts Minty & Naomi Ruiz, the familiar face of Tom Fuller orchestrating the lengthy queue as only he knows best. But as Naomi guided us into the entrance, we couldn’t help noticing all the chipboard covering the doorway & framing the box office, Electric seemingly having been ravaged by the recent rioting and covered up to conceal the damage. But while the entrance formalities were smooth as silk, as we ascended the stairs to the coatcheck, it was clear this part of our experience would be anything but, a queue as colossal as this Brava creation extending right along the upper tier balcony of the venue as well as right down the stairwell.
After a slightly shorter than expected wait, 20 or so minutes later we found ourselves released to go investigate the club, but having already had a bird’s eye view of the main auditorium below, dominated by a plain white scaffolding monolith engulfing the stage, we were already asking ourselves questions about what exactly was shouting clubbing revolution here. Plus, with a slice cut in the corner of this uninspiring monstrosity revealing the D.J. booth, opening disc spinner Luiggi & his equipment the barefaced focal point for everyone’s attention, you would have thought he would have put on some sort of show, yet the man showed no signs of response to the developing crowd below, rather looking quite miserable with his lot. But that was the least of our woes, as we were struggling to find an alternative exit from the upper tier of the venue, the usual second staircase blocked off as part of the continuing refurbishment of Brixton Electric. So, we descended the only way down, a sign on the wall asking us to “…please bear with us while we continue our upgrade…”, the smell of paint and the collection of cement dust, two obvious giveaways, as was the exposed ceiling which was far from finished, rather paint peeling & plasterwork exposed.
So, with our heads scratching as to exactly what this so called revolution in clubbing was going to further throw at us, we went in search of the dancefloor, the place packing out with party people before our very eyes, clearly everyone expecting great things from this Brava brilliance. Yet as we bumped into familiar faces, one after the next, the constant calls that said “…Disco Matt what do you think of this?…” were met with consternation, as the more we saw, the more we were in shock that, in effect, we were standing within a construction site of a venue, we quite literally stumbling on more & more evidence of unfinished works, exposed steel beams and near dangerous brick/cement work. And amongst all this, the white monstrosity on the stage was showing little or no life, apart from Luiggi, who had seemingly awoken from his reactionary slumber and was now waving his arms in response to the rousing rhythms that made up his very competent yet far from futuristic sound, who did they word it, oh yes, cutting edge music, we don’t think so.
With the auditorium packing out even further, liaisons with Andrea, Rob, Sophie and a score of scene faces already under our belt, the urge to first relieve ourselves and then seek refreshments was our next task, but what a task it turned out to be, as the queues for the only two available toilets were already extensive, the main bar also well over five deep, leaving us with the only option to tie a knot in our privates & seek refreshments from the first floor. But this proved fruitless, the venue clearly not prepared to for volumes of people braving Brava, no soft drinks, not even bottled water available and so, when we were resigned to joining in the main bar mania, we had the choice (or not) of just blackcurrant lucozade to quench our thirst, the fridges behind completely empty and even gaps where equipment should have been evident for all to see.
However, like so many people that we continued to meet, we made the most of what Brava had to offer, although it has to be said, for the first four hours, it wasn’t much, save for the captivating company we were holding, the likes of Clington Forbes, Fabio Tavares & our very own foxy lady MisWhite keeping us from taking an early Brava bath. But, while further glances towards the stage & the white cube showed no sign of life, we did dive back onto our spot on the dancefloor, although being close to the stage, we were wondering just where the dancers or any sort of showings would fit, cement dust caking the performing area, while pyrotechnic & other equipment was exposed given rise to , in our humble opinion, serious health & safety issues. That said, the dancefloor was now rammed with revellers, many lapping up Luiggi’s music, his set even impressing friend Ariel Mayer along with hoards of others showing their hands in the air appreciation, although amongst all this enjoyment, we were continuing to question just what was so revolutionary about Brava.
Still posting our controversial nibble size review tweets with breakneck speed and with no sign of the headlining D.J. act Peter Rauhofer, who by our clock was now well over ¾ of an hour late, this was close to being the final straw. But just as we were about to call it a day, the whole stage came alight with action, the white monolith that had looked pretty unimaginative, suddenly springing into action, the visual imagery actually superbly stunning when viewed from a distance, while the lighting, which had been conspicuous by its absence, fired up fervently, spots & lasers swinging and the cube as bright now as it had been dull before. With a rolling repetition of impressive images & a sea of lasers attempting to ramp up this revolution in clubbing, along with a message coming our way that our cougar loving clubbing pal had arrived, made us stall plans to exit the event, rather sinking back down onto the dancefloor to view the imagery close up, as well as from a standpoint at the bar, liaisons with Paul Heron & Minty perking us up further.
With its star turn on show and the stage alight with action, it now seemed that there were lengthy legs to Brava, although, visual imagery apart, we certainly weren’t witnessing anything we hadn’t seen anywhere else, not least as the dancers were a carbon copy of those we had spotted at WE just twenty four hours before, while Peter Rauhofer’s performance, for us, wasn’t that much to write home about. However, with the captivating company we were holding, pal Stephen in his Fidel Castro outfit and much hilarity on an Ibiza incident dominating the remainder of our stay, we actually ended up having quite a good time, the company rather than the club more likely responsible for our rapture. But our night wasn’t quite complete, as we managed to grab an audience with the venue’s owner before our leave, he going into great detail about the unearthing of issues with the building’s roof structure, wiring & the like, all that had protracted the renovation. However, even his reassuring words were not enough to keep us from our homeward retreat, leaving this clubbing revolution behind us and what seemed the one highlight of the night, a brilliant set from Paul Heron, eclipsing his two predecessors by a long shot.
So, where do we start in concluding on what was billed as “…the clubbing launch of 2011…” yet for us an many around proved anything but, the overriding reaction being that the venue simply wasn’t in any sort of fit state to accommodate such a claim, let alone provide a decent platform for the Brava brand to perform effectively enough. From the minute we arrived, the evidence of Electric’s unfinished state was plain so see and this was not helped by the white elephant of an eyeful that was the stage, like the D.J. sporting it, left pretty much lifeless for the first few hours. And with coatcheck issues, ill equipped toilet facilities & ill prepared bar staff & stock, queuing was the name of the game, these shortcomings being fuelled by the hoards of bank holiday clubbers that braved what was the only major event on the Sunday night clubbing circuit. Then we turn to the claims that Brava would be a clubbing revolution, the only revolutionary part of the concept as far as we could see, being the visual projections which, when viewed from a distance were quite spectacular, but from the dancefloor had little or no impact, coupled with the fact that by the time they actually swung into action, it was too little too late.
Performance wise, it was clear from the white monolith that the D.J.’s were the main focus, yet both Luiggi & Peter Rauhofer showed little signs of performing to the crowd, rather burying their heads into the decks. And as for the dancers, well given the shortage of space to perform, they failed to make an impressive enough impact, while using the same set to those at WE just a day before was just a little bit too predictable, especially given this was one half of the brand collaboration that made up Brava. Mind you if scene weekly rag Boyz magazine were to be believed, the party “…blew the crowd away…”, they going further by adding that “…following the promise of an uber cool dance show, Brava did not disappoint…” the magazine’s review crowning glory being that “…international superstar Pagano hit the decks…”. But with no sign of Pagano & no sign of an uber cool dance show, it begs the question, did Boyz have a review representative there at all?, as if they did & given what they have said, he/she was most definitely at a different party to us. But we suspect the magazine is simply pandering to their advertising commitments & regurgitating the press release rather than reporting the truth, something which we feel you deserve.
Therefore, given all of this, many questions about Brava remain unanswered, namely, what was so revolutionary about the party?, what made it the club launch of 2011?, and did they really reflect the future of clubbing as all the pre-party hype made it out to be? Plus, what did brands Beyond & WE think about the result?, we having spotted the latter’s promoter Victor Pallas present, although failed to find any of the Orange Group top brass there, the director & assistant director of events away in Manchester and the groups owner, having invested a huge amount of time & money into the project, also missing. Their absence begs yet another question, if this was the club launch of the year, why were they not present? as surely if Brava was such a momentous occasion in clubbing, you would think they would want to show a united front rather than leaving it to the likes of Aaron Elder, Victor Pallas, Mauricio Ortiz & other Brava team members to pick up the pieces, thoughts of infallible to failure, overinflated ego’s & too cock sure to commit, springing to mind. Now we know that our findings are controversial & our choice of words will court contention, but if we are honest, we felt extremely let down by the whole Brava experience and are sure that others feel the same, many surely justified in demanding a refund, leaving us to believe the promoters & the venue have a case to answer on all the claims they made about this so called clubbing revolution turned renegade. (DISCO MATT)
From the minute we stepped out of The Brixton Electric in the early hours of Monday morning, hardly a moment has gone by since, when we have been consumed with thoughts of just how we would position our review of what was hailed as “…a revolution in clubbing…” and “…the club launch of 2011…”. Those scores of you that attended Brava’s launch & came up to ask us of our opinion, will have realised the deep levels of consternation we found ourselves within, not least over issues with the venue, but moreover with just what was so revolutionary about Brava. You may also have followed our live nibble size review tweets (you can still view them at http://twitter.com/discomatt) which graphically displayed just what we thought at the time.
So, for the last few days we have been constructing our reflection of Brava, toying with all sorts of ideas in our mind as to exactly how far we would go in explaining our dismay over what we experienced, what we saw and what we found in this billed “…future of clubbing….”. We have also been in touch with the promotion team management, as well as the venue, wanting to give them the opportunity to reply to the wave of criticism that our review will bring to light and that you may also be thinking. However, as yet we have been unable to obtain a full & frank response from the Orange Group (the organisation behind Brava), although have received a formal statement from the venue, which we share as follows
Dear Brava Customers,
Thank you for attending Brava at Electric Brixton on Sunday. The venue would like to apologise for parts of the venue remaining unfinished. Contractors worked all through the night for several days before hand, we were simply not in the position we had hoped.
As you can see we have a lot more work to do in the venue and that we are equally as disappointed that we couldn’t get all the works finished before doors. We’re all really excited about this venue and the last thing we wanted from the weekend was people leaving unhappy.
Cloakroom queues were caused by a malfunction with our new till system, this has now been rectified and we would not expect any such problems in the future. We would like to confirm that the venue was approved from a Health and Safety perspective prior to the event taking place.
The venue is working tirelessly to rectify these issues prior to our next opening. Should anyone wish to speak directly with the venue please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So that is the venue’s management response to Sunday, but what of that from The Orange Group?, Well, we have been in touch with its director of events, Jonny Marsh, who has promised a full & frank response to a number of questions we plan to pose him, many lifted directly from our review. We plan to bring you his responses in a Disco Matters feature entitled “Revolution Review Reactions” in due course, but in the meantime, he has provided us with this short statement.
We’ve had some fantastic feedback about the production but are keen to hear as many people’s comments as possible, things people liked, and areas we could improve, especially regarding the venue. We’ve set up an email address which can be published to collect comments: email@example.com.
Well, that’s the promoter’s initial reaction to Brava, it being pretty clear to us that they, along with the venue, realise that there is considerable Brava baggage, i.e. issues regarding the lack of delivery compared to the promises in their promotion, remaining to be answered and/or resolved.
But what do we have to say on the subject? Well, in a super size review, we don’t hold back, yet also endeavour to show both a fairly balanced yet accurate picture of Brava’s performance on Sunday. As we have said, many of you asked us of our opinion at the time, many of you sharing similar thoughts to us, while others were very impressed with elements of the club, so we have done our best to reflect that too. However, in both our forward & concluding summaries, we make it abundantly clear what Brava first aimed to be and then what it turned out to be. Whilst many may agree with our findings, others may not, so like the venue & the Brava promoters, we would welcome your feedback which you can log as a comment, post via the contacts forms at http://discomatt.com/web, or simply mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, sit back and take in our review of Brava’s launch which we have chosen to title “Revolution Renegade”. (DISCO MATT)