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Twist @
Fire, (Formerly The Viaduct)
South Lambeth Road
London SW8.
"The new hard sound of the underground"
"London's No.1. hard dance afterparty"
The full launch of Twist at Fire – 6/4/03.

Twist has been running as an underground hard dance club for serious clubbers wanting to listen to the highest quality music for over 4 months now. During that time Twist has been able to fine tune it's DJ roster and perfect it's own unique style of hard dance.

With no promotion whatsoever, just the good old word of mouth, Twist has managed to create the most exciting buzz in the city. Twist is now ready to come of age. Expanding into the full club area
of the brand new, completely refurbished club called Fire.

The London club scene used to be the most exciting in the World, recently however there are calls of "samey", "boring", "Flat". Twist is attempting to offer the Capitol something new, fresh and exciting. The response from anyone who has been there over the previous 4
months is amazing. Twist is gearing up with full on promotion including ads in the press and a CD flyer giveaway.

If you like your clubbing more on the hard side, Twist is ready to to satisfy even the most demanding clubber. Come and experience for yourself the future sound of clubland in
London's newest, sexiest and cleanest underground venue.

Every Saturday night/Sunday morning, 5.30 til late at FIRE, South Lambeth Road, Vauxhall, SW8. (Entrance will now be at the front of the club).

Entry is £5 with flyer, £8 without. After 8am entry is only £5 with or without flyer.

The flyer referred to above is the one below.
First TWIST flyer...

Twist had been running at The Viaduct in Vauxhall from December 2002 under different owenrship, (I write at the end of March 2003), one of the clubs trying to fill the void left by the end of Trade as a weekly event. It had gained a limited following, but the venue (then The Viaduct) needed work, and the new promoters who took over Twist held off on a full-bore launch of their event, until after that work was done.

Well, The Viaduct has now been worked over, and re-branded as "Fire" so this represents both a launch of a new club and a re-launch of a new venue. The distinction isn't that clear in Twist's promotional materials, (see opposite), where the fact that the venue was The Viaduct is completely lost. In fact this was where some reasonably well-known events were taking place, (e.g. Andy Farley and BK's somewhat experimental monthly "Release", now closed, and the straight Saturday night event "Smile", reportedly moved to Bagleys). However, the people behind Twist run the venue, so they've either decided they don't want the associations of the old venue name, or simply have got so caught up in their new club event that they've lost sight of the distinction themselves.

Thankfully, a past tendency to criticise the opposition and the scene has been dropped. From personal experience I think this is the right way to go, as being negative about other clubs or promoters is generally disliked by clubbers; it's much better to accentuate the positive about your own club than cast a downer on the opposition, despite any personal satisfaction this might give.

Though the club has a website address:


there's nothing there yet. They have been busy getting the venue sorted and making all the arrangements for the launch party, but it's time they got something up there for people to see.

Apart from remodeling the venue, they've also used the initial period to get some good residents on board, experimenting and developing relationships that work for them. For instance, Peter Ward was a Trade resident, playing mainly in the Light Lounge, but is an excellent hard dance DJ as well. It's nice to see his talents in that area being recognised by Twist.

I know the guys behind this venture have put a lot of hard work and thought into it and I wish them every success. They're operating in a highly competitive and cut-throat market, with lots of other clubs and promoters wanting their slice of the late-night weekend gay market, including of course experienced club promoter Lawrence Malice, whose new venue, Egg, is scheduled to open later this year.

Some pics from Twist on 13th. April 2003 shown below. I went to London for the Heat event "Evolution", at Turnmills, where EJ Doubell, Spencer Freeland and others were playing music each from a different year up to the present in one room, and the likes of Rachel Auburn and Karim were playing in another, and then popped down to Twist afterwards. I have to say that the best hard dance music I heard that night was at Twist! Peter Ward kicked of with some phenomenal new tunes which even though I was kinda knackered from the previous seven hours, had me up and dancing straight away. His stomping set was followed by more hard mayhem from the other residents. The crowd were so friendly and the atmosphere so great that I stayed 'til the end at noon.

Update 1: June 2003
Attendances at Twist had been low from the opening onwards and in June 2003, the following comment was made in disco damaged, a London newsletter: "We had set off at 7am just to go to Twist @ Fire – it was shut – so Beyond was the default." Apparently the promoters are shutting early - only two hours after it starts! This will only put off the remaining people interested in this club, such as the writer above. The club's website which wasn't up when the club opened - see my comments above - still isn't active months later. What are the people running this event playing at? Given the competitive market and the opening of new clubs and venues, which have been well-publicised and well-run, Twist's promoters can't afford to learn on the job. I hear a bell toll; and it ain't for me!
Update 2: June - August 2003
Shortly after predicting the demise of Twist the gay afterhours club, came news of it's re-birth as a straight club, though the promoters think it's going to work happily as "mixed", appealing then to that part of the gay market which simply wants to hear the music. (I have my doubts about that).

Frantic, who run a number of events in London, were, with dj BK, to have taken a 50% stake in the venue, and Twist was to become Frantic's official after-party. However, the current owners and Frantic could not agree terms and at the last minute, Craig, the promoter of Beyond, Orange, and other London gay events in Vauxhall has invested instead, at the same time transferring some of his events such as AM to Fire, (Saturday mornings) and using Fire as an overflow and afterparty (Later - Sunday afternoons) for Beyond. This has had no direct effect on Twist. However, the club has now been repositioned towards the straight hard dance market, with Twist running as a (sometimes official) afterparty for major hard dance events being held nearby at venues such as The Fridge, (e.g. Twisted) and The Brixton Academy (e.g. Hard House Academy). This may bring more customers in the short-term, though the club has to work hard to build up a reputation with a new audience, who know little if anything about it, and most of the promotional work done to date with the gay market has therefore largely been wasted. There is a further problem, perhaps again reflecting a decline in interest in hard house, in that The Fridge will by the end of the summer cease to run hard dance events.

Starting August 2003, along with a shift in target market from the gay scene to the mixed clubbing scene, has come a change in DJs and bookings policy. Out has gone the single line-up of residents headed by big name Pete Wardman, who was sacked at short-notice, (big name didn't on its own bring in the punters?) and in has come a range of big name guests, of the likes of Ian M, Paul Glazby, EJ Doubell, and Karim, one each week, to compliment the residents headed up by Peter Ward. Soon afterwards the additional residents coalesced around Ting, Danny Gilligan and Don Grant.

*Ting* at Twist in November 2003

Each guest is usually booked after he or she has played earlier that night at a nearby major event, which may or may not have appeal to the clubbers. IanM played early in August and Glazby played there on August 11th. - see pics below. EJ Doubell and Karim played later that month.

Karim about to twist the knobs at Twist in August 2003

However August is the most popular time for holidays both with students and others, as well as for some major events such as Creamfields, London Pride, Brighton Pride and Manchester Mardi Gras. To make it easier for clubbers to get to the club after the main events, Twist is laying on a free double decker bus to bring them over from the other venues.

August may be a bad choice of time to launch a major change such as this. Initially it looks as though numbers have improved a bit, but not yet enough to have the promoters laughing all the way to the bank. If the current policies remain in situ through September, they should know by then whether or not these changes have worked. Certainly it would appear that the degree of sheer hard graft and expense to attract clubbers to an unknown club has been significantly underestimated, a mistake easily made in the club promoting business.

By the start of the clubbing season, October 2003, numbers had improved and the club was pulling in a regular 400 - 500 punters. The lighting was improved further and Mrs. Wood and Rod Towns joined as residents playing in the second room, Mrs Wood having first re-emerged after another new but unsuccessful club ff:reloaded had coaxed her out of retirement.

There seems to be a lot of on-the-job learning still going on here with some lessons being learnt very slowly - e.g. as of August 2003, there's still no website! (later info suggested that the promoters decided not to create a website until they knew that the club was successful. Either money was tight or they had little confidence in a website acting as a useful promotional tool).

Update 3: November 2003

"Mrs. Woods laundry" - aka the second room

The club isn't yet at full potential, and despite having developed regular good attendances, the place has a bit of an unfulfilled feeling about it. It lacks a certain cosiness, and the regular change in clientele, due it being an after-party for whatever major hard dance event is on locally, makes it difficult for it to generate a good atmosphere for those who want to use it as their regular club. That of course would matter very little if you're visiting London and want somewhere to go after you've been out on a Saturday night.

The music policy remains mind-numbingly hard, with none of the finesse that Trade had developed in developing the energy hour on hour. Still Twist is out of the financial danger zone for now, which gives the promoters a chance to catch their breaths and think about what they want to do next.

Update: December 2003
Twist is now full fairly regularly. The club celebrated it's first birthday in December and claims the attendance was 750. This has been achieved through a constant stream of message posting on hard dance web board HarderFaster, and flyering. Little else in the way of advertising was used. The crucial factor seems to have been the club's promoter Steve's, relentless networking with clubbers either through HarderFaster, or through his visits to other clubs.

The club's door prices were kept low, and discounts and free entry passes have been frequently used to entice clubbers to visit and see how they enjoy the place. These people then posted their opinions on the web boards and a positive feedback cycle of word-of-mouth started.

Craig was also responsible for improvements to the club's decor, with lasers, glitter balls and a spectacular wall of twinkling lights being added to the main room over the weeks. the second room however has remained neglected.

The club is still developing, and right now it's claiming to be playing "cutting-edge" music and to have the new up and coming stars of the future, though the music policy is still unsettled - a new series of more experimental sounds in the second room was touted for the future, with the possibility that if these styles proved popular they might then be incorporated into the main room.

The club's promoter, Steve D., also says he has been considering moving the club, and may be developing plans to develop larger scale events under the Twist brand at venues other than Fire. A paying membership scheme is due to start in 2004, which offers six free CDs and other goodies to clubbers, perhaps aiming to develop a market offering based on a "clubbing lifestyle". We shall see. There seem to be lots of twists in Twist's story. Stay posted.
Twist Pics: 11th. August 2003
  Hugh playing at Later, the Beyond afterparty which runs after Twist ends.
Lances says "skinsies" to his mates at the Gold Coast. Lance with Paul Glazby at Twist.
Twist Pics: 13th. April 2003
Bam Bam  & DJ Yoko Spinning
Boyz photographer at work photographing Boys!
DJ Andy Simpson
DJ Peter Ward
Door Whore Davinia Damage
A pause in the tornado that is TWIST
Guys are very friendly at TWIST!

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