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
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
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
The flyer referred to above is the one below.
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
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
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
|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!
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).
Update 2: June
- August 2003
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.
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
EJ Doubell, and Karim,
one each week, to compliment the residents headed up by
Ward. Soon afterwards the additional residents coalesced
around Ting, Danny Gilligan
and Don Grant.
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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
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