Anthem at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Review by Andy Wetson (Organiser)

For 18 years I have promoted gay club nights in south London (It was this very month in 1998 that the Father Red Cap Chill-Out started its weekly run, which of course, a year later, became S.L.A.G.S/Chill-Out at the RVT, which ran for an amazing 15 years). I launched ANTHEM - OLD SKOOL REUNION more than 6 years ago at the RVT. I can honestly say, in all that time, I have never been more pleased with (or proud of) an event I have put on than last night's ANTHEM - OLD SKOOL REUNION: Hi-NRG. That is how special it was. I want to go back and do it all again, right now, it was that much fun - even with this banging hangover!

As I had been keen to mix up the ANTHEM format a little (the 90s and 00s nights had become predictable, I felt), an idea Marc Andrews had come to me with more than a year ago, a night of 80s gay underground and classic Hi-NRG, seemed an excellent one. But how to make this theme work to cater for both the 50-somethings and the 30-somethings was the challenge. Well I think our 3 DJs got it just right last night. It was perfect from start to finish.

Marc Andrews played an absolute blinder, in a true Heaven Pride night party circa-1990 style - with all the tracks he was known to play at the Market Tavern and at Heaven. His layering, teasing and sampling, as ever, was so clever. And Dave Simmons and Don Grant knocked it out of the park with a rocking post-show set that saw the Tavern stay busy right till close at 5 (I have not seen the venue stay quite as busy, that long, in a while!). A capacity club by 10.30pm that stayed packed till lights up. Very pleasing indeed.

The most rewarding part of last night was being thanked by many people who had so enjoyed it. That's the perfect reward for putting on a party like that, when you see how very into it some of the customers are. There were several dedicated Hi-NRG die-hards in the house. I was delighted to see that.

A true team effort made last night the fabulous party it was. HUGE thanks to our wonderful PAs, Hazell Dean who was just sensational and a true pro, plus Ross Alexander who was fabulously entertaining (and 'wow' those hot dancers!). Thanks to Simon Le Vans for introducing the PAs, setting up and finishing installing the fabulous new lighting rig and smoke machine (thanks also to Liam Chaplin). Special thanks and love to Jason Rvt Dickie for being the excellent manager he always is (he celebrates an astonishing 20 years at the RVT this month!). Cheers to our wonderful host Pieers Lewis and standing in for the poorly Pippa, Andrew Springate provided extra glamour on the door. Big props to the Vauxhall Tavern's super-friendly bar and door staff.

Finally, and most importantly, thanks to those who attended and partied. To those who didn't, you missed a really quite exceptional one.

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