Elrow Presents returned to Studio 338 on Saturday, February 27th to present The Trip for the first time in the UK. nspired by the psychedelic sixties, an iconic era of free-love and hedonism, special guests were Edu Imbernon, Eats Everything, wAFF and Robert James alongside residents De la swing, Andres Campo and Lukas. Deirdre Chambers was there.
They hugged, kissed, peace singed and fist pumped the absolute shit out of the ‘Summer of Love’ theme.
I would just like to make one thing clear before we go any further. This is not going to be another dry event review scrutinising a venue’s sound quality, nor a dissection of every track/mix/synth interchange played through it. This is a quick 411 of my experience at one of the dance music’s most recognisable and successful parties – The mighty Elrow and their Summer of Love party at London’s Studio 338.
Now then. Studio 338 is one of those venue’s whose reputation precedes it, in that everyone you talk to has a somewhat strong opinion of it - almost all referencing ‘the crowd’. So it’s fair to say it’s a venue I haven’t been desperate to check out up to now, however when the opportunity came up to swing by Elrow for their Summer of Love party, I was keen – not only to form my own opinion on the most talked about club in London, but also because Elrow is Elrow and I am more than a little partial to a pair of flares and John Lennon-esque sunglasses. Upon arrival, I was really impressed by the venue’s door and entrance policy, the sea of 6ft doormen seeming to delight in patting down wave after wave of preened have-a-go hippies and getting them through the door and into the ensuing madness at a rate of knots.
And so on to the crowd - yeah, they were young, yeah, they were what can be described as ‘Essex’ and yes, a lot of them did look the same, but it wasn’t the general appearance that struck me the most - it was the wall to wall good vibes. No matter where you looked, the whole club and vast terrace space was a sea of smiling faces and general appreciation for the party. As wAFF dropped banger into banger and the production budget was shot through the air in the form of confetti, or strolled through the crowds as stilted 10ft hippies with picket sings (not even an exaggeration) the crowd went nuts! They hugged, kissed, peace singed and fist pumped the absolute shit out of the ‘Summer of Love’ theme, embracing every beat and inflatable thrown their way – and there I was in the middle of it baffled and a little bewildered, but for a few short hours, I was one of them - And I fucking loved it. Man.
No other promoter in London - or Europe for that matter - has the ability to throw parties that match the Elrow vibe. With their Barcelona events now acting as a right of passage for any rave enthusiast worth their salt and the Space Ibiza events quickly following suit, all eyes on are on London as Elrow size us up as their next key territory. Now having seen it for myself, I can safely say it’s something we, as Londoners, should get behind. There is a serious lack of imagination amongst a lot of UK promoters at the moment, with full priority going to the line up and while that is massively important, Elrow goes to show that vibes also sell tickets too and finding the balance is the winning formula to selling out show after show with smiley happy ravers. Big up Elrow!
Next up for Elrow in London is a three-day weekender at Shoreditch’s Village Underground from Friday, April 1st to Sunday, April 3rd with a Far West theme. For tickets and details go here
Images by Khris Cowley - Here & Now.