Anthem–Old Skool Reunion is one of the most popular regular club nights at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern with amazing DJs bringing back the glorious club sounds of the late 80s, 90s and early 00s. It’s always a brilliant night out. This Friday the team are back at The RVT for their Christmas Party and Dave Cross had a catch up with DJ and promoter Andy Almighty to find out about this and their massive New Year’s Day Party.
Hi Andy, let’s imagine there’s someone out there who’s never been to an Anthem Old Skool Party at The RVT, how would you describe it?
Anthem–Old Skool Reunion is, as the name suggests, a party for all those that loved and miss legendary gay club nights such as Love Muscle, Heaven, Trade, Bang, The Market Tavern and the music played from that memorable era of gay clubbing – late 80s through to the 00s. We have four quarterly events with a different theme for each: Hi-NRG, Trance, Almighty and Love Muscle, plus special parties for Christmas and New Year’s Day. Our demographic is mainly aged 40+ although we do get many younger guys with an interest in the music for each event’s theme. The thing I love most about the night is that it really is a reunion of faces from our old clubbing days. A little older, obviously, but most are still very up-for-it and have an undying passion for the music. For the Christmas Party this Friday, myself and Sean will be playing 90s/00s club classics and RVT anthems – mostly requested by the punters themselves. If we played it then and you request it now (in advance), there’s every chance you’ll hear it on the night! Not many promoters offer customer requests. It’s one of Anthem’s great USPs.
How did the idea for Anthem come about and when did you start doing them?
During the 00s I would occasionally hold retrospectives of the Brixton gay club night Love Muscle at The RVT and book my mate, Love Muscle DJ Marc Andrews. These parties were so popular that I decided to expand the idea to become a quarterly club night, to pay homage to the popular discos we used to frequent and the music we used to dance to. I’m proud to say that nearly ten years on from the first event our parties still create a buzz and are packed out. Other gay retro events have come and gone but ours still has a dedicated following. In fact, people travel miles for them. One of my friends, a Love Muscle regular of old, comes over from Spain as often as he can.
On Friday it’s you and Sean DJing, you guys have been working together a long time, how does that add to the vibe of the night and how would you say you differ?
Sean and myself have been DJing together for 20 years, having originally made a name for ourselves at the Father Red Cap’s Chill-Out on Sundays, which, of course, later transferred to The RVT to run for nearly 15 years. He and I have always complemented each other’s musical styles. I play the commercial first half of the night and Sean takes it tougher till the close – all of it uplifting and euphoric. He and I appear to be the only DJs left on the London gay scene still championing that hands-in-the-air NRG/trance sound. Our crowds always lap it up, thankfully.We have different DJs for each Anthem, all relevant to the theme of the night and all who really know their stuff. For our February Hi-NRG party we have Bang/G-A-Y legends Dave Simmons and Don Grant – two DJs I rate very highly.
And there’s a special free CD for the first 100 customers, what’s on that?
Last year’s was a mixed medley of classic Steps remixes which was received very well. This year’s is a mixed medley of Cher dance remixes. Needless to say, it’s camp! It has been mixed by a mate of mine, David Strong, another DJ from another much-missed London gay club night, Limelight’s Gay Tea Dance. These discs are produced in small quantities and are given away to the first through the door. As it’s Christmas I’ve produced 100 of the Cher CD, so most should get one.
Will there be some festive musical treats on the night?
I might spin my 7th Heaven remix of Kylie Minogue with Dannii Minogue’s ‘100 Degrees’, that’s Christmassy. We also have a snow machine and Christmas decorations. I always think The RVT looks like Santa’s grotto when fully decorated.
And Anthem is back on NYD, can you tell us about this?
Yes, we have a special Anthem Old Skool Reunion–Retro New Year’s Day party, with Simon Le Vans, Sean Sirrs and myself DJing total retro sets plus a PA from legendary house diva Katherine Ellis. New Year’s Day events are always fun. This should be especially so. We open at 3pm and run till midnight.