This Friday (8 Mar) there’s a definite sense of time travel at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern when promoter and DJ Mike Kelly brings Frankie Goes To Vauxhall to the Boyz award-winning venue. This club night will recreate the clubbing vibe of the 80s both in music and vibe and Dave Cross spoke to Mike to find out exactly what Frankie says?
Hi Mike, can you sum up Frankie Goes To Vauxhall in one sentence?
An 80s synthpop, new wave and trash disco, leading disco dollies to a life of vice at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern…
Can you tells us something about who you are?
I learnt to DJ back in 2010 so I could start a night playing electro-clash stuff from Crystal Castles and Peaches to the gays – Shake Yer Dix. It was music I wasn’t hearing out anywhere else, but wanted to dance to. About thirty people turned out for the first night – I managed to choose the coldest night of the year in November with temperatures well below freezing, but the night built up through word-of-mouth and finished up six years later on both floors of Dalston Superstore. Now I’m half of Douchebag – a night playing wonky pop from the likes of Kim Petras, Robyn and John Grant in Bethnal Green and I started Pink Glove, a queer indie disco for common people at The Chateau in Camberwell. I’m also a resident at two of my fave London bars, Retro Bar in town and The Cock Tavern in Kennington. The pinnacle of my DJ career to date is still mixing Cilla Black into Joy Division at Retro for Halloween 2018!
What can we expect on Friday?
A night of dark hits, cult classics and queer anthems with a bit of gay 80s bent. You will hear acts like Yazoo, The Human League, Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club, The Communards, Bronski Beat, Altered Images, The Cure, Depeche Mode and some early Madonna. We’ll be playing all the big tracks from the era as well as some that are great, but aren’t played out so much – think You Are My World by The Communards, Give Me Tonight by Shannon and Bedsitter by Soft Cell. And obviously some tracks from our namesakes Frankie Goes To Hollywood!
You also say there will be some trash, can you give us some examples of what you mean by that?
Yeah, stuff that’s playful, outrageous and a bit attention-seeking, but not in a wedding disco kind of way. We’re thinking Divine, Man 2 Man, Adam Ant, Dead or Alive, The Flirts and Bananarama… sorry Siobhan, Keren and Sara – we love you!
Can you tell us about the other DJ, Tom of Swindon?
We met years ago through mutual friends and both have a taste for 80s music, electropop and a bit of dark disco. Tom’s played at loads of famous gay London parties over the years and has his own club nights Garbage Basement and the legendary Attack of the 50ft Belinda Carlisle.
Why did you pick The RVT for this party?
It’s got a great sense of history from stuff like Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana’s incognito trip there in the 80s. We were going for a dark, sweaty 80s vibe and from what we’ve seen, the RVT has definitely lived through that so we were chuffed when they agreed to host the night. Plus from previous DJ gigs there we know it’s a got an amazingly powerful smoke machine.
What’s next after this?
Who knows! If Friday goes well and we manage to keep a grip on the smoke machine controls and get some people down, we’d definitely be up for having a chat with The RVT about Frankie Mark II…
Tickets are £6 from vauxhalltavern.com
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, vauxhall, SE11.