Anomaly 3/11/18 – Good news doesn’t make much of a story.

If you can’t be bothered to read my meandering thoughts that follow, all you need to know is that this was a brilliant night and you need to get to the next one!

Anomaly has built an enviable reputation for putting on excellent events, this is my view of how they have done this.

Let’s start with their tagline “For the Clubbers”.

It’s well chosen because Richard, Kate, Emma, and their team clearly care about the people who come through the door and have considered their needs.. This is apparent from the warm welcome as you walk in to the thanks as you leave.

You’re hungry? There’s a burger van outside.

You’re hot with a dry mouth that tastes like the bottom of the parrot’s cage? There’s a freezer full of “Life Saver” Ice Pops, just help yourself.

You’ve stupidly left your fan in your hotel room? We’ll lend you one.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Nicholson

You need to leave the venue for a while? No problem, as long as you have your wristband you can come and go as you please.

Having a “moment”? There will be people all around you eager to help you through it.

This is proper old fashioned customer service, it reminds me of the Total Quality Management ethos of the 1980’s, which was based on the idea that it’s not enough to merely satisfy the customer, but instead one should always strive to delight them. This creates a pervasive attitude among the rest of the staff, doormen friendly with a light touch and bar staff who serve you with a smile.

This is not something that you can fake or manufacture, it can only come out of genuine feelings of, dare I say it, love for what you are doing and the people you are doing it for. People recognise this and although I have no doubt that it’s not why they do things they way that they do, it’s given Rich and Kate the well deserved reputation and success that they now enjoy.

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

Having dealt with the most important factor, there are other things to consider.

The venue:

Pleasant bar area with a few seats to have a rest, enough space and quiet enough to have a catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Entity Arena, AKA the main room: Big enough to have room to dance, small enough to have an intimate feel to it. If you can get to the front you are close enough to shake hands with the DJ, raised podium to have a dance on and look down on the floor. Gets a bit hot when it’s full.

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

The Sweatbox: Aptly named, dark, low ceilinged intimate space where you can get up close and personal with the DJ. Don’t jump too high or you will bash your head on the ceiling! I absolutely love this kind of room, it takes me back to happy memories of smaller clubs 25 years ago.

The Tunnel: High ceilinged space under a railway arch, cooler than the other two rooms, raised DJ booth, has a good vibe of its own.

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

Smoking area: Gets a bit crowded at times, mind the steps as you go back inside!

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

Toilets: Adequate, better than many I have experienced.

Overall I really like the venue, the rooms are close together and it contributes to the atmosphere of the event. I fear that it may not be long before Anomaly outgrows it and they will have a real challenge to find a bigger home with as good a vibe to it.

The music:

Three rooms, brilliant lineup, I had made a plan, I couldn’t stick to it.

The first couple of hours passed very quickly chatting to people, caught a bit of The Stupid Experts, a pleasant way to start off.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Nicholson

Then Rich Miller (in the Sweatbox), I had missed his set last time so this was the first time I had actually seen him play. Hard as nails, melodic moments, had the whole room jumping from start to finish. Strong contender for set of the night.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Nicholson

Janine CK, (also in the Sweatbox) I have seen her quite a few times now, with every set she has grown in confidence and stature and this was no exception. Carried on in the same vein as Rich, and well worth missing the first hour of the headliner’s set. Bonus points for giving us a “Whoop, whoop whoop whooop! Joyenergizer moment. Her recently announced Anomaly residency is a well deserved accolade.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Nicholson

Craig Connelly (Main room). After a quick breather to cool down from the intensity of the previous couple of hours this was a welcome change of pace. You know what to expect from Craig, and he delivered an uplifting set with plenty of emotion and sing along moments. I particularly liked the remix of Kearney/Novelli’s “By My Side” that he played, the track is special for me as one of the first new songs that really moved me when I returned to clubbing a couple of years ago.

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

Somehow we managed to miss all three hours of Andrea Ribeca’s set, where the hour went after Craig’s set finished is a mystery to me!

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

OTS contributor Rob McGeechan (Tunnel), Classics, well judged for the time of the night, hard enough to keep the energy levels up. Second Joyenergizer moment (love that tune), a couple of sing along moments.

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

Shugz (Main Room). Banging set to end the event, he is another DJ that you know exactly what you will get and he certainly didn’t disappoint.

Photo Credit: Craig Heritage

So that was it, a nice bonus was a free TDV20 memorial CD which was perfect for the drive home and includes a cracking remix of my favourite TDV tune “The Dawn”

But wait…. There’s more: Anomaly Afterdark, the afterparty.

The walk to the secret location was a bit longer than expected, the light drizzle, refreshing at first, dampening our mood as we traversed the streets of an increasingly alarming post-industrial wasteland. Loud voices in the street ahead gave us the hope that we were getting close to our destination. This hope was soon to be dashed as we came across a group of casualties from an RnB event, some were sitting on the wet tarmac and all were having a discussion in a language completely incomprehensible to me. We picked up our pace as they looked suspiciously in our direction and I gave them a polite high anglican nod as we passed briskly on the other side of the street with concerns running through out heads that we might become a tragic statistic, victims of yet another senseless cocaine fuelled stabbing, because “Youse looking at me bird innit?” Huge apologies for the monstrous stereotype, but my experiences of aficionados of that music have rarely been positive ones when I have accidentally found myself in their company.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Nicholson

Soon enough we arrived at the Basement. It’s….. a basement! Comfortable seats, wall hangings, a delightful feel of afterparties at random peoples houses 20 years ago. OTS boss Liz was playing as we arrived and it was the perfect set to start an afterparty, putting some bounce back into tired legs and a smile on the face.

I have to admit that I have no idea who followed Liz, but they kept us dancing until the call of the bed in our hotel room became too loud to ignore.

In conversation with Kate, she told me that their aim was to recapture the feel of the best of the raves of the late 1990’s. I have to say that for me they have absolutely nailed it.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Nicholson

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