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Launch Night at the Crash Club - 9th November 2002

Went to the launch night of the Crash Club despite initially not intending to. As I'd been out pounding the countryside by mountain bike during the day, figured I'd just have a little look-see, a spot of low-intensity bouncing on the dancefloor and an early night. As usual, though, it didn't work out that way.

Easing past the Bouncers

Went down by motorbike instead of the usual taxi, and dropped in at the Grosvenor on the way. Arrived at the club fashionably early, i.e. a bit before 11:00. The Crash theme was evidenced by a car wreck mounted outside the entrance, and for once there was a queue outside the venue. Which was mainly due to the bouncers not letting some people they didn't like the look of in, and the refusee's wanting to argue the toss.

Champagne and an early night?

Inside, both floors were open. Had a quick look at the ground floor, looked a bit crowded so wandered off upstairs. The place was already fairly busy with a mixed crowd, ranging from baggy jeans to full-on cyberglam. At first, the music was skate punk stuff which no-one danced to (well, except for the two misplaced ladies with their champagne in a bucket) and my early night was looking distinctly possible. Rob Zombie made me stay a while longer, though, and Metallica, Sepultura, House of Pain, Foo Fighters and others of their ilk then refused to let me off the dancefloor.

..and then the music stopped....

By about 12:30, the place was packed, fortunately most people appeared to prefer being 15-deep at the bar rather than on the dancefloor. Which was a useful result, as I wasn't drinking anyway and it kept the rest of the space fairly clear. Then the music stopped...

The Woman in Rubber appeared, eating fire

...which turned out to be due to one of those attractions clubs lay on for launch nights. The sudden appearance of a woman dressed in rubber and eating fire gave me an excuse to make it to the bar and grab some water. Which didn't take too long as the crowd there was now magically only about 5-deep, everyone else having gone to watch the show. Over the heads of the crowd I could see tricks like stuffing a nail up the nose and having an audience member hammer it in, putting a chain up one nostril and out the other etc. Having got my water, I made my way back to the dancefloor waiting for the music to start again.

Fire, Steel, Pain. Hot Wax, Blood and Money

Meanwhile, the show went on as the woman borrowed a tenner, produced an industrial stapler and stapled the note to her breast. To prove it was real, she got another audience member to pull it out with his teeth and spot the blood. Guess metal in flesh was her thing, as the next trick involved ten party candles with surgical steel needles attached, and pinning these through her arms, 5-a-side, with the needles going right through. Her assistant lit her up, the lights went down and she waved about like a candelabra for a minute or two. The lights went back up, she doused the flames, pulled the candles out and bled liberally for her art. Overall, a show that would've been more at home in a fetish club, here most of the audience seemed a bit more shocked than appreciative.

Hard Landings

It took the DJ's a while to get the dance floor going again after that, but they did a top job and pretty soon it was getting too packed if anything. A switch to more-moshtastic music fixed that, though, and people scared of bruises vacated the area. No-one got too hurt, and this time my toes survived thanks to the clumpy bike boots. At one point some kid went down and hit the floor hard, and as I descended from a jump discovered his head was right in the landing area. Managed to get my feet apart so as to miss him, but as in parachuting if you don't land feet together it's going to hurt. Which it did. A lot. Being sober didn't help either, so I took myself off to the bar and hoped a couple more bottles of mineral water would dull the pain while my knees, ankles and back reassembled themselves.

The Usual Suspects

The crowd was thinning out a lot by now, and I began to spot more and more of the usual suspects. Jaz from Nightshade (which runs at the same venue) was busy flyering the crowd, top marketing there, and bumped into Tiger who gave me a hug despite the fact I was drenched in sweat.

Friendly Violence

Hobbled back onto the dancefloor, where Metallica and Nickelback made the pain go away. The perk level went to maximum and things were looking good, at least until they played Bon Jovi - I guess that was for the Brighton Rock afficionados. DJ was immediately forgiven the lapse as Anarchy in the UK got an airing, and anarchy reigned the dancefloor in a storm of good-natured violence. Since the floor was by now covered with broken glass, it seemed like a good idea not to get knocked off your feet but it didn't seem to bother the kids there. At least one of them had bandaged his hands, apparently just so he could use them safely on the floor.

Experimental subjects released.

By about 2:30 the place had really thinned out and the dancefloor was reduced to people more or less just nodding along in time to the music. A final blast of moshmetalrapping brought everyone back to life, at least for a while, then the lights went up and the experimental subjects filed their way out of the building.

Into the Night

Into the rain. Oh yes. Lots of miserable looking people huddling under anything that looked vaguely like an overhang, and talked amongst themselves..the word I kept hearing over and over was "taxi". Splashed over to the bike and for once was glad of the electric foot replacing kickstarts. Swapped sweat for rainwater as I tracked catseyes home through inky black countryside, and ended up in the bath with pizza, wine and candles. Mucho pleasure.

Crashing to a Conclusion

All in all, the Crash club was pretty good, especially if you like crowds. The music was about as wideranging as it's possible to get in a rock/metal club, perhaps a bit too wideranging at times in an attempt to give every audience segment their 15 minutes of pleasure. The music downstairs was probably more suitable for people who prefer their music less in your face (Alex from Nightshade reported it as packed and playing PiL). And if you prefer chatting, there are plenty of (relatively) quiet places to do it there - especially on the first floor, where you get a long way from the dancefloor. Definitely one for the diaries, I imagine the next date will soon be up on the Crash Club website.


More information on the venue itself, and other details are on the local Crash Club guide page

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