Signs Of Life “Up West”?

P&SIt wasn’t as long ago as it seems, but the West End was an area with a thriving creative and underground music scene. Whether dancing during the afternoon at Crackers, taking in the cutting edge live music at the 100 Club or Astoria, witnessing some of the finest underground dance music at Bar Rumba, Milk Bar and Velvet Underground, Soho and the surrounding area were the places to be. This seems a long time ago now as almost all of the venues are no longer with us, partly due to the TFL projects, others not having the traffic passing through and venues panicing into following the big commercial players in the west end and offering a generic sound track that tourists can be swept up and into.

Anyway, rant this is not, as over the last few months we have noticed a few events popping up including a brand new night at the Edition Hotel called Hi-Definition with Severino (Horse Meat Disco), Stuart Patterson and Tim Keenoy as residents (more from us on this event in the near future). But one venue is doing what it can to offer a haven in Soho to all who want to avoid the commercial fodder and a programme that would not be unwelcome in any part of London.

It is venues that underestimate peoples capacity to enjoy a wide range of music and the presumption everyone will go home if the a certain top 10 ‘banger’ isn’t played.

This venue Bitter Sweet, since the latter stages of 2013, has welcomed DJs Stuart Patterson, Foxx, Sophie Lloyd, Chloe Fontaine, Spin Doctor, Kid Kaneval, Phoebe D’Abo, Shaun Samuel and more. Just recently their new look programme consists of Friday nights being taken over by London’s premier hip hop party starters The Doctors Orders and their OG Lounge, a night of classic Hip Hop and its roots, and Saturdays focus on house, with sprinklings of the genres that helped define the house sound. A recent visit to Sole Symphony on a Saturday with Shaun Samuel (Dope Disco resident at Jazz Cafe) and Soul Provyder behind the decks highlighted the fact that even though the venue still attracted its fair share of people, not specifically there for the DJs or music, everyone in attendance was fully immersed into the sound and vibe created by the DJs. It is venues that underestimate peoples capacity to enjoy a wide range of music and the presumption everyone will go home if the a certain top 10 ‘banger’ isn’t played.

There is no denying that with some ‘trendy areas’ slipping into the generic set up that has been the downfall of the west end itself in years gone by, maybe the non London residents who would make a bee line for the centre are now heading elsewhere. Maybe the strides taken by Bitter Sweet and Hi-Definition at The Edition are going to be the tip of the iceberg and more will follow. Seeing Soho and some of the quality spaces in the centre offering new forward thinking programmes is quite an exciting prospect.

Who knows what the future has in store, many I am sure are watching whether these venues succeed in their offerings, ready to follow suit and mirror what they are doing and chasing the money. Either way, new nights and options for central London are always welcome and maybe the days of heading ‘up West’ are on their way back for those after a little something underground.

Check out Bitter Sweet on Facebook and Twitter for all the upcoming information on events.

This weekend –
Friday 21st March – OG Lounge from The Doctors Orders – TICKETS
Saturday 22nd March – Shaken Presents…Phoebe D’Abo (6 hour set) – GUEST LIST