Gwen Angood caught sets from Dimitri From Paris, David Morales and Simon Dunmore at one of Glitterbox's best parties to date.
Last updated: 16th Mar 2017
Image credit: Gavin Mills
As the season of spring slowly awakens the world after a long, sleepy winter, we'd challenge you to find something more refreshing, bedazzling and inspiring to refresh your tired soul than the most recent Glitterbox installment at Ministry of Sound, London.
Certainly their most epic party to date, Glitterbox and their troop of colourful, alternative performers descended upon the capital, setting off on a high and finishing somewhere in a far away galaxy of glitter and debauchery – a great place to find yourself early on a Sunday morning. Thrilled to be present for their highly-anticipated return to London for 2017, we donned our most extravagant sequin leotards and headed down early to get our teeth straight into a night of sparkly shenanigans to the finest house and disco soundtrack.
The adventure began on Saturday night, with 'Glitterboss' Simon Dunmore welcoming us all to a fabulous Defected-infused session in 103. Hearing the familiar vocals of Loleatta Holloway as 'Love Sensation' fills the room; we headed straight to the epicentre of what was already a storm of dancers despite it still being very early doors.
It was clear that Dunmore wasn't here for a typical warm-up set, heading straight into a selection of high energy, classic tracks – a sign that Glitterbox was going to be energetic from the off. With no hint procrastination, he presented us with delights such as 'Salsoul Nugget' (If You Wanna) by M&S feat. The Girl Next Door and Chic's 'I Want Your Love' within the very first hour.
It was an absolute frenzy of party-goers, sporting the most creative sequin-clad outfits, adorned with glitter and a huge amount of individual style. Looking around, the demographic was typical of disco – happy people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities leaving all of life's stresses at the door and partying on like they'd known each other for a lifetime.
As we started grooving with a group of ladies sporting some quirky metallic headdresses, we realised they'd acquired these by means of the fantastic Glitterbox performers, who were making their way through the crowd, socialising and interacting with the revellers on the dance floor and providing a few of us with some phenomenal props to wear for the rest of the night.
This interactive aspect of performance was indeed generating excitement, making us feel that Glitterbox was about everyone being involved and feeling a part of one big theatrical performance. As we continued up into the Loft bar, the inclusive, intimate atmosphere really enveloped us – the sounds getting funky and the dancing getting low.
There was a distinct festival vibe in here, the music policy eclectic, with opportunity to enjoy a drink and relax or dance to your heart's content. People were mingling together, the sound was good and there was a hint of Warhol's infamous Loft Parties in the air as the mix of characters and personalities in the room generated a unique, flamboyant atmosphere.
At the strike of midnight, the party escalated to the next level with the opening of The Box. Dimitri From Paris took to the stage and the mighty Dolby Atmos sound installation. Having seen Dimitri play at a relatively recent event, it would have been safe to say that we expected somewhat of a repeat performance – however this set was one of his finest – involving some wonderful surprises as well as some of of his own classic re-edits.
The sound of ‘My Old Piano’ by Diana Ross had us gravitating towards the front of the room, by the stage, where we joined forces with some other huge Diana fans in a sing-along. Hearing this track emitted from such a high quality sound outlet was phenomenal – each hit of the piano made you tingle, it sounded so fresh – so relevant to today’s dance floor, although looking around, you could have sworn it was 1970s New York.
All of a sudden, as the lights dipped and the trademark neon haze of Glitterbox coloured the room, a sparkly, scantily-clad troop of dancers appeared on the platform in front of us to the wows of the crowd. Immediately, we felt immersed in this, as if we’d been dunked head first into disco. Not just in the sense of the musical genre, but the scene itself. Here we were, surrounded by creativity, spontaneity, fun and fabulousness.
Dimitri was in heaven behind the decks; we particularly observed the way he got so involved with the music, the crowd, the performers and enjoyed this aspect to his delivery. As we all lifted up on a high, so did his set. Removing his red blazer in response to the heat being generated in this pulsating disco box, he wiped his brow and gave us a smile – suggesting he was not done with us yet and there was more to come. Indeed there was.
‘At Midnight’ by T-Connection was one of the highlights of the set, as we were surrounded by performers, engaging with us on a one-on–one level. We felt as if we were on another planet down there at the front. Returning back to planet earth after all this was beginning to feel like a dreadful option. Pumping our fists into the air and singing along to the chorus, we knew we’d be staying here for as long as possible.
Handing over the helm to David Morales at 3am (it honestly felt like mid-day, we absorbed so much energy from the whole production), Dimitri bowed out on an absolute high. Morales was not in the mood for letting things drop, heading straight in with acid house classic ‘Where Love Lives’ by Alison Limerick. This sounded exceptionally good - uplifting and powerful, familiar but full of soul. After being embraced by disco, it was now time to dive in to some four-to-the-floor driven house edits, vocal classics and dance floor shakers.
'Just Another Groove' by the Mighty Dub Katz sounded sensational – things felt summery and exotic, just like the scenes at Glitterbox Ibiza last season. From then on, the party exploded like a glitter cannon. Morales was on top form. The energy emanating from him on the stage was awe-inspiring, as relentlessly turned up the volume, the tempo and the heat.
At this time in the morning, it’s often appealing to wind down for a disco break before heading back for the closing sets, however Morales had this gravitational pull that beckoned us to stay in the room. He treated us to his trademark ‘Morales tease’ as it’s fondly known by us, where he presents a slick layer of a well-loved track over the main play, before making it disappear like the wind. The crowd loved this – particularly the snippet of ‘The Bull’ by The Mike Theodore Orchestra – leaving us desperate for more. Sylvester’s ‘Mighty Real’ also featured in this way before being showcased in its entirety.
The dance floor became a very intense, intimate place to be as Morales took things through the ceiling with what we debated to be his best ever set from us. Things really peaked as the gorgeous Glitterbox performers joined him in the box, he whipped his shirt off and drops the enormous ‘Don’t You Want My Love’ by Debbie Jacobs. This was the pinnacle of the entire event as the whole club bounced into a frenzy. Having watched this moment back on video since, it’s impossible not to place yourself back there, remembering how amazing it felt to be a part of that moment.
Towards the end of the night, hugging one of the performers in appreciation of the amazing journey we’d been on together for the last few hours, we felt that we had totally been a part of this experience. Geraldine Hunt’s ‘Cant Fake The Feeling’ raised the roof off the room as Morales gave it his all right until the very end. As we left the club to a hint of sunrise, we observed the copious amounts of glitter and ticker tape covering the streets of Elephant & Castle, adding to a feeling of elation and positivity.
Defected Records have been hosting Glitterbox parties for a while now, and it’s safe to say they have got the recipe absolutely spot on. There are a few nights now curated specially portray the highlights of the disco era and simulate this unique scene – many inspired by events at Studio54, The Gallery and The Loft.
What makes Glitterbox stand out from the rest is that they seem to have really concentrated the elements that matter into one huge extravaganza – the crowd are quirky and the music is infectious. It emanates flamboyance and oozes with individuality. It’s fabulously fun and colourful on one side of the coin, the other a darker, sexy, intimate affair where hedonistic debauchery takes over on the dance floor. Having different rooms offering a selection of relevant sounds rounded the whole experience up – combining classic disco with funk, soul and recent house releases making this night as relevant as ever on the club scene.
Upon our return from London, Glitterbox revealed their partnership with Liverpool Disco Festival in May, as well as announcing their eagerly anticipated return to Ibiza for the 2017 season at Hi. It’s safe to say that we will be back, our sequin catsuits on, for another serving of Glitterbox very soon...