Back in June, DJ Mag headed to Bristol to review Alfresco Disco's 10 year anniversary party with Eats Everything, Bill Brewster and more. Now we've nabbed the exclusive aftermovie from the incredible event — watch the full video premiere and read our review below.
Alfresco Disco's next party, Alfresco Disco presents Tunnel Vision, is on 17th October in Bristol. It's set to sell out so get cracking! More information here.
“The first party we ever had was under this bridge on the outskirts of Bristol. I don’t really remember what happened, but we must have done something right, because here we are!” Tom Hodgson — one of the founding members of party crew, Alfresco Disco — smiles at DJ Mag across a lager.
We’re currently holed up in a converted ice cream parlour on the British coast, about a 40-minute drive from Bristol’s town centre. In typical UK fashion, the weather has been less than compliant, as thick sheets of rain lash against the windows on the bleak shores of cookie-cutter coastal town, Weston-Super-Mare.
It’s not the type of place your typical house-loving hipster would normally gravitate to, but with the promise of trusted promoter Alfresco Disco’s biggest party to date, Bristol’s trendy twenty-somethings are out in force.
Bastions of “the secret party” since the mid noughties, promoters Alfresco Disco have got their namesake formula down pat. They’ve hosted sold-out rave-ups in the most unusual of locations — think outdoor fitness centres, abandoned quarries and musty country manors — spearheaded by a crafty collective of DJs (the Alfresco Disco DJs) and an overarching (and usually fancy dress-related) theme. The theme for today is “the ‘90s”, with the tight knit crew, that has expanded from two organisers to six since it started in '05, set to celebrate a successful decade in the rave game.
Thanks to 10 years of devoted attendance, the crowd at Alfresco Disco take their dress-up seriously. As DJ Mag scans the crowd, parachute silk reigns supreme, donned in a range of chalky pastel shades, as sweat from our own repurposed '90s skiwear starts to drip down our backs. There’s no time to strip off, as we’re soon ushered out of the parlour and on to the town’s central pier — as it turns out, ice cream was only the entrée.
A brisk stroll along the boardwalk and the real party venue is revealed: a kitsch and fully functioning theme party perched — somewhat precariously — at the end of the pier. The chunky groove of authentic '90s house jam ‘Reach for Me’ by Funky Green Dogs From Outer Space (Murk, 1998) is blaring as we enter, whilst a bevy of brave punters oscillate on vomit-inducing rides above our heads.
Starting a party early has long been the holy grail of raving (Alfresco’s 10-year celebration starts at 5pm and is set to finish by 3am), with the entire guest list bussed in via convoy from Bristol’s centre. It’s not the first time Tom and the Alfresco Disco gang have kept guests in the dark, usually keeping party locations secret until the day.
It’s this kind of loving, hands-on curation that's made Alfresco Disco so enduring, tapping into a similar format to that of “free parties” in the early '90s; the kind you'd find out about from a phone box on the side of the M25.
Back on the dancefloor, white gloves are reaching for the sky and fluoro whistles are screeching, as respected DJ, producer and author Bill Brewster steps up in Alfresco’s second room. All white wooden panels and circular tables, it’s somewhat reminiscent of a wedding reception as Brewster’s free flowing disco-cum-house starts to belt out across the floor.
A remix of Black Strobe’s 'Boogie In Zero Gravity' gets a look in, before Tom gets on the mic to scream “Girls on shoulders! That’s how we do it at Alfresco Disco” over a barely distinguishable hip-hop beat. Girls are hoisted into the air en masse as frigid rain slams against sheet glass, creating the kind of intimate, never-forget-it atmosphere no amount of glossy production can replicate — big budget festivals take note!
DJ Mag’s feet are soon planted back on solid ground — after we enjoy a bumpy, two-song rotation on the shoulders of a man strongly resembling The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air — and we leg it to catch closing sets from A Guy Called Gerald and Bristol local, Eats Everything. Best known for his indomitable techno hit ‘Voodoo Ray', Gerald keeps it stripped down,mechanic and propulsive, before fellow legend Bez takes the stage for a spot of enthusiastic MCing.
Eats Everything — jovial as ever — is tasked with closing the main room, as lasers bounce off the shiny lacquered surfaces of the now-shutdown rides. It’s a masterful combination of house music's vintage best, including (naturally) Inner City classic 'Good Life', before we slip away quietly to hail down the first convoy of buses back to the city.
As we step up on to the double decker, the penultimate tune humming from the rainy pier couldn’t be more appropriate. It's Armand Van Helden's remix of 'Professional Widow', the cherry on top of what's been the hands-down best birthday bash we've ever been to.
Photos: Khris Cowley at Here & Now
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.