From its formation in the 1860’s, through being the imperialist Tsar’s favourite tipple, Smirnoff has been a party circuit staple for a long long time.
Its most recent endeavour has seen the brand host an ambitious series of nightlife exchange parties that bring a flavour of one City or Country to another. Last year London had Miami, and this year it was the chance to sample the sound clash delights of downtown Jam Rock (Jamaica) in the Peoples Palace (Alexandra Palace). From the moment we entered you could tell that this was going to be something special…as we were greeted by calypso dancers bearing a complimentary Smirnoff Jamaican Sunrise Cocktail and a baseline kick that took your breath away.
The décor was all beach bars and huts, but your eyes centred on the awesome stage setup that allowed an elevated position for the DJ’s and space underneath for the live acts to work the crowd under the watchful eyes of two lasers, and that was just room one. Hidden away was room two – a true “dance hall” with 15 inch base bins piled high. This was as close as you could get to replicating a Jamaican dancehall outside Jamaica. Deep throbbing bass and a mass of people smiling and throwing their fingers in the air.
Back to the acts in the main room. There was an eclectic mix of dancehall inspired tunes from Rob da Bank , authentic flavours from The Jolly Boys (who have been skanking since the 1940’s), an awesome live set from the evergreen Miss Dynamite and the show stopping Basement Jaxx. One potent party cocktail that had everyone, including recent no1 artist Professor Green (who I have to add is one of the nicest guys in music & was always happy to say hi to a fan) feeling a little tipsy on the atmosphere. As a partygoer you would love more of these events but that might sullen their atmosphere, as it’s a once a year thing it’s something to look forward to…a novelty…no more than that, exclusive perhaps. Everyone was so up for it and everyone I spoke with was having a great time we just did not want it to end at 3am!
To summarise – Smirnoff sure know how to hold an event, I would go to say it’s easily in my top three nights of the year. My only question is – what’s our 2012 exchange going to be and where do I sign up?
Thanks Go out to Emily for the extra, Chloe for the warm welcome and drinks and the beautiful staff at the bar for insisting I have another drink on them !
by Dean McGarry