Salvation is a legendary clubbing brand. To those in the know, it reflects Decadence (so we're talking a plushly-fitted club, everyone treated as a VIP, a real sense of occasion), and Carnival (great costumes, astonishing performance on stage, fab atmosphere). We sat Promoter/Director Steve Elliott and owner John Addy in our hotseat to grill them on exactly why people should seek Salvation:
Your club night has been around in different forms since it kicked off in 1998. 10 years on, how has it really changed since its first outing?
John: We’ve become bigger and better - responding to how things have changed on the gay scene by continually evolving our party product to stay ahead of the pack. Two years ago I bought the business started a new company to re-energise Salvation UK.
How has a clubnight that majors on being plush, decadent with a carnival atmosphere fit in at the less-than-decadent Hippodrome?
Steve: Have you been to The Hippodrome? It’s fantastic! We major in clubbing on a grand scale - in a gay scene where club promoters either struggle to fill large venues or simply stuff people under arches, we throw everything we have to make each night stand out. And you can see that in the production values, themes and dancers.
What is it about the music you play that makes Salvation different from other funky house nights?
John: Well, we’ve got Sharon ‘O’ Love for starters who plays sets you won’t ever have heard before in London. She twists funky house to bring it bang up-to-date with the most recent remixes played by stellar djs.
There's discussion across the gay scene about just *how* gay a gay clubnight should be - do you welcome straight men and women into your club? Do you have a majority-gay policy?
Steve: Yes, we do. We attract the best looking crowd of gay men in London and their friends - whatever their persuasion. If it came to people just piling in off Leicester Square, we’d say no, but it never comes to this since we’re always packed to the rafters with a great crowd - and tickets are sold in advance through gay outlets.
The funky house music stops half-way through every Salvation night for a stage performance. The last one took our breath away - and Mark Almond played a part in another. Can you give us a sneak preview clue what the next one will be about?
Steve: Oh that’d spoil the surprise! (laughs)
Oh, go on, go on go on...
We’ve never delivered a dud. If you stop the music you mustn’t kill the atmosphere so these days we focus on one huge carnival explosion that turns up the temperature and gets the party started.
What for you is the greatest highlight in Salvation history?
John: Our move to the Hippodrome – it’s a party that goes off with a bang every time. It brings tears to my eyes to think we’ve got a venue where the likes of Shirley Bassey and Judy Garland have performed. And the Alton Towers weekend was a big splash.
Have you had many celebs on your dancefloor? Any regulars we can expect to see boogying away beside us?
Steve: There’s a rumor that John Barrowman is coming down. In the past we’ve had the likes of Dolce Gabbana, John Paul Gaultier, Rupert Everett, Alexander McQueen, Julian Clary...
Tell us about Salvation DJs who we've probably not heard of but MUST check out.
Steve: You must keep an eye or rather an ear out for DJ Minx, and of course we've had Miswhite too - but I'd say that Sharon O Love is a must. I know she says she's inspired by 'passion enjoying itself' - and this comes through as she connects with artists and producers, and incorporates it into what she plays - so expect some Roger Sanchez, Soulseekers, Jose Nunez, Harry Choo Choo Romero, Full Intention, Bob Sinclair, Jason Herd, Carl Kennedy, David Vendetta, Joey Negro, Jerry Ropero, Thunderpuss, Soul Avengerz, Mouse T, David Morales, Junior Jack...
And finally, a question we ask everyone - have you ever been sick on the tube?
John: I once was accidentally dragged down a tube escalator when a group of people fell down from the top – it didn’t make me sick, but I certainly felt it. These days, all I’m saying is I get cabs!
The next Salvation takes place this Sunday (24th) from 6pm-2am at the London Hippodrome, and will then celebrate its 10th birthday in October. Tickets available through www.salvation-london.com
Image provided by Salvation