As part of their ongoing new Friday night clubs, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern played host to a whirlwind of power ballads and soft rock a couple of months. This Friday, the meaningfully titled 'We Built This Speedwagon On A Prayer' returns to our favourite club in a pub with inflatable guitars and mullets aplenty. If you love rocking out to a bit of Meatloaf, Bon Jovi or even a bit of Cher, you don't want to be anywhere else this weekend. We caught up with promoter Baylen ahead of the night to let you know exactly what you should be expecting.
When and why did you set We Built This Speedwagon On A Prayer up?
We had our first one in May. It was meant to be a one off but everyone had such a good time and have been asking us when the next one was, so we thought why not, lets go! We originally did it because it seems every other type of music genre is catered for except some good ole soft rock. You do get the odd classic thrown in at other nights, but there was nothing out there on the scene where you could go and really just indulge in the glory that is Soft Rock. A lot of the crowd on that first night came because it was a bit of a novelty, and admitted later that they didn't really think they were going to be that into it, but those were the ones that were there til the end screaming for more! I think sometimes it's easy to forget just how much great music falls into the soft rock genre, so we like to remind people.
Who are your DJs? What do they do in the real world?
It's a group of us who are all really close anyway, so it made sense to do it together. There's me, and I work on-air at BBC London and Radio 2, and also DJ around other Vauxhall venues. Then there is Lucio who is well known to the pop crowd because he presented the chart show hit40uk for years, and his own show on Capital, now you can hear him on Absolute Radio. He also pops up at PopStarz behind the decks from time to time. There's Chris Woo who is a big mover and shaker behind the scenes in the music world. He manages producers and artists who have been responsible for some of the biggest hits in recent years. He's had his finger in all sorts of pop pies - the likes of La Roux, Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson to name but a few. So we all come from different musical places but find common ground with Rock.
So what is it about soft rock that makes it so special?
We have a very strict music policy of Soft Rock, Yacht Rock, 80s & 90s rock, and plain ole RockRock! Basically anything with rock in it's description and we are all about it. I think sticking so closely to the music policy is what makes it special. There is nothing worse than getting all geared up for a night that promises one thing and chickens out half way through and delivers something else. With Speedwagon you get exactly what it says on the tin. We also come around with free shots every now and again, we like giving away things on the door to help everyone get into the mood, and there are always a couple of short song length performances that happen randomly through out the night to mix things up a bit.
Have you ever had any celebs on your dancefloor?
Of course! This is London, and with our backgrounds and jobs, we've had quite a few well known friends air guitaring and screaming along to Total Eclipse of the Heart or Bon Jovi or whatever but we don't focus on that. To us everyone who comes through the door is a star, and we would never name names. The last thing we want is for people to come to Speedwagon to see famous people dancing, we want people to come because it's an amazing great night out
If people haven't been to the RVT, what can they expect?
The RVT is basically an old pub. Simple as that - there's nothing flash about it, which we love! It's friendly, the drinks are cheap and they have a great sound system. It hosts mainly cabaret during the week, but at the weekend it is one of the busiest club venues in the area, which says a lot considering it's in the middle of Vauxhall with all of it's mega clubs in arches.
It's predominately a gay venue, but is everyone welcome?
Of course! The venue is legendary on the gay scene but our night is totally mixed in every way. Last time we had just as many straight guys and girls as we did gay ones which is as it should be. Soft Rock knows no barriers.
Tell us one artist who we might not have heard of that you play that we should check out?
Well because of the type of music we play, most of the artists are quite well known or were at one time at least! So what we concentrate on is playing those songs that you haven't heard in ages. Although, having said that Lita Ford is someone that people always ask who it is when she's played. She started in The Runaways with Joan Jett and then went solo and had a huge hit with Kiss Me Deadly which is an amazing rock song. Everyone remembers Joan Jett but not Lita Ford and she kicks ass! We LOVE chicks with guitars!!
What other club nights do you like going to in London?
We are all over the place but our regulars are Duckie, Horse Meat Disco, Popstars, Kimono Krush, Gutterslut, & Trailer Trash. We tend to go for smaller clubs rather than mega ones, but mega can be good too if you are in the mood.
What are the club's plans for the future?
We don't plan really, which may or may not be a good thing?!? At the moment we are still trying to decide whether we want to do it monthly or just keep it going as and when, although we do think Speedwagon would go down a storm on the festival circuit next year.
What's your dream venue?
Any venue with a sticky floor, black walls and cheap drinks.
Name five songs we'll definitely be rocking our air guitar to on Friday.
Pat Benatar- Love is a Battlefield
Whitesnake - Here I Go Again
Heart - All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You
Quiet Riot - Cum on Feel the Noize
Rick Springfield - Jesse's Girl
And your all time favourite floor filler?
Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way ...without question!
We Built This Speedwagon On A Prayer returns to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern this Friday night from 8pm with a £5 door tax. Go - it's awesome!