Article Title:Family's SEXY celebration storms Easter Sunday
Author or Credit:Leif Wauters
Published on:27th April 2011 - 10:01 am
Internet Archive link:
Story ID:10285
Text:I've only been a member of the New Zealand society for 6 months, making this last 4-day Easter Bank Holiday weekend my first in this wonderful land that also happens to suffer from rough liquor laws that keep most places dark on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. That is places that don't have a rare entertainment license like that which allowed Auckland's Family Bar and Club to throw a massive (by local standards) and silly Easter night celebration called SEXY at the cavernous Studio on K Road. Billed on Facebook as the "Easter party event every Bunny wants 2 be apart of", SEXY was the only game in town where folks could gather and frolic to groovy tunes. As a fundraiser for local HIV/AIDS support organisation Body Positive, with engaging safe sex promotion also provided by NZAF volunteers, the community connection was clear and constant starting with the pink balloons volunteers distributed to guests upon entering that contributed to the silliness throughout the night. Our group had been enjoying a private function just down the road that ended at 10 p.m. so we arrived right when SEXY's doors opened. I'm not accustomed to arriving at the bell of the first round, but as this was a new space to explore it allowed me to take in a few of the nooks before dancing, at least in the entranceway as the main dance floor was off limits for the first half hour. The long, brick-clad hall that led from the street buzzed with towering drag personalities welcoming us into the event while volunteer sprites shared their safe-sex message with condoms and chocolates. There was also a free, photo-booth where we took a turn capturing our arrival on film; all fun stuff to pull us into the mood of the night. We bounced around near the main room's entrance to the sounds of local opening DJ Love until we were allowed in to enjoy him in person at 10:30. Filtering past the second set of rest rooms (the first being in the entrance hall), down a short ramp and onto the well-worn wooden dance floor we found our maestro perched at the centre of a raised stage at the end of the space. Directly behind the booth was a rotating, mirrored wall that drew our focus - the coolest visual feature of the night. Flanking this unique and enjoyable sight, however, was a painfully overused arsenal of lights composed mainly of LED strips, with a few complimenting cans and requisite strobes. I say painful because for most of the earlier part of the night the LEDs and strobes battered our retina each time we looked towards the DJ, forcing us to squint in order to avoid the full force of a lighting blast. You could tell the lights had been brought in for the night, with the club's standard yet sparse lighting rig above the room going relatively unused. I generally enjoy the sane use and placement of LED lighting, but in this case it was overbearing and a sore spot throughout the evening. I'm sorry to report that the early music was also a bit challenging. DJ Love who started out the night with a bubbly sound quickly turned unnecessarily dark after we hit the dance floor and then bounced back and forth in that range for the remainder of his 2-hour set. Then just short of midnight a giant rabbit head upon a shimmering, black dinner jacket worked it's way from the entrance to the stage. This marked the arrival of the second DJ, local celeb Steven Oates. We were excited to take the next step in the night's musical evolution but there seemed to have been little planning between the artists as the hits we'd heard earlier in the night were quickly repeated. It reflected the cycle that often plays out in London when a long night in the same club finds multiple DJs playing the same popular tracks. The volume also seemed to pump up to an ear-stabbing level, even at the centre of the dance floor. A little more care from the club's engineer or manager could have keep our ears from hurting, something a responsible club such as Studio should keep in mind, particularly with so many young ears in attendance who may not know to protect their hearing with ear plugs. Steven's turn at the decks only ran till 1 a.m. when the four members of the South Side Sisters clad in black body suits and red wigs dramatically stomped the stage to Rihanna's "S older gents, young straight couples, waifish boys, butch gals and eclectic trannies were all grinding together under the high ceilings of the main room, inhibitions waived. As the night wore on Alex's vibes bore more deeply into the crowd and the antics became more blatant. Thankfully the lighting also took a more subdued turn, making it easier to take in the surrounding silliness, which we did until about 3 a.m. before calling it a night. Although we just missed final DJ Starli's arrival, we were satisfied with our serving of SEXY and slipped out into the rainy morning and home. During the night we broke from the bedlam to relax in the upstairs lounge that overlooked the dance floor three stories up. From the entrance hall we ascended past a second-story mezzanine with minimal seatingto the broad balcony from which we could see the entire party below. Back from the edge were a couple of seating areas where we rested our pegs and met other breaking revelers. A few steps above that landing was the highest bar in the club and a final chill space chock full of white furniture where one could more successfully escape the boom boom below. It was a layered and expansive club that could have easily held twice the crowd, although the numbers made it quite festive yet comfortable. Even thought the main room was jammed the rest rooms were generally empty and we never waited long for a drink from the friendly bar staff. The flow was easy and the lofty dance area never felt too hot, major pluses for any dance party and a huge thumbs-up for Studio. I hope Family returns to this space with its diverse throngsfor future events, Easter or not, as it's a well-finished club with a friendly staff and amazing opportunities. When it does there should be no excuse for abusive lighting and the rapid DJ line-up could do a bit more to avoid repetition. A night like SEXY takes months of planning, so it should be easy to program the music a bit more, right? It just shows a greater level of consideration for all the needy dancers who's charged-up batteries are gagging to be spent. I had a great time and am now recharging my cells for Auckland's next sweaty night of music. This and many other global party reviews by Leif Wauters can be found on SF-based event blog The Juice Box. Leif Wauters - 27th April 2011    
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