Shoreditch, London

I was excited about this one: Arguably the best party-throwers in London in one of the newest venues on the London clubbing scene. I have been to many a Bugged Out and have never been let down before so the formula was there; a+b = great night out. 

We arrived at XOYO, an unassuming warehouse-type building, 1 minute from Old Street station (handy). The guest list queue was larger than the buy tickets on the door queue, which showed that this was a hotly anticipated night; everyone wanted to be at XOYO and no one was stupid enough to think there would still be tickets available.  The queue moved quickly and the bouncers and door-staff were friendly. Standard tickets ranged from £10-£15 depending on when you bought them.



In we went, straight into the cloakroom area or should I say cattle-market area. This is the crossing point of the club €“ cloakroom, access to both the rooms and the smoking area. It was like a rugby scrum combined with the Harajuku crossing in Tokyo. Not ideal. There was no one trying to filter people either so it was arms and elbows all over the place. I must also mention the queue for the cloakroom that stretched down the stairs and into the club: Longer than a half-term queue at Thorpe Park. We even tried bribing some people in the queue to put our jackets in for us but were flatly refused, €œif I€™m going to wait 30 bleeping minutes, so can you.€ Fair! We therefore decided to keep our jackets on us for the night, not ideal at all. Anyway, we were here for the music, so quickly escaped oxford circus and headed into room 1.


My first real glimpse of XOYO. Room 1 had a bar in the far right corner, a few sofas on the left as you come in and the DJ booth on far left hand corner. Industrial pillars are lined up like military throughout the room and the ceiling equally as industrial. Black fabric draped the walls, so it is essentially a warehouse-cum- art galleryesque space. A good space? Yes. A typical East London space? Yes, but not somewhere to marvel at. It was 12ish and the room was pretty full but enough space to move around freely and not feel inhibited. The bar, while small, was capably manned so we got our drinks very quickly. Double + Mixer was £7.50. The music was housey but not too heavy €“ this was the chill out space (if you can have a chill out space at a Bugged Out night).


We then decided to head to the main event in room 2. You head downstairs into another €œindustrial€ space; exposed pipes on the ceiling, exposed brick work on the wall and more black draping. It€™s moderately big and wider than it is deep, which causes for some hardcore pushing your way through the crowds. The bar is at the back of this long rectangle and the DJ stage front right.  To say it was crowded would be a serious understatement. It was reminiscent of watching a headliner at Glastonbury; swaying and jerking with the movement of the crowd, catching the odd elbow and hoping you don€™t end up on the floor. Not how I really like to enjoy my house music. Dancing wasn€™t really an option €“ more €œdancing€ with the wave of the crowd.  However, the sound system is one of the best in London, with crystal clear, loud and an almost tactile tone: Very impressive.  Bugged Out regular, Matt Walsh on before Erol Alkan was the perfect warm up, playing some incredible hard-hitting house, which got the whole room moving together as if on a euphoric rollercoaster. Erol then hit the decks and if there was an inch spare in the room, it was quickly filled. He played an incredible set with uplifting house and breaks. XOYO has quite an intimate feel and we were able to see Erol do his magic and control the room€™s emotions like an orchestra conductor €“ taking us up, taking us down, taking us fast and taking us slow. He is without doubt one of the best in the business and it was a privilege to enjoy it up close.




After Erol, we left; sweaty, tired, battered and bruised and we realized we only had one drink each, which was surely testament to the incredible music and sheer enjoyment of the moment.  So Bugged Out did pull another corker out the bag as they usually do, although they clearly over-filled the venue this time, which definitely affected my enjoyment of the night: There is only so much pushing, pulling and stray arms you can take on a night out (when not at the Pyramid Stage). Will I be looking out for the next Bugged Out event? Without a doubt. They are definitely one of the best club night organisers in the world.


And€¦is XOYO the newest and hottest venue on the East London scene? I€™m not sure. It is clearly a great space and as I mentioned, the sound system is incredible but I€™m getting a bit tired of these lazy warehouse spaces cropping up, especially in East London. It€™s almost too easy for the owners. No effort is made on the interiors and it€™s becoming difficult to differentiate one from the other.  No matter what the event is, I like the venue to impress me, to stir some emotion. All these blank canvases are exactly that, a blank canvas €“ I prefer a bit of paint on the canvas. Would I go back to XOYO for a future event? Yes I'm sure I will but I won€™t be running back at the first opportunity.