Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And the moment we've all be waiting for: Avalon opens!

Well it was the moment I'd been waiting for anyway. Yes after much hype the Hollywood club last weekend flung it's doors open at Marina Bay Sands. Billed as being a "multi-sensory experience" which would "redefine the nightlife experience" in Singapore I was keen to see whether it could walk the walk it was talkin.

There is no denying that this is a stunning club. Housed in the crystal pavilion you could see the state-of the-art lighting system from the outside on approach. And it is a truly stunning piece of design.
I was a bit flummoxed though by the people on the door who were extremely arrogant even from my point of view - and being a Londoner I'm pretty used to all that. So I imagine they were trying to create the exclusive feel of Hollywood in Singapore but sometimes you have to account for local differences. HSBC did not spend millions on their adverts about being the world's local bank for nothing after all.

Walking in is pretty cool as you feel a bit like you're entering the Mother Ship from Earth as you come down the ramp. Cue pic of me walking in taking a video...
It's pretty big, with three rooms to it's name with an interesting layout so you have to take some time getting to know where everything is. There's even a lift to take you between the floors though you have to be on the ball to actually get to where you want to go to. It's fair to say I got to know the lift rather well along with a lot of other people considering whether to abort mission.

But there's no doubt the interior is super cool with stunning views out to Marina Bay.
Anyway on this particular opening Saturday it was hosting the second day of  Giles Peterson's Worldwide Festival which I was super looking forward, no less because it's not often we get to see such edgy acts in Singapore like  those on the line up.

As we were walking in the incredible Alice Russell - with her voice made to send shivers down your spine - was holding court. If you're not familiar with her voice then listen to it here and go WOW! (Sorry vids not taken by me at Avalon as mine didn't turn out well).
Next up was the awesome Jeremy Ellis who is a master at blending and serving up a bit of funk, soul, jazz and a few other things thrown into the mix. His finale?  Playing his keyboard with his chin. WTF!Totally genius! Check him out here on this vid...
What was totally weird was between this and the next set they were playing Norah Jones. Why? Why? Why? That's just wrong.

It was all good up until after the following set whose name I can't remember. But then at what must have been at 12.30am, I looked around and suddenly wondered where on earth I was. Cue: One balding expat guy in a Hawaiian shirt doing dad dancing, an old uncle doing his best to bust some grooves while not losing his glasses, three girls who looked like they were on a school field trip, and a guy who looked like he was on release from a prison in Manchester.

As I looked further afield it didn't improve. Bad taste all round. What the hell was going on here? This didn't seem to fit with the uber cool, cutting edge image that Avalon was portraying. Music alone does not a club maketh. It's also about the people.

We thought we'd check out another room where there was some wet lettuce of a dolly girl who I presume someone thought was Asia's answer to Pixie Geldof playing Eurotrash. She managed to just about nod her head to the beat a couple of times before she decided against it in case she might do something she regret - like actually enjoy it.

Thankfully we found a room towards the back which seemed to be where all those who were really into their tunes and good vibe seemed to be and we stayed there for the rest of the night until we decided to bolt it to Velvet Underground  in this blinged up cab.Yes and the cab driver did it all himself and very proud of it he was.
Now granted it's early days so it seems like Avalon has not yet found it's identity, soul or the right crowd to give the place the atmosphere it deserves. It would've been great if it had started with a bang. But for me the bang just didn't happen. There was something major missing - it was called VIBE.

Now I have to say this is based on one night only and we all know that different nights at clubs can vary greatly so it's hard for me to pass judgement just based on that. But it's fair to say I had higher hopes.

Avalon does have the makings of something truly awesome and with some fine tuning it can get there and I truly hope it does with its incredible line up including some of my own personal favourites  Simian Mobile Disco, Kruder & Dorfmeister , Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack. I plan to go down in a couple of months and investigate whether it blooms into something beautiful on all accounts. Until then!

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