Introducing Metropolis, a new live venue for London’s LGBTQ+ community
© Courtesy of East Creative
The team behind Sink The Pink, Savage and Mighty Hoopla are back with a new programme of live music, drag, cabaret, spoken word and comedy in a venerable London gentleman's club.
East Creative is a collective who mastermind some of London’s best and most popular LGBTQ+ live club nights. Now, they’re embarking on one of their most ambitious ventures yet – a new event series going by the name of Metropolis, which takes place at the venue of the same name on Cambridge Heath Road, Hackney. Metropolis has history – it’s one of London’s more venerable strip clubs. But three years ago, they handed over the weekend reins to East Creative’s club night Savage, who every Saturday turned the three-tiered venue into a neon-fuelled polysexual funhouse, with clubbers invited to twirl on a pole to everything from R&B to disco to house and mix alongside in-house drag performers.
On April 19 2018, East Creative took over Metropolis to kick off proceedings for the venue’s first LGBTQ+ event series with a live show from Nimmo and DJs Artwork, Krankbrother, Joshua James and more. A design refresh has transformed the club’s interior, with an enlarged 600 capacity, a new basement, a roof top terrace – complete with al fresco hot tub – and Martin Audio soundsystem. Happily the original vibe remains – think Pat Butcher meets Grace Jones, from the padded spanky leather doors and couches to the leopard print carpet and punk neon graffiti.
First and foremost, we are a team of people who want to help each other
By combining the energy of Savage with the performance power of Sink The Pink, the Metropolis series promises everything from live music to cabaret to spoken word poetry, club nights and, of course, drag queen shows. Find out more about the series and scroll down to read the full interview with East Collective’s Jamie Tagg.
Can you tell us a bit about how East Creative came about?
Jamie Tagg: Originally we were a talent agency working with drag queens, artists and DJs in east London. To us, they were really underrepresented – they didn’t have agents or know how to price themselves. We really helped put them on a few stages, as it were. East Creative has grown because a lot of those people have come back to us. The ones who originally asked ‘How do I make an invoice?’ are now saying ‘How do I put a show together?’. Some of them are now saying ‘Come to my sold-out show!’. We’re so proud of that. So first and foremost, we are a team of people who want to help each other.
What is the Metropolis series doing that is new or different to any of the other club nights around at the moment?
We’re not trying to create a ‘gay club’ – we’re trying to create a space that is for the LGBTQ+ community that works with all kind of people. What we’re trying to achieve is a blur of lines between straight clubbing and gay clubbing. With all our brands, we don’t label anything – they attract people from all walks of life and that is what we are trying to programme here. The Metropolis series will feature everything from cabaret to spoken word poetry, club nights and, of course, drag queens.
We actually want it to be much more than a club
What is it that makes the venue so special?
Interestingly, if you go back 100 years, Metropolis was called the Arabian Arms and we're told it was one of the first gay pubs in London. Then it became Metropolis, and for years it was a traditional strip club. We started working with them three-and-a-half years ago, in that time we’ve brought a lot of our crew in here and it’s accepted as a safe and friendly place. We haven’t had one bit of trouble here in three and half years, every Saturday.
Is there a specialist music programme for the Metropolis series?
No, not particularly. It’s not just one person’s vision – it really is a collective and we are working with our whole team to curate it. In terms of the nights we will be putting on, it will be less club nights and more performances. We’re working with comedy and spoken word artists to change the perception of the venue. I think if we just do big name DJs we will end up setting out to do exactly what we set out not to do. There are incredible clubs in London and we’re not trying to compete with that – we’re trying to use the space, with its amazing soundsystem and set-up. We actually want it to be much more than a club.
You hosted Artwork at the launch party. Will he be a regular on the line up?
Artwork used to come to Sink The Pink – he is a friend and someone that shares a lot of our values about supporting dancers and performers in the industry. There is this amazing family of people we work with and I think everyone who played at our launch party works with us. Nimmo are some of my best friends, there is a real nice vibe. People just really wanna help us and we wanna help them. It’s always very mutual.
So what does this mean for Metropolis resident Savage?
Savage is stronger than ever. We celebrated our first birthday early April 2018. We’ve grown with the venue. It was ‘one in, one out’ years ago and it’s the same now. The thing that makes us really happy is that after 2am or 3am, we get a lot of our crew finishing their gigs in town and coming to see us afterwards. That family element is what makes this place so special.
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