REVIEW| GARAGE BRUNCH TURNS 1! WHERE’S ALL MY OLDSKOOL RAVERS? (@garagebrunch)

GB1Over the past few years the idea of ‘going for Brunch’ has evolved into some­thing much great­er than a bunch of bou­gies sit­ting around for poached eggs and avo­cado on toast. ‘Brunch’ in the cap­it­al is now an exper­i­ence, and thanks to Hip-Hop LDN it has become an immers­ive music­al exper­i­ence wrapped in whole lot of nos­tal­gia, food and cock­tails right up until 5pm. Hav­ing suc­cess­fully cre­ated themed brunch events around influ­en­tial music­al eras, Hip-Hop LDN are the cur­at­ors behind Hip-Hop Brunch, Dis­co Brunch, 90s Brunch, and Gar­age Brunch. Gar­age Brunch cel­eb­rated its 1st birth­day last week­end, so I decided to dust off my gun fin­gers and get ready for some mid-day euphoria.

So pic­ture this…It is 11.50am on a Sat­urday morn­ing and I am stand­ing in line out­side Café de Par­is in tour­ist-heav­ing Pic­ca­dilly Cir­cus wait­ing for the doors to open for Gar­age Brunch. If the team behind this got one thing right it’s stick­ing me in a time machine to lit­er­ally the same loc­a­tion and long queue I found myself in 15 years ago to hear and see the same artists from a move­ment that shaped so many of my exper­i­ences as a youth in the late 90s early 00s. Ok two things were dif­fer­ent — it was a lot earli­er in the day and 15 years on I didn’t need my fake ID.

12pm doors open and a swamp of ravers and bub­blers head to the bar to com­mence one hour of free bot­tom­less rum cock­tails. We had DJ Poli­cy on the mic keep­ing the crowd hyped up and DJ Lonyo on the decks spin­ning anthem after anthem. My feet were mov­ing to clas­sic gar­age remixes like ‘Love Shy’, ‘The Boy is Mine’, ‘Favour­ite Girl’, ‘Do you really like it’ and ‘Gar­age girls’.

At 1pm we were instruc­ted to head to our alloc­ated seat­ing as the main course was being served. A gen­er­ous por­tion of fried chick­en and chips was served to most of the room, sadly the option for vegans differed to what was lis­ted on the prin­ted menu and was not as enti­cing or fla­voursome. May­be a kit­chen mal­func­tion as I am cer­tain that pre­vi­ous events did have a much bet­ter vegan option espe­cially judging from what was writ­ten on the menu. How­ever the main course coin­cided with a game of Gar­age bin­go so our minds were too engaged to worry about our stom­achs! The Gar­age Bin­go kept us on the edge of our seats, as we patiently listened for each num­ber with the hope of win­ning a bottle of pro­sec­co. If you attend in a small group, it is also a great way to break the ice with oth­ers sit­ting on the table, which was def­in­itely the case with us.

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I acci­dent­ally (believe me!) signed myself up as a con­test­ant for Gar­age mas­ter­mind. To have a whole room of people engaged in Gar­age trivia was a test­a­ment to the amount of die-hard UKG fans that were in the club, shout­ing the answers and get­ting involved. Whil­st I only got 4 cor­rect (in my defence I lost to DJ Char­lesy) it was a really fun addi­tion to the brunch.

The Gar­age Brunch 1st birth­day was only going to get big­ger, through­out the after­noon we were treated to a massive line up of live PA’s includ­ing MC Creed, Swiss, Sticky and Wook­ie. The whole exper­i­ence was dif­fer­ent to any brunch I had pre­vi­ously endured,  the organ­isers did a great job at dec­or­at­ing the ven­ue with posters of our favour­ite legendary Gar­age icons, and with a dress code encour­aging people to dress like the era I saw the return of big hoops, leo­pard print, Bur­berry pat­terned cloth­ing and Ree­bok clas­sics. I was taken back… Gar­age was such an influ­en­tial gen­re, from the style of emcee­ing, the DJ’s and the dance moves; the Gar­age era had a major impact on UK youth cul­ture in the 90s to the point where every oth­er guy happened to be an emcee or a DJ. The stage pres­ence of a Gar­age emcee has always dic­tated the situ­ation on the dance­floor, from chant­ing to skank-offs – DJ Poli­cy def­in­itely kept the crowd hyped as they yelled out “Oi Oi Oi’.

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Gar­age brunch is a remin­is­cent day­time rave, the first brunch I have been to where I really wasn’t there for the food. The crowd-pleas­ing bangers, Gar­age legends in the house and audi­ence par­ti­cip­a­tion added to the feel-good factor of the whole day.  If it is your birth­day you are made to feel extra spe­cial as you are  summoned to the stage for shot of tequila with all the oth­er birth­day party-goers. I noticed the large groups who atten­ded for a birth­day, hen or stag –this is a really good way to cel­eb­rate any occa­sion in a space filled with fel­low Gar­age heads who also lived through the era. Whil­st the 90s is cur­rently trend­ing (accord­ing to the out­rageous price of an Ellesse t-shirt now) I can assure you Gar­age brunch is for the old-skool massive.

A Sat­urday well spent, Gar­age brunch is a great way to start your day or end it depend­ing on how much you decide to ‘turn up’. I cer­tainly spent the rest of my Sat­urday replay­ing old-skool Gar­age anthems and prac­tising my moves for the next ‘skank-off’.

Happy 1st Birth­day Gar­age Brunch. We are lov­in’ it lov­in’ it lov­in’ it… Next stop – Hip Hop Brunch!

To grab your tick­ets for the next Gar­age Brunch vis­it www.garagebrunch.com

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rish­ma Dhali­wal has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rish­ma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.