Newhampton Arts centre a good stone’s throw from Wolverhampton City Centre, Molineux Stadium and Allen Road! Allen Road, a place I suffered my student days, just up the road many years ago, however it was also in Wolverhampton where I first met Chris Hunt, then publishing his own Shadows & Reflections Modzine and Fay Hallam of Makin Time, so there were a few fond memories!
At last I can now at last say I have some more great memories from Wolverhampton!
Relatively easy to park in the area the Newhampton Arts Centre looks like a rambling old building but once through the doors the atmosphere is definitely seeped in sharp and smart.
Out of Time sells out - and quickly! People look forward to this night for weeks, so what is going on inside this rambling old building that makes it one of the ‘must’ places to be seen?
Arriving about 9.30pm, there had been delays for some travellers due to an accident, but in my case it was just time getting ready... Unfortunately this led to missing the early DJ sets, sorry!
Ali Bongo Goby was behind the decks on arrival; the entrance aisles to the main hall had a couple of stalls with records, clothes and interestingly dress making materials to browse.
Well first impressions count and WOW! Standing in the doorway to the main room 3 things hit me: -
1) The room was packed; the only room available was on the dancefloor.
2) The lighting in the room is amazing, controlled manually on lighting decks through the night, colours changing but not in some bizarre on-off fashion but smooth tone changes from pink to lilac to purple to green and so on... The effect gives the good sized dancefloor its own mystique and is fantastic for taking photos. (Also through the night there were at least 2 photographers roaming the room to capture moments and people, now you know where all the fantastic photos come from for the Out of Time Facebook page and advertising).
3) How many smart, sharp, hip, cool people can you cram into one room? Out of Time certainly knows how to attract the right crowd!
Before I'd even got inside I'd bumped into Andrew Money looking very sharp, then stepping inside the room there was everybody's friend Howard Gibson, in his grey/silver double breasted suit (I love that suit), before the bar was reached welcomes were shared with Rob Glover, Kass Jones and Dave and Julie and a few nods to familiar faces, while Julian Clapton, Sean Sexton and Chris Leslie were not far from the bar... (as usual?) It was beginning to feel like a home away from home...
Drinks choices were fairly limited, not being a proper 'bar' as such and quite small in size, but adequate and easily served for saying the room was full. 2 rows of tables and chairs were packed solid and all the free standing space was taken. However this did not feel uncomfortable, lots of chatting and people catching up or making new friends in a warm friendly environment. The room is large but cozy, well laid out with large hanging white balloon type objects decorating the ceiling (it is an Arts centre!) a light control box and a small bar at the rear with a good sized dancefloor and raised DJ stage at the front. Often a room full of 'posers' (let’s be honest, a lot of us have a bit of the peacock tendency) can sometimes feel intimidating or get your back up.... Not at Out of Time! Such warmth, smiles, enjoyment and friendliness was outstanding. Despite all the 'sharp looks' and 'coolness' the atmosphere was quite laid back, welcoming and fun.
So back to the dancefloor to enjoy Ali Bongo's set (great it was too) followed by Glyn Preece, Sean Chapman and Alan Handscome (for the life of me I can't remember which order) but the night was definitely finished off by Glyn Preece. Each DJ skilled and excellent BUT imagine when you combine the talents and tunes of these DJ's with the atmosphere in the room and the lighting effects on a great wooden dancefloor you might realise why Out of Time sells out and looks like it will again rapidly for October's event. Out of Time has a magical, almost surreal, feel to it, something you do need to experience for yourself, if you can get a ticket!
The music played was a mix of classic Mod sounds, soul, R'n'B, latin, jazz and ska, exactly as it says on the tin! The smiling faces on the dancefloor and around the room didn't stop all night, cameras flashing, meeting new friends; catching up with old friends and hitting the dancefloor... people were having fun!
Around midnight the room did start to thin but by 2.30am on Saturday morning the room was still half full, the dancefloor was still packed and Glyn Preece slipped in 2 if not 3 extra tracks after finishing time...
The extra tracks were unplanned; at one point even Glyn was unsure what he had lined up to play! but the final track was very very apt for Out of Time, goodbyes were said, hands shaken, hugs (even man hugs) were exchanged all over the room as Steve Marriott belted out... 'It’s all too beautiful.....It’s all too beautiful...'
It was 'beautiful' and like many others I can't wait to do it all again in October!