"PUSCHA MEETS TRADE," scream the flyers for Privilege's new Friday night. "VERY SEXY, VERY LONDON." It's a bit of a confusing start. What exactly does VERY LONDON mean? Is everyone skulking by the bar, acting moody and refusing to dance? And why would you want to go all the way to the Balearics if it's like being in London when you get there? You could just go to London. Avoid the customs search.
And isn't it a bit of a strange marriage? Pushca - the original glam handbag hang out, the people who virtually invented fluffy bras and podium bunnies - and Trade, home of bangin' nu-nrg, muscular gay blokes and Saturday nights that don't begin until 4am on Sundays. At first glance, they don't seem to have much in common, but according to Trade main man Laurence Malice, it's all about decadence. "This island may have lost some of it's decadence," he grins, "but we're aiming to bring this back."
Once Privilege begins to fill with supernaturally beautiful women, weather-beaten Spanish long-hairs and swarthy young chaps with less fat than a pint of semi-skimmed, it all starts to make sense. Stilt-walking podium dancers writhe on the stage, in front of 20 metre high cartoon backdrops. The most grotesque mime acts snake around the dancefloor. It's like a glam freakshow, making the most of the cavernous space that is Privilege. Intimate this ain't: "You need hard music to fill such a big space," says Pushca hostess, Debbie Ramswell, "so the tunes tonight aren't going to be the same as you'd hear at Pushca in London."
And that's how the weird partnership works: Pushca handle the promotion, attracting the style pack lovelies, while Trade supply the music to keep them dancing, courtesy of their tight core of residents and a clique of faithful guests. The crowd is somewhere between Puscha's über-dressers and Trade's muscle Marys, with a healthy Ibizan twist.
The music is boshing, supercharged house from Trade residents Alan Thompson and Steve Thomas, the people who compiled the club's current mix album, Summer Holiday. They keep the crowd hyped until camp house diva Kevin Aviance makes his entrance. Clubbing in Ibiza wouldn't be clubbing in Ibiza without something particularly freaky on stage, and the man who made 'Din Da Da' fits the bill perfectly. Immaculately kitted out in some gender bending jumpsuit that obscures his left arm, Aviance prowls the stage for a moment or so, then whips it out his hidden arm and starts hollerin'. He's scary, debauched and incredibly sexy all at once; there certainly isn't anything a tired old raver can tell this man about decadence. Privilege goes ballistic. The night ends sometime after sunrise, witnessed in all its peachy loveliness through the enormous windows in Privilege's rear gallery. It looks nothing like London. Neither, thankfully, does the distinctly cosmo club night. The flyers might be wrong, but someone at Pushca Meets Trade is clearly doing something right.
The Trade Summer Holiday LP is out now on Jive. Look out for a weekly Pushca night in London soon
Pushca Meets Trade
June 19th, Privilege, Ibiza
Who played? DJ Sneak, Alan Thompson, Pete Wardman, Brett (Tony de Vit cancelled due to illness). PA by drag diva Kevin Aviance Crowd? Club babes, drag queens and glam Euro-boys
Tunes of the night? The Face 'Needin' You' (Manifesto), Cevin Fisher 'The Freaks Come Out' (Subversive)
Happiness: The sun rising over the open roof
Sadness: Privilege's dodgy sound system
Disco verdict: Freaky fun MMMM
August dates: DJ Sneak, Cevin Fisher, Doc Martin, Mario J, Alex Neri (7th); Italian Stallions, Babayaga, Claudio Di Rocco, Pete Heller, Sharp Boys (14th); K-Klass, Craig Burger Queen (21st); Pete Wardman, Smokin' Jo, Matt 'Jam' Lamont, Byron Stingily live (28th). All with residents Steve Thomas, Alan Thompson and Malcolm Duffy