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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Salvation's 5 years of big tunes & bright lasers

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 19th August 2008

Salvation Party recipe: Get hot DJs (some from Sydney if available)...
This weekend's Heaven & Hell event marks five years of parties – not bad, considering Salvation was originally intended to be a one-off!

It's Salvation's fifth Birthday party in Auckland this Saturday and everyone's invited. We can also confirm that there will be all the lasers, go-go dancers and 'psyklonic mirrored objects' you can handle.

The first Salvation party was in May 2003, at Bed nightclub on K' Road. Co-organiser Mike Modrich tells the story: "Marty, Donald Bennett and myself were having a few drinks. They were saying that they wanted to DJ more frequently, but they didn't want to commit to a regular Friday or Saturday night somewhere. In those days Donald had just finished DJ'ing at Kiss and Bed – two iconic clubs on K' Road. We all had full-time jobs – we just thought it would be nice to have an event where Donald and Marty could play and we could invite all our friends along. I made the mistake of saying 'well it can't be that difficult to organise a dance party', and they said 'you're on!' So that's how the first Salvation started."

...add Go-Go boys wearing a little as possible...
The goal was to bring a Sydney-quality nightclub event to Auckland, and provide a welcoming diverse vibe. "When we go to Sydney and London we're totally blown away by the clubs and parties over there," says Modrich. "The production value is so high. And the only event that came close in New Zealand was the Hero Party, so we saw an opportunity to create something that was visually impressive but a bit more intimate. In those days, Flesh nightclub was the only real clubbing option for people.

"So we just marketed it to our friends, and we thought we'd get a couple of hundred people, but ended up with around 350 people."

Modrich says that Auckland's nightclubbing and dance party scene has changed a lot since 2003. "Musical tastes have changed – what people like is much more varied nowadays. Some partygoers have a very staunch view of what music should be like, and aren't prepared to vary their musical diet. So you can imagine what it's like for the promoter having to cater for a very diverse group of people. It's nice in the bigger parties where you have the budget to cater for a wide range of genres, but for smaller parties you have to be realistic and aim for where you know you're going to be able to sell tickets."

...turn on those laser lights & mirrored thingies...
The Salvation team also runs mainstream clubbing events, but say there are noticeable differences between gay and straight dance parties. "The crowds at gay parties tend to develop a dance floor etiquette and are more sophisticated in the way they interact with each other and move through crowds. People can actually move through the crowds without pushing and shoving. There seems to be a lot less aggression at gay events, and to a certain extent, the gay crowds are less judgmental on age. People start going to mainstream parties at the age of 18-20, and often, by the time they get to 26, they think they're too old. At gay parties the age range is far broader. At events like Sydney's Mardi Gras, ages commonly range from 18 to 60+."

Five years is a long time in the dance party scene, and planning Salvation parties along with Hero, Phoenix and several mainstream events – in total almost 60 parties – can get pretty time-consuming when you have a full-time job as well. "We always have this debate between ourselves," Modrich admits, "We question 'Will this be our last party?' 'Should we do something else?'

"But we'll keep going as long as people keep enjoying and supporting the events. The reason we organise parties has always been because they are fun. We like creating an environment where we can have a good time with our friends.

...mix and enjoy.
"Sometimes people think that making money is our driving consideration – but it isn't. The cost of running parties with big production and international DJs is very high and so they are never going to make much money – even the best of them. Despite these financial risks, we like providing our community with the type of event that they can only ever be able to experience overseas otherwise. It's a great feeling to be able to create something and then see a group of really diverse people – people that you wouldn't normally see in any other situation – on the dancefloor having a really good time."

Salvation's Fifth Birthday Party this Saturday will have a 'Heaven & Hell' dress-up theme, and the crew hope partygoers will get into the spirit decked out in something evil or angelic. DJ's Brazil, Donald Bennett, Marty, Mauri, Kurt Erickson, Mike V and Raj will bring on pumping club and vocal house, uplifting and vocal trance, plus progressive and tech house. An influx of visitors from Wellington and Christchurch is expected, along with the NZAF's Safe Sex Poster Boys and a troupe of sexy DJ Station dancers.

And we hear they're even bought a new full-colour laser…

Tickets to this Saturday's party are still available, with details on the link below. Salvation's video pick of the month – Sneaky Sound System's Kansas City is shown below.

Matt Akersten - 19th August 2008