Alex Volkers for Bane + Antidote reviews Morning Gloryville – the early morning rave sensation that is taking the world by storm.
When I first heard about Morning Gloryville last year I’m afraid I got the wrong end of the stick. It must have been the effect of encountering the words ‘morning rave’ and ‘East London’ in one sentence. Clammy handed flashbacks of a base seeker’s AM adventures bowled me over, as I remembered regional treasures such as Public Life and Aquarium with the glorious trepidation of hindsight. I had shut said terms firmly in the ‘Shoreditch poser’, ‘drug haze’ and ‘awkward techno’ files of my brain. And I thought nothing more of it. Until I found myself grumpily cycling through the rain in the dark at the god-awful hour of 6am, bound for Morning Gloryville London #20, to do the research for this piece.
My reluctance doesn’t last long. Upon my rain soaked arrival I am immediately accosted by a spandex-clad wing-bearing angel, and treated to a lengthy bear hug in spite of my soggy state. This angel’s name is Sean and he is one of the Morning Angels, he proudly tells me (as he strums on his ukulele). It’s their mission to ease people into the day with joy, and send them off to work blissed out, limber and open hearted. As I stop to accept a few lashings of glitter from one of Sean’s feathered colleagues I am overtaken by someone in a dinosaur onesie. Then two strapping men clamber out of a taxi to my left. The one with a huge beard is wearing a tiny nighty. His friend is sporting a neon tutu and I suddenly realised I’ve been caught off guard; ‘painfully cool’ is nowhere in sight. This crowd seems comfortable with silly.
As I climb the external stairs of the Oval Space the picture is familiar enough: smokers’ draped over warehouse railings that rattle to a beat from within. But as I open the doors and am blasted by a cloud of sweet chunky disco funk my face bursts with an enormous grin, and I lay my eyes the delightful reality of Morning Gloryville London. There is not a sweaty palm or shifty gaze in sight. This huge, light, airy space is teeming with bright-eyed ravers and they all appear to be having the time of their lives. They are quite literally having it. There are grannies and babies, unicorns and narwhals, fairies and Yodas, yoga bunnies and stiff shirted businessmen, all bouncing in unison to the most spectacularly chunky yet playful disco set I have ever heard. That’s Plump DJs someone tells me, rendered sublime by the empowering loved-up rhymes of MC Angel, and done justice by a surprisingly impressive sound system (authors note: it takes a lot for Bane + Antidote commend a sound system).
Lining the walls are purveyors of all things delicious and healthy. I warm up with a free massage and yoga session. After moving on to cacao and a croissant I work my way into the tightest, sweatiest nook on the dance floor that I can find. The vibes will be optimum here. All around me random bursts of swing and breakdance erupt. This is exuberance and exhibitionism on a massive scale and there’s a cynic in me that wants to object, yet it all a strikes me as extremely genuine; infectious, in fact. The stage is crammed with an eclectic mix of beautiful weirdoes, of all shapes and sizes, in varying states of disarray. They are populated by a preponderance of unicorns and all have one thing in common – they can seriously bust a move. Surrounded as I am by 700 people who are dancing like nobody’s watching, it’s near impossible not to follow suit. As I lose myself in the delights that The Loose Cannons and DJ/unicorn Miles Metric have to offer, my thighs start to burn and the sweat pours and I’m not even high. I want to know more.
Dajana (one of the founding team members) tells me that two years ago this was just an idea. An idea that Samantha Moyo and Nico Thoemmes came up with after searching in vein for the euphoria of a club vibe without the inextricably linked communal drug and alcohol consumption. They liked to have fun but needed to find a more sustainable way of raving. And so Morning Gloryville was born. 150 people attended the first rave, most of them Samantha and Nico’s friends, but word soon got out. The elation that the frontiersman left with was enough to light the fuse. This was something that people wanted; needed, even. And with a mentor of the calibre of Felix from Basement Jaxx behind them, it’s little surprise that things got so big so fast. Morning Gloryville now happens in over 19 cities worldwide through regional Glory Agents (Dubai was the most recent metropolis to follow suit). Each is culturally attuned – in Tokyo it’s all gym gear, Paris too.
Morning Gloryville is clearly making waves. So much so that founder Samantha Moyo was recently asked to speak at TEDxEastend (see the talk at 1:56 here). I can see why. Over the course of two hours I have smiled and laughed more than I have all week. The sweat flows in torrents (I really went for it) and my stiff and rather intelligent looking hat (fit for journalist on assignment) has melted and now drips limply across my face alerting me to the fact that this is more exercise than I’ve had all year. I have met some wonderful people. I have reconnected with at least 5 friends I hadn’t seen in years. I’ve consumed delicious and potent snacks. And I lost myself in the music, in the movement, in the heaving throng in a way I never thought would be possible without a basic level of intoxication. But it’s more than that still. Samantha, when addressing her TEDx audience on the topic of Society Beyond Borders, really brought it home. This is about playfulness and physical connectivity. We are playful, physical creatures. And when we connect through play and physical contact all the other crap just falls away. ‘Take it with you as you go,’ a Morning Angle tinkles as she writes me a sick note for work. And I do, for a time. As my jellied legs carry me down the stairs I bump into Anneke, an old friend, now a unicorn. ‘The collective noun for unicorns is a fabulous’, she tells me, and Morning Gloryville is their heartland.
Things to Look Out for @GloryvilleHQ:
- Guest DJs – on top of mind blowing residents, Morning Gloryville pulls in some serious guest jockeys. Basement Jaxx recently played to 1000.
- Regional Morning Gloryvilles – around the world in 19 early morning raves.
- Summer – at Morning Gloryville London there is live music and yoga on the terrace for low-key ravers.
- Sleepovers – Morning Gloryville London recently held a sleepover for 150 lucky flannel clad Londoners complete with cacao ceremonies, storytelling, massages and an early morning rave.
- The Fabulous of Unicorns – these hooves for hire are professional sparkle spreaders. Catching a glimpse of them is an auspicious happening… keep your heart open and your eyes peeled.
How I kept Dancing for 3 Hours Before Breakfast:
With a Faust’s Awake Potion health shot.
Thanks to Nicole Cataldo-Davies for the above image of Faust’s Potions keeping in real on the dancefloor.
Thanks to Sam, Dajana, Tegan all the Morning Gloryville for making this review so much fun and for being so fabulous.