Language is funny. How it changes overtime. For example, when was it in our cultural timeline, that the meaning of the word “brunch” changed? It went from referring to a convenient positioned lite continental style meal between breakfast and lunch, to bottomless drinking in the blink of an eye. It happened so surreptitiously, it was almost overnight. Not that we’re complaining, mind. The new definition has certainly caught on, revolutionising the events industry. The brunch craze has swept the nation.
With them due to celebrate a year worth of parties in February, we thought it was high time to check-out concept originators UKG Brunch. Armed with our own red American frat cup, we hit Camden to relive the halcyon days of UK garage.
It’s scarcely past midday on a busy Saturday in the run-up to Christmas. As we exit Camden Town tube, the street is thronging with punters and market stalls doing a roaring trade. Fortunately, we don’t have far to battle through the crowds. Electric Ballroom is merely yards away. The waft of caramalised nuts permeates the air. But it’s the sweet smell of nostalgia that has us gassed. It isn’t long before we’re being directed downstairs.
Present is an interesting array of characters, very reminiscent of UKG’s glory days. There’s ripped, heavily-tattooed middle-age women with shaved heads, white-collar city workers, a young group of apparent stags from Belgium - who we suspect, don’t quite know what they’ve signed-up for - and even a group dressed head-to-toe as The Spice Guys! (oh yes, fancy dress is very much encouraged).
The entire ground floor is teeming with excitable adults. Truesteppers Buggin’, K-Ci & Jojo Tell Me It’s Real and MJ Cole Crazy Love are just some of the tracks that invoke memories of our youth. We decide to get involved with the generously mixed rum punch concoction, then have a lil’ dance.
Our host Aurie Styla and his assistants BBBrown and CKP are overseeing some fairly riotous party games - all with a garage twist, natch! This is the mad hatter’s tea party - and he has assumed the role of compere. Thinly veiled authority over chaotic (dis)order. There are prizes up for grabs. But the main impetus for taking part seems to be for bantz and braggin’ rights. There is a distinct competitive element to locating anybody with a Blackberry or Volvo car keys.
All this 2-steppin’ has worked up an insatiable hunger - and we’re utterly ravenous by the time the chicken wings are brought out. Suddenly, all meal-time etiquette goes out of the window. That is, except, for the only really important one: sharing. Cardboard trays piled high with spicy, crunchy wings are passed diligently down the line. One-by-one, we make no apologies for getting our caveman on, and dunkin’ mouthfuls into a variety hot sauce and garlic and herb dips. A healthy appetite is so damn sexy! We suspect there’s grease around our mouth and crumbs down our front. Do we care? NO!
Before long we’re refueled and ready to dance into the evening. The tables are pulled to the side and everybody evacuates to the dancefloor. Oxide & Neutrino No Good 4 Me into T2 Heartbroken into 3 Of A Kind Babycakes follow in quick succession, and everybody is standing on the benches and vibin’.
UKG Brunch might not seem inherently festive from the outset. But owing to the ompah, irrelevant antics and offbeat shenanigans, we left with a warming glow - and very much in the Christmas spirit! So swap those pale imitation roasts for deep fried chicken, and discard the mulled wine in favour of rum punch - and get down to Cosmic Ballroom this Saturday for the seasonal send-off. The Christmas Special kicks-off at midday on 22nd December, and the big guns have been called in especially for the occasion: Pied Piper, Shola Ama, MC Creed, So Solid Cru’s Harvey and Kofi B. It’s gonna be raucous.
Tickets are on sale now.