It was Friday night, in a 2,000-capacity London nightclub, and the dance floor was packed. A sound system played house music and a huge disco ball spun from the ceiling. Only one thing was strange: it was 9:30 p.m. A woman in the crowd yelled: “I’m 15 weeks postpartum and I’m at the club!”
The evening, called Before Midnight, is hosted by Irish DJ Annie Macmanus, known as Annie Mac after the turntable. She promises all the thrills of a club—only with earlier hours. Kicking off at 7:00 p.m. and ending at 12:00 a.m., Before Midnight is one of several recent variations on the hedonistic, all-night sessions typically enjoyed by dance music, aimed at older fans juggling children and jobs.
“There is an inherent belief that clubs are for young people,” Macmanus said recently. “There is now a generation of people who experienced dance clubs in their most popular form and still want to.”
Macmanus said Before Midnight was born out of her desire to couple her musical profession with her duties as a mother of two boys, ages 6 and 9. Late-night performances from her didn’t mesh well with their weekend activities, she said. “I felt like I was jet lagged,” she added.
Macmanus said this coincided with her decision, in 2021, to retire as host of the BBC’s flagship dance music show on BBC Radio 1 — a job she had held for 17 years.
That was followed by Before Midnight, a new project to restore some balance between his work and personal life. The premise was simple, he added: “an ultimate club night that’s just like a normal night, only earlier.”
The first night, held last year at Islington Assembly Hall, a London music venue, was an experiment. Tickets sold out and late last year Macmanus announced a 10-date Before Midnight tour of Britain and Ireland. The remaining two tour dates (in April and June) will take place at Outernet, a new underground nightclub in the West End that is the largest live events space built in central London since the 1940s. .
Before Midnight is popular with women, who Macmanus estimated make up 75 percent of attendees. Jodie Brooks, 44, who has attended every Before Midnight party in London to date, was in the crowd that Friday night.
“I never wanted motherhood to change me, but it inevitably does. You have to get up and go to football practice on Saturday at 9 a.m.,” Brooks, who works in advertising and, like Macmanus, has two sons, ages 6 and 9, said by phone later.
With Before Midnight, he said, “you can go to a really sumptuous dinner at 6pm. At 8:00 p.m. you are in the club” and “by 12:00 a.m. you are out”.
The idea is not totally new. Since 2018, Tim Lawrence, a professor of cultural studies at the University of East London, has organized a dance party in London called All Our Friends every two months. It starts at 5:00 p.m.
The earlier schedule allows for a different approach to dancing, Lawrence said, which can “potentially be more expressive and more interactive.”
But for Brooks, the appeal of Before Midnight was simpler: it was a chance to dance to the music he loves, in a club like any other, and get home in good time for bed.
By: ANNA CODREA-RADO
BBC-NEWS-SRC: http://www.nytsyn.com/subscribed/stories/6600811, IMPORTING DATE: 2023-03-07 22:10:08
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