“Més que un club” – that’s the motto emblazoned on the stadium seats of the Camp Nou, home of the world famous futbol club, Barcelona. It translates into English as “more than a club”, which is a phrase that can equally be applied to Elrow, the world-conquering party brand that today welcomes Mixmag to the 4,000-capacity venue on the city outskirts, 10 miles south of the iconic stadium, to celebrate Halloween.
For Elrow isn’t just a club. That’s clear from the apocalyptic scenes that greet us upon entry. A 20-strong crew of workers has been present morning to night for the past seven days to lavishly decorate the venue. Across its three indoor dancefloors, cloak-clad ghouls and vampires hang from the ceilings, monstrous inflatable witches and tarantulas are strapped to bar roofs, and one DJ booth is in the shape of a demonic fanged skull, while the sandyfloored, open-air Ker Terrace out the back also provides a more traditional clubbing option if desired. On the Terrace a giant skeleton puppet on stilts wades through the throng of dancing bodies, breaking character for a moment to pump its bony fist to the grooves powering out of the system. The scene is a whirlwind of colour and energy, and this transfers directly into the crowd, whose enthusiasm levels barely dip below frenzied across the 13-hour event, kept at optimum by the unerring soundtrack of uplifting, vibrant sounds aired by the DJs.
As the steady thump of house beats merges with the tones of an undead string quartet, who are being lightly whipped with a cat o’ nine tails by a pirate, it’s apparent that the scene is as much as an interactive theatre experience as it is a dance party. And every party with Elrow is Halloween. Every party has this level of immersive riot of colour, the actors, the inflatables, the confetti that falls like rain in a thunderstorm. Hell, when they took over the Mixmag Lab they brought a full-on club spec confetti cannon to shower our office. We’re still finding bits of it months later.