So, I have a new family and their name is Alpha...
It all started last Saturday when I got the train down south to meet Amy Valentine for a night out at the O2 Academy Newcastle. It was my first time visiting the city, and I've no idea why because it was literally only an hour and a half on the train from Edinburgh! We were heading to an alternative club night they hold there called Alpha. I love an eclectic mix of music but my heart will always belong to pop punk, screamo and rock - so I was excited to try out a new club night as there's only one in Glasgow that me and my pals really go to.
I stayed at the Thistle Hotel which was right across the road from the train station, and just around the corner from the venue (sober Ayden liked the convenience of this already) When I arrived I had a couple of hours to kill before I met Amy, so I took a wander around the shops and bought a new outfit for the evening (completely disregarding all the clothes I had already packed, typical) Once Amy arrived we met to meet the guys who run Alpha - Anth, Chris and Ash, along with John who is one of the managers of the O2 Academy Newcastle. We went for a beer and had a proper good chinwag about all things Newcastle, Music, and the sort of club scene that exists in the city. I was also banned from mentioning Gordie Shore, haha!
Maybe it's just that I've never sat down and spoken to anyone who runs their own club night, but I was absolutely inspired by what the guys do, and how successful their night has become despite only launching in April 2013. As I've gotten older I am much more fussy where I end up spending my nights out, maybe for the fact that I get hangovers so badly so I want it to be worth it. For me, good music is a priority. I like songs that I can dance to and that create a good atmosphere, which ultimately leaves everyone in high spirits and up for a good time. So when I gave the guys a list of my 5 favourite alternative bands, I was pleased when they said they played every single one! (for the record, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Brand New, Underoath and Jimmy Eat World)
Next up on the priority list for me tends to be alcohol options and prices. I don't binge drink or consume large volumes of alcohol when I'm out, so what I do drink I like to be tasty! I know that might sound weird but the thought of a vodka and orange just bores me to tears. I love a cocktail (maybe that's why my hangovers are so bad?!) so was pleased to hear that Alpha did a few simple but effective cocktails, and most famously the Fireball in a little plastic bucket for £5!
Third on my list tends to be the actual venue its self and how the club night operates. I'm talking about theme nights and competitions, the sort of incentives that are not totally necessary but still fun and makes a club stand out from the others. Alpha have done a load of theme nights including Adventure Time, Pirates (where they built the stage into a pirate ship) and wrestling to name a few. The night we were going was day of the dead, black lights and UV paints by the face painters turning everyone into glowing sugar skulls. I'm a big fan of set dressing because of my job, so it was fun to hear that the guys like going all out on the decor and really making the most of fun themes!
Amy and I left the guys feeling pretty excited for the night ahead, so we went and got some food (I popped Amy's buritto cherry) then started getting ready to go out. We went across the road from the hotel to a bar called Science for pre drinks, Amy had a pink cosmo and I had a red cola cocktail complete with kola cubes on top. Told you I've got a sweet tooth!
And then, the Alpha madness commenced...
Alpha (which means the beginning) was in the main room of the club, and Omega was the second room (which means the end) It was really refreshing for there to be two rooms playing a mix of alternative music, so we could go a wander with our fire buckets and see what each room was playing. The O2 Academy Newcastle is such a big venue, similar to the one in Glasgow and I don't think I got quite used to the massive scale! Because the rock night we normally go to in Glasgow at the Cathouse is just a few small and rather sweaty rooms (you can hear the 25 year old pensioner coming out in me now!) The place was absolutely heaving, and we never waited for more than 5 minutes at the bar which was a bit of a shock too.
The clocks went back that night so the club shut at half two (which was really half three) and for the first time in ages I was dancing when the lights went up and the last song was played. Wild West by Will Smith FYI! You'll normally catch me hovering about the dance floor at 1.30am thinking is it socially acceptable for me to bail now, as chips and cheese are calling, haha. Amy will back me up here, I think it was the best night out we have both had in a long time. It was a combination of everything I have explained above, plus getting to actually spend time with the guys who run it and realising how much heart and soul they pour into what they do at the weekends, between working 'normal' jobs during the week. I absolutely admire that sort of commitment, and I can't thank Anth, Chris and Ash enough for throwing us into the deep end and showing us what Alpha in Newcastle was all about. Sunday morning me and Amy went for breakfast before our train/flight home, and I spent the whole journey curled up in a ball listening to Jimmy Eat World on repeat on the O2 Academy TV youtube channel. I told you, this girl doesn't do hangovers, but this one was 100% worth it.
Now for a slight twist in the story, as it turns out Alpha have just started in the ABC2 in Glasgow every Friday night! They only opened up about 4 weeks ago which explains why I haven't heard about it yet, but I left Newcastle in such high spirits last weekend knowing that this little taste of Alpha was going to be in my home city every friday night too. So I was reunited with Chris and Anth on friday night when I went to their Alphaween event, dressed as Finn from Adventure time.
Again, friday was SUCH a good night! I feel like my moany 25 year old OAP bitterness has been wiped and I've got a new lease of life for being excited about going out. I hope I make sense and that some of you can relate to me on this one? I will definitely be visiting Alpha again now that it's in Glasgow every friday, and to be honest would be happy taking a girls weekend down to Newcastle again because it's actually a lot closer than I thought. For that reason I'm also going to keep an eye out for gigs there too if Glasgow ever sells out. O2 customers can get access to gig tickets up to 48 hours before general release by texting 'Priority' to 2020. Unfortunately this doesn't apply to the club night, but if you're in Newcastle and love a bit of pop punk and rock then I would definitely reccommend trying out Alpha. Glasgow readers, if you'd lost faith in our city then fear not. Alpha is in town and I have a funny feeling this is only the start of something awesome with the potential to be HUGE. I see a great excuse here for a bloggers Christmas night out! Drop me a wee line on twitter if you are interested (@hellorogue)