Last Friday on November 29th, a brand new movement was born in the heart of Kent. Celebrating the launch event, ravers from Tunbridge Wells and further afield swarmed Pitcher & Piano for Unity’s inaugural outing. Crowds from all corners of the South East bustled into the area, anticipating the return of former local resident, and now internationally touring artist – GW Harrison, along with the prospect of a brand new knees up in Kent.
On arrival a sea of ravers had formed outside, all queueing in excitement for Unity. The night’s venue; Pitcher & Piano is a well known space in Tunbridge Wells, however not previously as a source of high profile underground music. By day the Kent branch which forms part of a nation-wide chain, lends itself to being a swanky food joint. However by night, transforms into a busy bar open until 3am on weekends with a capacity of 600 people – which Unity filled.
Staff, Drinks and Heat
With many braving the cold outside waiting to enter the venue, an organised system was needed to keep on top of the crowds. Cheerful and efficient security staff were on hand to get ravers into the space quickly and safely. Once inside, the venue was kept at a comfortable temperature for the majority of the night, though fan installations may be preferable for busy events in the summer.
Bar staff were also poised and ready to serve the swarms, keeping queue times to a minimum. Prices behind the bar were more than reasonable for the area – £4.20 for a bottle of Heineken or for those looking to splash a bit more cash, a range of classic and creative cocktails are available from £8.75. More details below :
Beers : £4.20
Ciders : £4.85
Wine : £4.50 small, £5.95 large
Water : £2.20 small, £3.70 large
Production & Sound
The open format of Pitcher & Piano made the increase of production stand out tenfold, not to mention the added rumble from a newly installed Void sound system. The entire building rocked, to the point where those outside in the smoking area were still fist pumping to the bass heavy beats.
New installations of spot lights, smoke injectors and lasers (everyone’s favourite) set the scene as colour filled the room, perfectly complementing the music and building tension for those all important drops.
Gearing the night up before the headline act, saw Unity head honcho Matt Shead aka Sheado setting up camp in the booth. With the venue being filled early on during pace-building warm up sets from Chris Ansell and Faz Sherazi, the crowd were now raring to go. Thankfully, Sheado came locked & loaded with exactly what they wanted.
Opting for rolling baselines and big room hitters such as “DFCW” BY Sosa injected excitement into the Pitcher & Piano. Reading his crowd as the hour continued, the fan favourite “Voicemail” by Patrick Topping and Green Velvet received a huge reaction, as the iconic vocals rang around the room before a seamless transition into the groovy drop of “Doin Ya Thang” by Oliver $.
The local lad with a dream to become a professional touring artist. Having conquered some of the industry’s top venues and festivals, George Harrison returned to where it all started, for a special homecoming. Rewind less than a decade and George found difficulty landing a gig even at Pitcher and Piano.
“Tunbridge wells was my hometown for most of my life School life. Pitcher and Piano was the place to be amongst a very small choice of venues. I remember borderline begging to DJ here 9/10 years ago.” – GW Harrison
GW’s return saw the venue sold out, with the dance floor jam-packed as he stepped up to the decks. His usual high-energy antics became a theme for the 2 hour peak time slot. Selecting “Locked” by fellow local duo K & K proved to be an instant hit, with the uplifting melody crafting a euphoric atmosphere in the room. The track’s extended build up raised the hair’s on our necks, leading to a sure-fire dubby drop met by confetti showers.
Rounding off the set, and acting as a clear signifier of how far he’s come – GW dropped his very own anthem and former Beatport number 1 “When House Takes A Journey”. The distinct looping vocal crept into the dance floor, with wall-to-wall of the venue singing in unison to call the curtains on a truly memorable night.
One to be considered for the history books in Tunbridge Wells, and a step in the right direction for underground music in Kent. A new venue has without a doubt turned some heads and will become a contender for other spaces in Kent. Unity made their mark in emphatic fashion, selling out their first party of many more to come, and giving locals the chance to see a headline act in rare settings. Who knows what’s next for the fresh new brand. 8/10
Words : Matt Shipley
Images : Miguel Pilgrim