Regression Sessions, filling clubs to the rafters for the last three years, has become a staple for partygoers across the UK. Kicking off their autumn/winter tour on Sat 3 Oct, the Sessions team are keeping the party capitals of the country dancing until Sat 23 Jan. Touching down in Brighton recently, the night fits snugly within the city’s open-minded and bohemian atmosphere. Living up to its name, this experience transports attendees back to their childhoods in a grown up setting (there’s a bar – rejoice!). In very good-natured company, I felt like I’d landed in the midst of a miniature festival. Approaching The Arch club the first sight to captivate revellers is a large bouncy castle tempting students, professionals and everyone in between to shake off their responsibilities and let loose.
The resident DJs blast out something for everyone amidst the unadulterated fun at these playgroups. There are a real variety of genres enthralling clubbers, including drum ‘n’ bass, grime, house, disco and garage, which keeps crowds roaring and demanding more. It’s clear that music is the driving force behind the Regression Sessions nights.
Aesthetics are more than covered too. Stage dancers wielding power tools blast sparks in time to the beats of the music. As a taste of what’s to come for this unique night, the captivating sparks make for a very welcome change from the usual sight of fellow sweaty clubbers or bars packed so deep the optics seem miles away.
On the decidedly colourful dance-floor, my eyes are drawn to a large placard being held up by a cheery looking reveller, inscribed ‘anyone seen my unicorn?’ For me, this effectively sums up the carefree youthfulness of the night. No skimping on entertainment, the place is filled with playful surprises. I spot strangers bonding over a game of Jenga in the chill-out zone upstairs, free face painting also available and heading upstairs, three fresh-faced individuals sit engrossed in a small screen. I realise they are clutching controllers and recognise that they’re competing in a game of Mario Kart. This night has rendered its reputation as home to theatrical, eccentric amusements.
Back to the dance floor, there’s an abundance of things to keep the hordes well-entertained, with balloon animals and inflatable toys surfing the crowd. One of my clubbing companions points out another placard in the music-loving audience advertising ‘free hugs’. To me, this illustrates the marriage between Regression Sessions and Brighton as a host – it wouldn’t be uncommon to see such a sign anywhere in the city.
Once outside again, I hear laughter coming from what I consider to be an inadequately sized ball pit. I quickly forgive this shortcoming upon noticing the smiles on the faces of the people playing inside. It’s clear to see Regression Sessions have managed to recreate a whole host of childhood magic. Bursts from the smoke machine punctuate the night, bringing cheers from the audience as confetti rained down. A night with personality, senses are stimulated, giving the crowd an electric sense of camaraderie. On my way out I spot a girl in the smoking area, happily playing with an inflatable butterfly she had acquired. The transformation made by attendees as they leave their stresses at the door is perfectly encapsulated by this sight, I think to myself as the harsh reality of the sea breeze replaces the frivolity of the Regression Sessions Brighton experience.
Regression Sessions is at The Arch Brighton on Fri 12 Feb.
By Christina Doyle/Freya Hughes