I’ve been lucky enough to come here twice over the past few months and previously several years back – I’d come a few weeks ago to watch an Orchestra re-create some of Daft Punk’s Greatest Hits as well as the following week to watch.
XOYO is a legendary venue – many of the world’s best DJs have played there over the years, and their anticipated Residency series – where a single DJ, normally a Dance-music heavyweight – signs on to play every Saturday with special guests – is really something that gives the venue a lot of prestige. Tickets for most of the gigs there are relatively cheap, and there is always a great turn-out of people there, every weekend.
It’s a deceptively-big basement club (the entrance, off Old Street Roundabout, is relatively small) but you enter, you’ve got the entrance to one ‘Room Two’ (more on that below), stairs to go down to the Main Room, then stairs further up to the Smoking/Cloakroom areas. It’s can feel a bit claustrophobic to begin with (especially as they fit in a Men’s and Women’s toilet within that area) and can get a bit rammed towards the end of nights, but it does give that ‘basement’ club type feel.
Downstairs, it opens up to the massive Main Room – to the right-hand side is the Bar area that goes along the side, as you enter (Everytime I’ve been, I’ve found it to be quick, well-staffed and relatively cheap). The main dancefloor to the left is a huge area that has several pillars in the middle – with higher/raised sections to the left and right of it (one of those sections is used as a stage for performances.) It can get really packed during peak-times and so it’s as if people are everywhere, but not so much that it’s like a ‘sweatbox’ and there’s actually room to dance/move. There really is a special vibe there and the pillar/raised areas make it seem more than a ‘warehouse’ type of venue.
The DJ area/booth is in the far corner – raised quite high – but not so high that it people can’t see the DJ working the turntables and getting involved with the crowds. The lighting and smoke effects are second-to-none – it really ‘breathes’ during a gig and makes the place feel a hell of a lot bigger than it actually is (although I found it a bit disorienting though!)
The recently-revamped Room 2 (upstairs from the Main Room) is relatively smaller – literally almost like a square – with a Bar area in one corner, a raised pillar section in the middle, and the lower-raised DJ booth (not area) in the middle, across from it. This Room is far more intimate than the Main one and a good place to ‘warm up’ if planning to go the Main Room later in the night – with a solid soundsystem there too, making it feel almost as loud as the Main one!
Given the layout of the venue, it’s not too hard to venture between Rooms (which is a big plus, especially those with different music tastes) and the various Bar/Toilet areas.
No complaints from me on service of the staff – Bar staff, Cloakroom staff and even the Door Security are really cool and swift. It’s definitely one of the premiere venues in London – for good reason – highly recommend it!