Words & pics by Matthew Osbourne
Across the course of a lifetime, priorities and attitudes around the end of the year’s festive fun can change. As children, the magic of Christmas pervades until the Santa bubble bursts. In adolescence, it is New Year festivities which hold a greater draw.
Then, in adulthood, the whole season can get a little routine… until of course you have children of your own and suddenly it promises enchanted rewards once again. And the chance of making it to midnight on the last day of the year is not only unlikely, but arguably undesirable.
So, Raver Tots’ NYE celebration, held between 4pm and 6pm on 31 December, seemed to be offering a compromise to those of us who have had kids, but still wonder from time to time where our old selves went.
Joining the queue, which stretched back down Lower Trinity Street from Zumhof Biergarten (the old Air nightclub and erstwhile home to dance music giant Godskitchen), I was reminded of a life I once lived, where the prospect of a night spent dancing to music throbbing at the walls was titillating. Inside, however, I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears – the nostalgia trip soon became a bass heavy reality.
Most playgroups I frequent are full of broken toys, tired tweed clad parents, and the lingering threat of Christianity. But the crowd at Raver Tots was made up of people I would have brushed shoulders with ten and twenty years ago, those hardcore clubbers who enjoyed the overstimulation of the early hours EDM back in the nineties and noughties. It was like a real rave, without the class A’s. And whilst I let my daughter Harper bosh a chocolate Christmas coin, her mum Sophie and I treated ourselves to one drink each from the bar.
Resident DJ Moody Mike was not playing sped up versions of Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig as I had feared either, but was instead spinning garage and house anthems with the promise of drum and bass legends DJ Phantasy & Shabba D on the decks later.
At full volume, with confetti cannons, strobe lights, pyrotechnics, and Lycra clad dancers, DJ Moody Mike tore through ‘Rewind’ by Craig David, ‘In Da Ghetto’ by J Balvin, and other choons from artists such as Skrillex and more. Parents and children alike were rapturous on the packed dancefloor. It was, however, a little overstimulating for Harper (despite coming up on her sugar high) so we headed upstairs where there was the promise of soft play.
Although walking into the marginally quieter ‘other room’, I was greeted by dozens of kids bobbing up and down on toy horses gliding through the gradually inflating crowd, which is possibly the trippiest thing I have seen post-parenting…
The soft play area was as small as an afterthought, but we stuck Harper in and tried to have a boogie to the still excellent music. She wasn’t having much of it though, despite our presumption that for a kid who loves to dance in the living room this would be the perfect event.
However, Harper is still young – and the Raver Tots events are so full on it is a little surprising there are not more lost children wandering about in tears. So, perhaps, in all fairness, a superclub for those still in single digits can be a little much on occasion.
But Raver Tots was so good that we will be looking out for other events in the future, and maybe our daughter is more techno than garage. Lord knows I’ve seen older people throw tantrums instead of shapes when Craig David gets played.
Raver Tots have events running up and down the UK, with their next Birmingham party at Zumhof Biergarten on 10 March 2024 – with Nicky Blackmarket and Sweet Female Attitude. For more info and links to online ticket sales visit: www.ravertots.co.uk/event/raver-tots-birmingham-4
For more on Raver Tots, visit: www.ravertots.co.uk
For more on Zumhof Biergarten visit: www.zumhof.co.uk