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Phil Ilson
The Halloween Society

The late nineties also saw the explosion of a creative, alternative and underground dance music, particularly around Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, with clubs like 333, Turnmills, and the Blue Note in Hoxton Square gaining much media interest and large audiences. Dan’s Embassy had access to this world via his promotion as a DJ bar where big names could play more low-key chilled sets to a Sunday crowd, plus many of these clubs had a strong visual identity with multi-projection visuals from the likes of the Light Surgeons, Vegetable Vision and VJs Hexstatic (the latter of whom gave Ninja Tune’s Stealth nights at the Blue Note its creative visual feel). Dan’s idea was Kentra – a multi-media sit-down club night held early evening on Mondays at Notre Dame Hall; Halloween would programme the films, and the first night saw guest DJ slots from Andy Weatherall and Richard Fearless play specially commissioned sets to live visuals from the Light Surgeons. The audiences and media interest was staggering, and over the next year similar regular events were held. Dan also brought in major PR in the form of Savage & Best (who’d been integral to the Britpop explosion), to start pitching Kentra as a worldwide phenomenon. Unfortunately things took a bad turn at a launch event for Levi’s that Kentra was hosting in a palace on the outskirts of Rome; a major power-cut on the day of the event cancelled the proceedings and although not Kentra’s fault, it left a disillusionment, and soon after, Dan pulled out to concentrate on new bar openings. Kentra continued under the patronage of Addi Merrill at the newly re-opened Scala in Kings Cross, and was briefly revived a few years later to launch the Cargo venue in Shoreditch.

Kentra flyer
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