Friday, 27 February 2009

Esko Closes

Late night Leicester venue Esko has unexpectedly closed. A popular haunt for the more debauched of Leicester's clubbing fraternity, this little corner of Humberstone Gate will be sorely missed.

The first I heard about it was through seeing a group appear on Facebook, pleading for 'One more night', followed by a status update from the owner, Ben Hunt, saying: "Wishes to thank everyone for the past 3 yrs at esko. I had some of the best nights of my life. Djs, promoters, customers and all staff. Thankyou xxx."

Not long after, the official Facebook group for Esko, updated its news page saying not much more than another warmly felt ‘thank you’.

I've no idea why it has shut, nor do I really want to speculate too much. Maybe it's the recession? I don't know, but the last few times I've been there it's been absolutely heaving. I notice many posts seem to be people saying "If only I'd known it was the last night I'd have come", so maybe it wasn't always that busy? Either way, it's a sad loss.

The venue started out three years ago as a members only club, but soon gave up the closed door policy to welcome all and sundry. Despite the shift in policy, Esko always retained its 'secret' charm. Tucked away down a dilapidated, ruined and long forgotten street, just beyond the corporate monstrosity that's Life and behind a nondescript door in the wall, it was hard to gauge what was going on inside.

That was, until the smoking ban hit and an excited babble of revellers began populating the paving stones immediately beside the door. The little smoking area was like a little window on the club itself; animated, delightful chit chat, happy vibes, and the occasional burst of music whenever the door swung open. Esko was delightfully lost in its own reverie. Life was only a few doors away, spilling out mutton-dressed-as-lamb underage girls and an equal splattering of horny adolescent boys and pervy old men, drunkenly swaying to the tiresome chart r’n’b that afflicts so many city centres in England today.

Esko just got on with it, you’d forget Life was even that close. It was an anthropologist – nay - physicist’s dream - two parallel universes sat side by side. Inside Esko, everybody was one happy family, shirking the need to look the part as is the prevailing trend in today's clubland. There was never any trouble, the music policy shifted each week, from the adam’s apple bashing bass of the Biscuit Tin Soundsystem to the cratedigging eclecticism of Jon Kennedy, a joyous celebration of all things funky.

Occasionally, the ponces and pansies from that culturally devoid melting pot of brain dead, drug fuelled hedonism, Sophbeck, would find their way into the nurturing womb of Esko, but even this sorry subculture was tempered and curtailed by the great spirit of Esko. It was a sorely needed venue in Leicester’s electronic scene and will be much missed.

RIP Esko.

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