22nd July – I opened my mailbox late (as always) and found an invite,
“1800 ® TEQUILA LAUNCHES ‘1800 STUDIOS’ SUMMER ROOFTOP RESIDENCY WITH GUEST PERFORMANCE BY KOJEY RADICAL”
To celebrate the launch of “1800 Studios” the brand had commissioned Kojey Radical for three designs for their bottles. The press release stated,
“This summer, 1800 Tequila, the world’s first super premium tequila, is encouraging
consumers to celebrate self-expression and creativity with its collaboration with British
musician, poet and multimedia artist Kojey Radical and a six-week residency at London
hotspot, the Dalston Roof Park.”
Super premium and self expression did you say? I’m in.
But before I donned my tequila goggles I thought I’d see who Kojey Radical was because it appeared that my scene and his were different. What I found was that Kojey was of Ghanaian parents and brought up in London. He had graduated from the Royal College of London with a first BA hons in Fashion Illustration and had spent time performing spoken word before moving into hip-hop, rap and grime.
I checked a few videos. I’m quite open to music, any performance really having spent countless years in the backs of vans going to play at venues and shouting “More cowbell!” at the drummer. Even when he was only playing a cajon.
So anyway, 1800 look like they had themselves an up and coming star to launch their 1800 Studios.
Doors opened at 6pm so naturally I arrived after 7pm and although I knew of the venue, Dalston Roof Park, I had never visited. I was quite taken with the location. An old building, listed as the “Print House” has on its front “Reeves and Sons, Established 1766”. Reeves and Sons being an artists’ supplies firm that had the building from 1868-1954.
Coming into the building, I was given an 1800 folding fan and was then directed to the stairwell. I got to the roof to be met with 1800’s pop up shop selling the rather limited run of Kojey’s bottles.
360 in fact.
All silver expression along with patches of his art work for the bottles and shirts etc. Bottles were/are retailing for £40 or $50.
There were two other bars, one opposite the stage under cover and one out on the other end of the roof, surrounded by tables and chairs. We were having glorious weather so I got myself a beer at the stage bar and saw that on stage right was a table with Kojey’s artwork on it.
I wandered over to see.
And there, leaning up against the wall were his three pieces and another picture showing the work on the bottles.
Was that it? I thought.
Well, yes. Nothing else. No information. And I mean, nothing. You could have missed it.
Nothing about what was going on.
I held out because something may be said later and it was early. So I sat at the other bar where I met the sound guy for the Roof Park. We got talking but mainly about music and funnily enough tequila.
The menu had four tequila cocktails listed and I’m a sucker for a Paloma so that was me happy.
Taking it in, the ambience was pretty good. Everyone friendly and in good spirits. Most seemingly being here for Kojey as opposed to the tequila.
Still, after a while Kojey took to the stage and thanked people for coming. It was short with something along the lines of “I’ve done some art for 1800 tequila. I used to do art before I got into this so yeah, thanks. I’ll be back in a bit to do a set”.
That’s when everyone cheered. Obviously.
Not long after he took to the stage. The place filled out and everyone danced and that was that.
I left after 30 or so due to getting the trains and I felt that 1800 hadn’t launched anything.
The tequila was their silver line and it was to me as if they’d jumped on Kojey to get the spirit to a wider audience (fair dues) but didn’t capitalise on it.
A small pop up shop and his art just laying on the wall to one side. Nothing about tequila, what 1800 Studios was about nor what to expect in the future.
Nothing. 1800 seemed like an afterthought.
According to the press release this was the first of many,
“1800® Studios summer residency will be open from Friday, 19 July until Sunday, 1
September Monday to Friday from 5pm, Saturday and Sunday from 3pm.”
I still had a good time, don’t get me wrong but what’s on next weekend? What do they have lined up?
All told yes, a good time but it was more like I was at a gig than a launch of anything. Shame but they make one hell of a Paloma.
Felipe de Herida is a Tequila Aficionado Tequila Jockey and you can find many of his reviews on Sipping Off the Cuff.
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