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Industrial strength duo Sanker and Nicholls debuts new night at Industry

Abbey owner David Cooley with promoters Jeffrey Sanker and Paul Nicholls
Abbey owner David Cooley with promoters Jeffrey Sanker and Paul Nicholls

While Sunday may be a low-key, prep-for-the-week-ahead day for some, for many Los Angeles-based gays, it’s the cherry on the weekend sundae. It’s “Sunday Funday” for those who meet up for brunch and make their way out earlier than usual to the bars for a Bloody Mary, beer, or their “hair of the dog” cocktail of choice.

While the party tends to get started a bit earlier than usual on this, the “Lord’s Day,” Jeffrey Sanker and Paul Nicholls have established and maintained a traveling Sunday night event that keeps the boys out until late into the night. And the latest chapter of their Sunday night experience takes shape in SBE’s newest venue, Industry.

643 N La Cienega Boulevard’s not a new address for a Sanker and Nicholls hosted event, but it is a new home. Since the masses can gradually grow bored with a venue--particularly one whose appeal is established on buzz and newness—SBE shuttered the former venue Area and transformed it into Industry.
And we’re not talking about hanging a few different colored curtains here. It’s as if Heidi Montag’s 13 surgeries had her end up looking like Megan Fox, instead of a more exaggerated Heidi Montag.

Nicholls describes the change a bit more eloquently, noting it does feel “very different. It is more open with its innovative indoor/outdoor design reminiscent of our first Sunday at Privilege but yet it has a very intimate feel as well.”

Those who have followed the Sanker/Nicholls party train around the city have watched the duo throw events at some of the newest, most popular venues in the city, from Privilege to Area, My House to Foxtail, Voyeur and now Industry.

If the success of their party is at least somewhat reliant on being the newest, hippest club in town, is that a bad thing? Thus far, it hasn’t seemed to be an issue. Sanker and Nicholls appear to have the ability to determine a party’s lifespan and have been fortunate to have a number of new clubs open over the years that are suitable for their parties.

Nicholls explains that they moved the party from Area when they did because “we knew the club would be soon closing to become Industry, so we felt it best to end the night on a high note before the club closed. We have never felt like we had to do a Sunday party; we just do them when we feel we have something really amazing for our crowd to experience.”

Sanker and Nicholls do have a noteworthy track record for getting the gay masses to come to venues that usually cater to straight clientele during the rest of the week. Perhaps that’s not entirely due to their prowess, but also a combination of the audience’s curiosity to check out the venues regularly written about in the celebrity weekly magazines, where the Lindsay, Paris, Nicole, Naomi, Justin, Leonardo, Christina, RNC Chair Michael Steele sort of celebrities allegedly dance, drink and get into trouble.

But the promoter duo’s success has also given them some leveraging power.  “Sundays are all about introducing our crowd to the hottest new clubs,” says Nicholls, “but on our terms. A takeover of sorts. We always have the venues adjust their vibe, atmosphere, and of course, drink and bottle prices. We are not into the price gouging that often occurs in the ‘straight vip scene.’” And according to Nicholls, “the venues have all actually welcomed the change. They want our crowd there.”

And the crowd appears to want to be there too. Even after an afternoon of Margarita-ing at Marix, or beer busting at Here Lounge, the dance floor is just as crowded as it would be on a Friday night, when people typically don’t have to work the next day. Some of those revelers are the same people that follow Sanker and Nicholls’ Sunday night party across the city, some are those who also frequent the promoters’ Friday night party at Eleven, and their Saturday night party at Here Lounge. Three nights in a row is an exceptional sort of loyalty, but also must be taken as some sort of testament to the quality of the night and crowd.

“There are a lot of familiar faces,” acknowledges Nicholls, “but Sundays also attract a lot of people that don't do the night scene as much and tend to go out more during the day that end up turning a fun Sunday day into a fun Sunday night. We also get a lot of the people who work in the club business who have Sunday nights off, which is really nice.”

Who it doesn’t attract, or perhaps doesn’t target, is an “alternative” crowd. Though the party usually gets quite crowded, you won’t typically find your hipsters, club kids (over 21, of course), and leather bears here. Perhaps it’s the venue, maybe the music, or location, but then again, there are other Sunday night parties for those seeking something a bit less mainstream and trendy; cubs, otters and bears visit “Bears in Space” at Akbar, and hip-hop lovers frequent “Booty Bump” at Fubar.

Industry’s debut last month, from a guest’s standpoint, appeared as hearty and well-attended as a promoter could hope for. While the transformation of the club’s interior isn’t on par with the radical transformation of 7969’s metamorphosis into Voyeur, it does feel significantly different enough, with cooler blue tones and woods that make it seem more intimate and elegantly structured than the more generic feeling of Area. But with that modern elegance is a twist of classic trampiness, as stripper poles border the dance floor…because go-go dancers on boxes were so last year, right?

Nicholls and Sanker also launched the party with a unique musical bang, bringing DJ Corey Craig out from New York for their new night’s debut. Craig’s a great New York name – he headlined New York’s Heritage of Pride last year and compiles a booty bouncing podcast on Itunes – but was a curious choice for a Los Angeles crowd that might be less familiar with his sound.

Nicholls insists,“DJ selection is key. Sundays are all about exposing people to new things. Not just the clubs, but DJs and atmosphere.” Besides bringing in DJs that are less exposed to the Los Angeles scene like Craig and Hector Fonseca, Nicholls also feels the parties are “an opportunity for DJs who do spin WeHo a lot to do something completely different, like Derek Monteiro or Morningstar. Voyeur has a dark and sexy vibe like the Club, and at Industry we are definitely going for an offbeat, fun, and eclectic, feel-good vibe.”

A final remarkable aspect that adds a flavorful spice to the new Sanker and Nicholls night: Industry’s Gourmet Burger Bar. Particularly good for those who have been boozing all day and may have skipped out on the Pizza Rustica, this Burger Bar will make you wonder why more clubs don’t put more effort into designing the tastiest of snacks for their guests. Maybe they think that after a few drinks people don’t really care what they’re eating. But the burgers, the falafel and the chicken are enough to make you void your “I don’t eat when I’m at the bar” policy.

Industry is located at 643 N La Cienega Blvd, at Melrose Place, Los Angeles, 90069, 310-652-2012

Additional notes and tips:

  • If you’re planning on hitting up a Sanker and Nicholls night on a three-day weekend, get there early to avoid a potentially huge line.
  • Voyeur and Industry each run twice a month, alternating weekends.
  • Colin Kim spins at the next Industry event on May 9th.

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