Florence is a city renowned for its beautiful nudes. It is home the most famous sculpture in Western culture, Michelangelo's extraordinary, lissome-looking David. But David's rippling marble limbs are far from the only works of art on show in Florence tonight. It's Halloween and the beautiful freaks have come out in force to party at Tenax - the club that has been igniting the city's nightlife for over a quarter of a century.
Since it opened in 1981 the club-come-concert venue has played host to a who's who of bands ranging from Echo & The Bunnymen to Morcheeba, Frankie Goes To Hollywood to Radiohead. Not to mention a staggering assortment of DJs covering every genre from US house (S-Man Sanchez) to drum 'n' bass (Fabio & Grooverider).
For all that, Tenax has never rested on its laurels, as proved by tonight's futuristic line-up: North Americans-in-Berlin Konrad Black and Troy Pierce and French hitmaker Marc Antona. Rather unexpectedly, for us, the club is absolutely jam packed by 10.30PM, a time when most Spaniards are just considering what to have for dinner. This is part-cultural difference and part the knock-on effect of a stringent new law which bans the sale of alcohol after 2AM. Ironically, in Anglo-Saxon countries (Britain, America) Italy has long been considered an excellent example of a country with a responsible drinking culture. Quite why the Italian government decided to suddenly lay down laws which are even more restrictive than those in the famously uptight UK is a mystery, but it certainly has the effect of getting the party started early. (Later, we notice it also has the effect of creating "booze dealers" who dispense illicit beverages after the bar cut-off. Proof that the more laws you have the more criminals you create.)
One thing we've learned this summer though is that mere politics can't hold a good party down and Tenax is a writhing sea of the hot, hyped clubbers. Marc Antona opens with a live set and revels in the opportunity to tease the packed-in crowd. Honed over the hot summer months at gigs like Alma, Space in Ibiza, Goa Madrid or Le Rex in Paris his textured electronica is arguably one of the highlight of the night.
Konrad Black is up next, but it's easy to get distracted from the music by the sheer array of talent on show. On one podium a pouting Dita Von Teese-look alike, wearing black patent leather elbow gloves, fishnet stockings and little else, is an eye-magnet for every man in the room. But she's just one of a frankly dazzling array of women who, despite it being late autumn, seem to be allergic to clothing. The stylish blokes prowling the dancefloor are clearly enthralled and it's nice to see a club where sexiness and cutting edge music aren't mutually exclusive. It's up to lanky American Troy Pierce to close the night and his tight, deliberate sound eases the party towards late.
Of course, the end isn't really the end - not here. There's always an after-party and this one is frankly spectacular. After being sworn to secrecy about the location by Tenax´s Saturdays promoter Elliot Kun, the Voice is bundled into a car with the DJs, and after an hour's drive (during which Pierce keeps up a running commentary on the in-car tune selection) we arrive at a magnificent villa in the Tuscan countryside. In a remarkable show of stamina, Troy played "for the friends" a 6 hours set while [Marc] Antona puts in another 3 hours live...We may need the intervention of a higher power to get back home in one piece. But it's been worth every minute of it...