New dance venue on the doorstep

PUBLISHED: 18:14 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:23 25 August 2010

FIRST NIGHT: UNKLE performs at matter.

FIRST NIGHT: UNKLE performs at matter.

AT LONG last music lovers and clubbers in south east London are to get their time in the sun.

AT LONG last music lovers and clubbers in south east London are to get their time in the sun.

Matter, a 2,600 capacity gig and dance venue, opened beneath Greenwich Peninsula's O2 with a performance from the epic trip-hop band UNKLE, last Friday.

The opening will be welcome news to those who've grown used to hour-long night buses home from similar central London clubs.

Custom built by the owners of Fabric, matter promises varied acts because, unlike its predecessor, it is designed to host live music as much as DJ sets.

The choice of having UNKLE launch the club appeared to be an attempt to reflect this diversity - the band is known for having worked with artists like Thom Yorke and DJ Shadow.

The band, now into its fourth line up of artists, played a characteristically overpowering set of strong guitar and heavy bass.

But if UNKLE were supposed to encapsulate matter's fusion of DJing, producing and rock, hopefully the no-show of Stone Roses vocalist Ian Brown wasn't a bad omen for the club.

But a lot would have to go wrong for matter's facilities to go unnoticed.

The main room has an impressive vibrating floor studded with strobe lights, and surrounded by a balcony that ensures nobody in the room is more than 15 metres away from the stage.

There are also two other rooms, each with individual music as well as over 60 toilet cubicles and spacious, softly lit areas in between.

The matter calendar already features acts like Mylo, Simian Mobile Disco and James Murphy, not to mention its Creative Experiment on October 11, featuring Mark Ronson, The Mystery Jets, Lethal Bizzle and Disco Bloodbath.

And aside from impressive line-ups, south east Londoners will really appreciate the club's accessibility.

With access to the O2's 2,000 parking spaces and the 108 bus all night to Greenwich, Blackheath and Lewisham, they will for once face a fairly short trip home.

The rest of the home-bound crowd can catch the 188 night bus into central London, or catch the last (or first) Jubilee Line train.

There will also be the novelty of an all night Oyster card-compatible Thames Clipper service to Waterloo.

With ticket prices ranging between £10 and £20, matter isn't really pushing the purse strings much further than a night in central London districts.

The only problem lies in the venue's clean-cut image. Although safe and accessible, the O2 lacks character, history, or any signs of 'real-life'.

This probably won't matter to tourists and many of the Dockland's affluent bankers - but this clientele won't give the place a soul.

matter chiefs are going to have a job convincing Londoners that Greenwich Peninsula can be as cool or interesting as Brixton, Shoreditch or Camden.

But providing its owners can drum up the same faithful fan base that made Fabric such a cult success, matter is definitely a club with legs.

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