Gonzo’s Two Room revives club culture on UK’s east coast
The previous incarnation of Gonzo’s Two Room was another venue, Bermuda Bob’s, run by Levi de Belgeonne and friends. Levi already had extensive experience in organizing club nights having organized the grime event Tropico in Norwich for years, and when an opportunity presented itself at Gonzo’s in 2019, he jumped at the chance by s teaming up with her business partner Rikki James. “There was an accountant on the second floor at the time,” Levi tells us over the phone. “They moved out and for one summer we leveled the whole floor and built a club. We already had a date for Boiler Room in September, so that was our deadline, and we were still painting the walls when they came to do the event.
Although the pandemic arrived shortly after Gonzo’s Two Room debuted, the club has made up for lost time since 2021, gaining momentum especially since Overmono’s triumphant appearance. “After the lockdown last summer we were getting 50% no-show rates on sold-out events, which was really hard to deal with,” says Levi. “But, by the time October and November rolled around, seeing Overmono break it, it felt good. We have lasers for that, and we have them installed now. It was a moment where it was like, ‘This is a good direction for us’.”
Norfolk has a long relationship with dance music, particularly hardcore and jungle, with raves in Thetford Forest and legendary club nights in Great Yarmouth laying the groundwork, while Norwich today boasts a plethora of major electronic artists, including Nathan Fake, Luke Sanger, Sully, MOY, Luke Abbott and 9Trane, as well as labels like Cosmic Pint Glass and Hardline Sounds. As for the clubs, Baselogic, which created the BLOC festivals, used to throw parties at the Waterfront, featuring Radioactive Man, Plaid and Ceephax Acid Crew, while Dillinja and Lemon D’s Valve soundsystem also arrested in the city. Between 2012 and 2014, Hideout was a bass house hub. In recent years, however, there have been few options for Norwich dancing heads. Gonzo’s, along with another smaller venue, Space Studios, represents the start of a new chapter.