September 1981 – Florence is in the grip of enthusiasm for the new sounds coming from the United Kingdom: new wave, dark and punk. A handful of young (some of them, very young) entrepreneurs decide to create an innovative and alternative club in Florence, open to the new styles: Tenax is born Its boom is not immediate, but within a few months the club becomes a meeting point for emerging artists, fashion designers and musicians – a sort of Greenwich Village of the Tuscan capital, and not only.
Music enthusiasts with good memory won’t forget the concerts of groups like Spandau Ballet, Visage, Bauhaus, the Psychedelic Furs, New Order, the Sisters of Mercy which, at the time, are considered the elite of music. At the console are alternating Frank Alabastro, Enrico Tagliaferri, Larry and Leo Daddi – all DJs with very personal styles and destined to make the history of nightlife, as Tenax is about to become the most popular discotheque in Italy.
These are the years of the “Ultra” Wednesdays, of the Blade Runner staging, of the China Town events… while on the stage are performing Tears For Fear, Tuxedomoon, the Human League, D.A.F., Litfiba, Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Tenax also shows up on the then Minister Gianni De Michelis’ guide of the most popular discotheques.
Among the thousands of people who crowd the club, there is a vast number of celebrities: Vittorio Gassman, Dalila Di Lazzaro, David Byrne, Roberto Benigni, Ilona Staller, Amanda Lear. The change of pace is in the second half of the ‘80s, when Tenax – already extremely popular in Florence – opens its doors to the new generations and to new audiences.
In the early ‘90s, Tenax as temple of rock music is only a memory. Due to the uncertainty that hovers over the entire nightlife industry, a sudden change of the programming towards commercial and pop music – including discotheque for teenagers– becomes necessary. In 1995, Tenax is bought by the company Nozze di Figaro and starts its rebirth: thanks to a program rich in live events and international guests, the Florentine scene reconquers the night owls.
The secret? A varied and quality schedule with weekly events dedicated to different audiences: among the main events in those years, we remember heavy Tuesdays, tropical Wednesdays, rock Thursdays… During the six seasons led by Nozze di Figaro, Tenax hosts on its stage more than four hundred live events, with artists like Gary Barlow, Everything But The Girl, Shaggy, Paul Weller, Carmen Consoli, Daniele Silvestri, Spooky, Tricky, Patty Pravo, Ben Harper, Morcheeba, Fun Lovin’ Criminals…
Show business is evolving quickly and Tenax doesn’t miss a beat: this is the third millennium and DJs, now, are the new sacred music stars: in this show factory called Tenax, land house music prophets – DJs, producers and composers – such as Ashley Beedle, Little Louie Vega, François Kevorkian, Dimitri From Paris, Ralf and Alex Neri. This time the context is called “Nobody’s Perfect”, a rendezvous on Saturday in the name of house music (the good one), with guests hailing from all over the world – every week, a different DJ from the States, England, Paris, Rotterdam, and more.
The atmosphere is overtly dreamlike and based on fashion – the audience on the dance floor is carefully selected, eccentric and colored.