Well, ‘Summer’ went by fast didn’t it. So fast no one even noticed. Not one football-in-the-park day. Not one London Fields Lido trip. Not a sniff of a tan. Alas, we can’t say it’s been a bad summer. At the start it was very good, but that was more like spring. Then it just became Autumn. Also, we’ve had fun: Bon Bon started up, LED Festival, 1-2-3-4 Festival, Hackney Regatta. Fun times. And so summer ends and the season starts again. Football is back and so is your weekend drinking.
Well, Bon Bon has been our highlight. We’ve had some great times. Not that it’s anywhere near over. Last Bon Bon on the August bank holiday was great fun. Thanks to Nwando and the hula team who came and brought a lot of fun. That ritual of ‘Who’s Got The Crack’ as the final song of the night as decreed by me seems to have stuck. If you don’t stay until the end when we play it then you just aren’t trying hard enough.
Lots to look forward to then. Including this Saturday 10th, and Saturday 24th when the wonderful Messy Fingers are taking over the upstairs rock ‘n’ roll room and generally causing trouble. Leon Hatcher from Messy Finger is responsible for our amazing visuals that are blasted onto the wall in the Ballroom at our nights and he will do a sterling job of keeping you dancing so come on down, it might be the best one yet!
As always, we will be free entry and open until 4am. We have a lot of fun. It stays busy until late so come down at any time. There is a guest list so make sure you attend the facebook event to get on it. We play indie, electro, some new rock and garage and some 80s classics downstairs. Upstairs we play rock n roll of the good old days with a good helping of surf and some original garage rock. Drinks are amazing and if you get there before 10pm it’s 2-for-1 on the cocktails (and they are strong!). There isn’t a cooler night on Upper St. See you there!!
Well mes copains, the time has finally come. The very first Bon Bon party launches Islington off into the nethersphere to return anon. The Muses have been singing about us and the streets call out our name; the future is a double-ended dildo. The dichotomy of life is thus: Great new indie, electro, disco, surf-rock and some persistent classics will exist in a space of exquisite lasciviousness perpetrated by some terrible perpetrators in the Ballroom (that’s the downstairs bar and dancefloor). Whilstwhile, ascending the staircase will pertain to an otherworldly sound echoing back from the early 20th century: proper rock n roll, swing, surf, rockabilly in two beautiful vintage lounges cherrydecorated with chandalier and candelabra.
We are free, but if there is a queue then you can say you know us. Dressing up is encouraged, we love vintage fashion, but not necessary. Looking good is. Of course, that comes naturally.
We begin at 9pm and finish around 4am. That’s the latest party on Upper Street.
It’s nearest to Highbury and Islington, but you can get from Angel in about five minutes too.
Drinks are very reasonable and the bar staff know how to make a helluva cocktail.
Without wanting to spoil the conclusion of this review, I had a great time at 1-2-3-4. Perhaps my enjoyment of it has coloured my memories of the event a little rosier than it really was, but I don’t believe that. All enjoyment is subjective, and my morose compatriot of the festivities is testament to this fact. Aside from a late start, and some as-per-usual sound issues, I can’t think of much that went wrong. The weather was fine, and Shoreditch Park seemed to escape the rain that happened outside London.
The main things that struck me about this festival were probably the size and the people. Some may not look at it as a boon, but this festival is good because it’s small. I could probably jog from one side to the other in a minute, no probs. Yet inside there were four stages, plenty of bars, copious toilets, one large silver Kopparberg Kube (hello again friend!), a VIP area and some dodgems. The people were also (clearly) local. They were not the chumps that come into Shoreditch on Friday/Saturday night and start fights outside the kebab shop; they were the people who lived around Hoxton/Kingsland/Dalston and actually cared about the great (relatively unknown) bands and artists playing at this festival.
First act we properly saw were Arrows of Love who got off to a good start, but fell flat by the second song. Part of that was probably the fault of the awful sound work on the Art Rocker stage. Not enough bass, sounded weak and thin. So we left that pretty quick to go get something to drink and look around. At this stage in the day, there was a lot of space around and you could move from one stage to another in a few minutes. That was refreshing.
We ended up in the dance tent, which probably had the best sound alongside the main stage, and saw Attaque, someone we hadn’t heard previously. He wasn’t bad. Did a pretty good electro set, if a little bit mainstream for the too-cool-for-Ministry of Sound crowd that he was playing to. Could be good playing a heavier set in a dirty warehouse on Scrutton Street or something, but at this time of the day in this atmosphere his otherwise very good work went unappreciated.
I don’t know if you can see Rainbow Arabia in the background there on the Noisey stage, but they were fairly good. Her vocals do get a little raw after a while and if they hadn’t written some very good songs then I’m not sure I’d be a fan. As it stands, they were one of the bands at 1-2-3-4 who I expect big things from. Next year they will have an album and be playing further up the bill, although I’m not sure they will be headlining anything soon.
The real star of this show was the tiny Asian man standing at the front. Why was he there? How old is he? So cool, with that nonchalant stance and his hat probably obscuring his vision. So effortless. A massive contradiction in a sea of pretence. I figured that the most likely reason for his being there was this:
In Yokohama in 1967, Hiroshi (I have no knowledge of his name or nationality) worked in a little camera shop selling film to the neighbourhood scene kids, when this rock musician walks in to get some photos printed. The two people strike up conversation and one Damo Suzuki invites Hiroshi to a gig at the Town Hall. Hiroshi takes his girlfriend along and they all go back stage to drink Whisky and eat rice crackers. A couple of weeks into their friendship Hiroshi finds his girlfriend in bed with Damo and vows revenge. Damo runs off to Europe to have a career in Can and only now has Hiroshi raised the money to get a flight over and exact that revenge. Underneath that hat is hidden a tiny poisoned dagger small enough to pierce Damo’s heart. It’s possible that Hiroshi missed, because Damo didn’t die whilst we were watching, and so, poor Hiroshi’s grudge remains, probably to be carried into the afterlife.
So this is Damo freaking out. He was good too. I was worried he was going to get a bad neck though because he kept pulling his head real sharp to the right when he sang, and it was probably doing some damage. I don’t really know Can, or Damo Suzuki’s music, but Krautrock is cool, right?
This was Sex Beet on the Rough Trade stage. They have some great songs, and were pretty good on the day. No complaints. Definitely one to watch. However, I can’t remember too many details about them mind, so I was either having too much fun, or they weren’t that special.
Lydia Lunch was good for an aging punk who looked like my ex-girlfriend’s mum (that said, my ex-girlfriend’s mum was quite cool). Autokrats were fairly consumate too; something like a cross between Soulwax and Duran Duran, they were both industrial and hard electro but 80s and ridiculous at the same time.
Black Lips, on the Noisey stage, were obviously who everyone was there to see, and they didn’t disappoint, although I did remark later that they might have been a bit disappointing. An Irish girl I met later thought they were awful live, and that they were awful live as a rule. However, I really enjoyed it. Getting smashed around at the front like I was 15 again at my first Taproot gig was a lot of fun. I was launched into a crowd surf more times than I care to remember and have a lot of bruises to show for it. I had a lot of fun, I was pretty drunk by that point, and my friends just kept throwing me back up there.
At one point the band threw a plethora of toilet rolls into the crowd and we had a TP party for a while, but that was about as crazy as it got. Given that Black Lips are known for on stage fights, vomiting, stage invasions and more I was surprised we didn’t even get a snog between band members. On all other fronts, I can’t complain about their performance.
All-in-all, it was a great day. Small is the new big. You get to see the bands you want, there are no dickheads about pissing in their cups and throwing it at your head, and 80% of the people there could walk home in 20 minutes. This meant that the after parties were a great option. Twenty minutes walk and a can of K-cider later and we were watching Babeshadow at Hoxton Square Bar and Grill continuing to have a good time.
Special thanks go out to the guy who found my phone in Shoreditch Park and called my friend who subsequently met him, gave it to our other friend and returned it to me later in Hoxton Square Bar and Grill much to my elated surprise.
While one distinguished member of the Crumble Mega Squad is fishing his tent out of a quagmire in a field somewhere in the South West of God’s Glorious Country (not USA), we are going to look at an altogether different festival that’s coming up in just two weeks’ time. On 9th July, Shoreditch Park (which is situated behind Hoxton Street) will dehisce and let in fuck loads of crusty hipsters. Yes, this is very much Shoreditch’s festival, it belongs to East London. That’s not to its detriment, in fact, it means that what you’ll be getting at this festival are bands at the absolute cutting edge of music, the newest and coolest bands that you will be listening to in a year’s time thinking: “Fuck, why didn’t I see these guys at 1234 rather than trying to finger that 18-year-old arts student?”
We don’t know her, but she’s sleeping and she might not notice…
Black Lips – Starting Over
Anyway, I want to alert you to the fact that, in collaboration with Noisey.com, you can get 1234 tickets for about a fiver less than the normal price! Additionally, this gets you in to a number of after parties which you will be wanting to go to. XOYO has Zombie Nation, Autokratz, stopmakingme, and more (which is a line up in itself!) for £6 (or free with the Noisey ticket!), Dalston Superstore has Hannah Holland, and other places such as Old Blue Last and our favourite gash-trap Catch-22 open their doors. XOYO might be the latest but Catch is pretty close and we do love Catch. FUUUUUURRRTHERMOOORE, there are some motherflippin’ PRE-PARTIES to go to too. Man, it’s a hard life. At The Shacklewell Arms (in new management and now super-cool) there will be a pre-party this very Saturday. Advert, Peepholes and French Kissing will play live and there are DJs til 3am. Not bad.
Black Lips are headlinging the festival, and are obviously going to be quality; be sure to wear leather or denim and grow your hair especially for the event. However, there are some other bands we want to highlight for your delight.
Damo Suzuki is a crazy Japanese guy from Can (an old krautrock band) and could well be worth catching just for some experimental, messy, insane, hard rock n roll. Lydia Lunch is some mentalist 20th century version of Laurie Anderson or something, not the most accessible music but interesting nonetheless.
Rainbow Arabia – Without You (Nguzunguzu remix)
Rainbow Arabia are a nice and lovely electronic singy band from “fucking L.A.” and they play quite nice electronic singy music with good drums. Worth catching. Look a bit old though; hope they aren’t trying a Ting Tings.
Nguzuznguzu are bloody excellent though!
Munch Feat. Lexx – Shottas (Nguzunguzu remix)
And check this badman out.
Nguzunguzu – Strut (Dubbel Dutch remix)
Purity Ring – Ungirthed (Christian AIDS remix)
Rave is back. More proof of which comes in the form of one of our very favourites Christian AIDSStay+, who have had to change their name because of threatened legal action from the Good Samaritans at Christian Aid. It is a pretty offensive name, I did wonder how long it would be before it happened. However, you are going to be cutting off your foreskin to get tickets to see this band next year, mark my words. We are actually seeing them at The Victoria in Dalston next Thursday 30th June, it’s a free gig but you have to go on Ticketweb to get the tickets. They are a pretty mysterious outfit so you better get them while they’re hot. Pretty much everything Stay+ have done so far is amazing, and its got a distinct and fresh sound. Rave for the post-2 girls 1 cup world.
Nelson Grover – Awake (TWR72 remix)
TWR72 are another act reviving rave, or ‘Future Techno’ as NME dubbed it. Either way, if you come down to 1234, and like electronic dance music, the trio of Stay+, Nguzunguzu and TWR72 will keep your ear drums ringing with the sounds of 1993 for days. They are another band that Crumble hope to catch while we are there.
If it’s dirty, and messy, and raucous, then we can do business.1234 is all about finding out what’s going on in the future. Get your cheap ticket from Noisey.com through seetickets here, and come say hi to the guys giving flyers to any and all hot girls; the flyers will look like this:
Further mentions go to:
Babeshadow, who sound like an English version of Fool’s Gold, and are actually very nice. I’m a sucker for summer.
Two Wounded Birds, from Margate of all places. Sound like an English The Drums maybe. British Surf rock, if such a thing exists. On Moshi Moshi so you know they are legit.
Another surf rock band, that apparently started out as a joke, are Sex Beet. English version of Wavves?? Pretty good! Nice and noisy.
Broken Social Scene are just excellent. Every record they’ve made has been top quality, and if you haven’t heard the 2010 released Forgiveness Rock Record then go and get it now. The above song is very nice, lovely, nicey lovely music. The video is not. It’s dark and violent but also touching. Watch.