Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Stumblin' Slims, 31st March

I can't remember how I heard about Stumblin' Slims. Probably through looking at the Blues Kitchen's website, a bar in Camden that I've been to before. Anyway, I had heard about it and had been considering going to Stumblin' Slims for New Year's Eve, when we decided against it in favour of something more 'clubby'. But I still wanted to go at some point, especially after watching Hairspray over Christmas and getting in a jive kinda mood.

So when their next night came up, at Concrete, I booked tickets as soon as they went on sale, nabbing early bird tickets at merely a fiver. It was just as well. I had no idea how popular the night was, and they sold out of all tickets at least a week before the night was on.

Stumblin Slims has been described as "a cross between a prom night and a late night drag race" (Guardian) though I think that's just them using some 50s vernacular for the sake of it. I saw no sign or cars or corsages. It is a fun night though of great music and people dancing their socks off. There was a good number of people dressed up in some form or other in 50s/rockabilly gear, and when we entered (at 10:45) they had a girl on hand to do people's hair and makeup if you needed it, though she had disappeared only a few minutes later when we went to put our coats away.

When we arrived the live band was on and loads of people were dancing – the dance floor was packed and we were forced into bopping about on the edges. The band were just a three piece but they created a massive sound and played a crowd-pleasing selection of tunes. In fact, it was quite disappointing when the band stopped and the DJ came on. There was a palpable shift in atmosphere as the band finishing coincided roughly with last-tube time and the place emptied out a little. The sound system at Concrete isn’t that great either which also lead to a bit of a deflation in ambience. We rode out the transitory period, and by the time Stephen and I left at a little past one, I would say that the party had picked up and was going full swing again. The music seemed a little louder than it had been, and you couldn’t fault the songs they were playing. If I hadn’t been starving, I would have happily stayed until the very end. At this point I would love to list the various tunes that were played but can't remember any specific titles. Suffice to say, it was some good old fashioned rock 'n' roll.

I’m not sure how I feel about Concrete as a venue. Stephen liked it – thought it was just the right size, but I find the low ceilings a bit oppressive, and as I mentioned, they don’t exactly have a top-end sound system. However, they play host to lots of different and interesting nights so I am sure I will find myself back here more often than not. I am pleased to report that, after the coat queue fiasco at Deviation, that such an incident was not repeated. 

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