Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Scared to Dance, 12th May

Is it me (and please tell me if it is) or is there a dearth of good indie nights happening at the weekend? And I said good indie nights. Not nights that play nothing but "indie anthems" like Wonderwall and Mr Brightside, or nights where you're likely to hear Here Comes the Hotstepper following Common People (I'm looking at you The Borderline, The Roxy). 

And then I heard of Scared to Dance. Not by scouring the Net looking for indie nights, but because I happen to follow Robin Ince on Twitter. And he happened to be doing a guest DJ spot one week and mentioned it. A little investigation and I thought this might be just what I was looking for. 

Scared to Dance happens twice a month at either The Albany in Great Portland Street or King's Cross Social, in well, King's Cross. They say they play indiepop, post-punk and new wave. If you follow them on Twitter you'll also learn that they're particularly fond of The Cure, The Smiths and Dexys. So far so good. They also take requests in advance of the night. Very democratic. 

So I finally managed to make it to one of their nights this weekend, at The Albany. They often have guest DJs and this week it was the turn of Sean Price from Fortuna Pop (who have The Pipettes and The Temper Trap on their roster). The Albany itself is quite a nice pub, and there is a downstairs room where Scared to Dance takes place. Scared to Dance started at 9 but we wanted a few drinks before going down there to give it time to warm up. As we drank we tried to keep an eye out on how many people were going downstairs, to gauge how busy it was and when we should move on down. At about 10:30 we popped a head down to see who was down there. Very few people. We asked the guy on the door what the deal was and he said that often people from the pub come down there when the pub shuts, but that normally Scared to Dance has its own contingent who turn up and fill the place out. But for some reason this hadn't happened this week. We went back upstairs and had another drink and then decided we'd go down no matter how empty/full the place was. 

By the time we went downstairs there definitely was an improvement, but you couldn't really say the place was pumping. All the seats were taken, and there were a few people bopping about. In due course people did filter in from upstairs when the pub shut and there were definitely a few there who I thought were probably regulars and made no bones about showing their love for the music through the medium of dance.

Ah - the music... the music I thought was great! On their website they give you a taste of the kind of music you'll hear. They're quite the music connoisseurs and I was a little worried I might not know much of what they played on the night (although I do like to discover new stuff). I need not have fretted. There was a good mix of stuff I knew - such "indie bangers" as Blur's Boys and Girls and The Cure's The Lovecats were interspersed with other stuff I didn't recognise but that kept me swaying and that I would like to get to know better. It was just the right balance and exactly what I had hoped it would be.

Unfortunately, the place never really felt like it got going and what could have been an "amazing" night was only a "good" night due to a lack of atmosphere. Maybe I was just unlucky and this was an off night; I do get the feeling from their website that they're well established and they do attract some interesting guest DJs. It feels like there's a lot of potential here, if only all those people out there craving a good indie night (I'm sure you exist in your droves) had descended upon the place. And the entry is so cheap - £6 or you can sign up for free membership and then only pay £4. The downside is that it only stays open until 2 am, which for me is quite an early night. I think it warrants a second chance, perhaps at the King's Cross venue. And in the meantime, spread the word - this night deserves your attendance. 

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