STANDARD LONDON EVENING Killing night-time in the capital.
House Birds 18
Mens Adventures / Superfood / Blackeye / Sisters, Birthdays
Palais de Danse, Peckham Palais 23
ewives, s Nest 21
London Transport Through the Ages, William Booth College
Royal t Hall
Evening. My body has no idea what time it is. On top of the slight confusion experienced by everyone on Sunday when the clocks went forward an hour, in the past month I've been flipping my sleeping pattern back, forward, upside down and back to front every couple of days. Most of the time, this means I am always ready for bed, nine good hours of sleep or none. There have been work nights when, having been awake since around 4pm, I have been nodding off at my desk, eyes searing and mind boggling into that slurring, nonsensical state that signals the final moments before sleep, by 3am. There have been nights off when, having woken up at 2pm, I have fallen fast asleep by 11pm, not to be woken until 8 the next morning. There was the time I began my eight-hour night shift having already been awake for 14 hours. By the end of 23 waking hours, I felt violated and ill, my insides doing their best to jump ship. Thinking of these nights leads to the conclusion that the human body is determined to spend night-time asleep, whether it needs it or not. But then there were the three days, Saturday to Monday, in which I had a total of no more than six hours' sleep. Throughout this time I was alert, perky, sharp even. Sleep was the last thing I felt I needed, though my heart raced with adrenalin, seemingly working overtime to keep me on my feet. The cause of my insomnia: house-hunting. The property market moves at lightning speed in London, and the excitement, fear and anxiety that fuels one's fight for a home in such competitive circumstances was enough to stamp out one of the most fundamental necessities for life. It cannot be healthy, all this forced waking, but at times it is crucial. Here are a few things I've learnt about staying awake, most of which are fairly obvious: Do Eat sour sweets, ice and chewy things Exercise Be really excited/anxious/worried/angry Talk/laugh Tap your foot Drink unhealthy mixes of sugar and caffeine Look at computer screens
Don't Read from printed pages Attempt to decipher complex material, such as financial news 'Rest' your eyes/sit with your face in your hands for a few minutes Sit too comfortably Dim the lights Get bored
More strange things found on dawn pavements
First few pages of Chapter Five of some book Pair of shorts.
Fan (on a freezing March morning)
Lots of men standing around looking at paintings, bicycles, clothes and plastic bags full of stuff outside a locksmith's /Sophie Armour
Housewives, Birds Nest
The Bird's Nest in Deptford is a little off the beaten track of the usual live music scene: the sort of place bands come to warm up, hone their live set without drawing too much attention. Tonight the place is full, but seemingly with the friends of the bands. The atmosphere is positive, supportive. Housewives set up in the back corner of the room and a genuinely excited gathering huddles round. They proceed to play a set that could not sound further from any gentile associations with their name. A strobe is lit, and a noisy mash of rhythms sparks off. Their sound is pretty much encapsulated by the strobe: the volume is high, and the erratic and rhythmic guitar is smattered with sharp, quick drum hits. Backed by stomach-churning bass lines, the performance grabs you, every inch. The effect is similar to the adrenalin rush of a roller coaster. You might be blinded, deaf and slightly sick, but part of you is desperate to do that again. /Sophie Armour
Palais de Danse, Peckham Palais Apparently, there is a bit of a 90s rave revival scene in South London. The Peckham Palais is host tonight to a group of DJs and youngsters in baggy T-shirts who are the personification of the track Live Those Days Tonight by Friendly Fires, in which lead singer Ed MacFarlane attempts to convince himself that going to a club now is just as good as going to a rave 20 years ago. Things don't get off to the most convincing start. Until about 1am, this mirror-adorned basement feels a bit like a secondary school disco: the rather minimalist bar might as well be selling sweets and orange drink and fewer than 20 people have actually shown up. There are, however, two boys who appear still to be youthful enough to attend a real secondary school disco entertaining the awkward huddles of friends with some quite impressive dance routines. Their stamina is inspiring: they've no drinks (perhaps because they can't get served), and they run, jump and move in sync for old school deep house track after old school deep house track. If nothing else, this rave revival could signal the start of a new type of exercise class. Eventually, as people start to arrive in slightly more encouraging numbers, the energy of those first few dancers becomes infectious, and the dancefloor begins to earn its name. There's a purity to this evening. People are genuinely here because they love the music: they're not getting smashed, they're not on the pull â€“ they're dancing. Of course illicit substances are most likely at the heart of a night like this, but the vibe is surprisingly innocent. People are relaxed: the women are in loose shirts and flat shoes because dancing in heals is no fun, and the men, rather than competing for women, are going head to head in dance-offs. It's a rare thing to find a clubnight in 2013 without unspoken rules or pretensions. Perhaps Ed Macfarlane was on to something: the ravers might have had it right all along. /Sophie Armour
London Transport - Through the Ages, William Booth College Camberwell is having a free film festival, and the best part about it? Finally an excuse to march through the doors of this most domineering of South London fortresses. Emblazoned with a glowing cross, home of trainee Salvation Army soldiers, this hilltop castle of God has until now been wrapped in secrecy. Inside the decor is almost disappointingly contemporary. But the 400-capacity Assembly Hall is satisfying strange and grand. Flags adorn the back walls, two planks of wood form an almost lifesize rustic cross and, this evening, three projector screens hang above the altar-like stage. But God has nothing to do with what is happening here today, for we are gathered to hear the story of TfL. The programme is a quaint mix of public information films from around the 1920s up to the early 80s. Informative, endearing, and with a surprising, almost sarcastic, sense of British humour, the audience is enraptured with nostalgia for a time when trams, trolley buses and horse-drawn cabs scuttled down London's streets. That is until one particular film from the 1920s. What begins as an intriguing look at the contrasts between different parts of the capital quickly descends into an excruciatingly racist reveal of our predecessors' view of an already cosmopolitan city. In this temple of holy education tonight, a small section of London has been struck by how its sense of self has altered just as much as its system of transport. /Sophie Armour
Mens Adventures / Superfood / Blackeye / Sisters, Birthdays You can't get through a night at Birthdays without it being somebody's birthday, and tonight it's the turn of the singer/guitarist of Sisters. And he hasn't picked a bad way to spend his birthday. Sisters' sound constitutes a bit of a distortion attack. They are noisy, bass-heavy and rhythmstrong, but with high-pitched boy/girl duet vocals that blend together to bring a bit of order to the messiness of the rough and ready guitars. As openers they hold some of the nerves of a young upstart band, but already their sound is holding attention. Next on, Blackeye bring a little extra character to the stage. Their performance is lit up by lead singer Chloe Little's wide, expressive eyes. The mood of certain lyrics and certain tracks is struck with a sideways glance or a cold glare into the audience. Blackeye are a punk band strapped firmly to the great things about pop: catchy melodies, a sense of fun, and just a little bit of cheesiness. It's a wonderful asset â€“ an optimistic edge to a course guitar riff. Superfood are more laid back, and a little less fuzzy than what's been heard so far. There's something slightly Britpop about them, with the twanging guitar licks of their newly-released self-titled track. Overlapping melodies jauntily intertwine with casual drum beats in a way that makes something quite skillful look easy. This is a set that explains how such a buzz has developed purely from Superfood's live shows. Headlining a veritable 'who's who' of ones to watch, Mens Adventures arrive, and there's a plenty of them. Five slick-looking gents humbly stroll on stage, cowboys in disguise, with a couple of impressive quiffs hinting at their old-fashioned American inspirations. For Mens Adventures write soundtracks to old spaghetti westerns, with extra lyrics. Their guitars are tuned to that iconic, echoing sound of Ennio Morricone's theme for the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Their drums are stuck on a horseriding, train-driving rhythm, which carries the audience along with it and results in some particularly interesting dance moves. Somehow the aura of the desert seems to bring a bit of the warmth of the Deep South to this unseasonably icy night in Dalston. The crowd (and it really is a decent-sized crowd) is swept up in the fantasy of galloping through dusty landscapes and shooting baddies at dawn â€“ so they jump up and down with glee. On first impressions, the idea of hipsters copying movie soundtracks might sound like a tacky gimmick. But Mens Adventures play with a genuine appreciation of those film scores that pays homage to, rather than mocks, an often overlooked corner of composition. /Sophie Armour
Foals, Royal Albert Hall It must be a daunting prospect, performing in a venue as grand, open and cavernous as the Royal Albert Hall. With the over 5,000-strong audience crammed against the walls in polite seating, it leaves a dark, blank vacuum between performer and people. The potential for flat atmosphere is only heightened by the fact that this is a matinee. It's 3pm on a Thursday: there are parents with children here, people are eating sandwiches and purchasing soft drinks and ice cream. The afternoon has nothing of the reckless abandon of the evening, and not nearly enough drinking is being done.
Foals' solution is to fill this gap with a storm: thundering instruments and lightning strob up the volume and burn the void with colour.
And the spectacle works. After just one song (an instrumental interlude, no less), the stal feet, closely followed by a few brave souls in the rafters.
New album, Holy Fire, is heavier than what came before, and the noise knows no bounds Tracks like Inhaler and Providence rip through the place as frontman Yannis Philippakis lungs raw while simultaneously dashing along the seated aisles and diving into the carna standing crowd.
But even older tracks like Two Steps, Twice are given new chainsaw guitars that pulverise that once laid within their carefully-plucked rhythms, giving them a new lease of life and audience to shout louder and get the hell out of their seats.
A frantic ball of energy who has so far violently kicked his mic stand over at least five tim the annoyance of the techie who must continually crawl onstage to stand it back up again Electric Bloom as he takes what appears to be his whole body weight to a floor tom, poun an entire bag-full of drumsticks.
He throws himself into the crowd again, and is this time swallowed up for quite some tim himself.
One-time favourites from first album Antidotes are now skipped, but their absence is har the set like My Number and Milk & Black Spiders, which receive as much adoration as an
Foals' sound is evolving and expanding. If anything has been proven by this glorious assa only just getting started. This band has it in them to push until they self-destruct.
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Fruit Machine, The Three Kings 15
Halls, The Waiting Room 22
DIY Cultures 2013, Rich Mix 11
Dexy's Midnight James / Echo Runners, O2 Academy and the Brixton Bunnymen, O2 Record Store Day Academy Brixton