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Remember Remember the Fifth of November…the night Pete came out to play…
[photos by Gabriel Love]If live music, ornamental stag-heads and more glitter and love than My Little Pony at an orgy sounds like your idea of a good night out, then Smash and Grab might well be your brand new vintage bag, baby. Taking place at Camden’s illustrious Proud Galleries every Thursday night, the event sees some of the most exciting acts around at the moment, as well as a good double-handful of North London’s upcoming celebrities and sexiest clubgoers.
At Smash and Grab this Bonfire eve there were fireworks inside and out as Babyshambles graced the stage for a one-off secret gig. What a band. What a night. What a mess.
Once word was out that the group was on their way a swarm of trilby-doffing indie kids descended on the Galleries. The heat and excitement built fast, and within minutes there wasn’t even enough room to swing a fringe. Just when it seemed that the tension would be too much [to keep a drink steady, at least] – there he was. Stepping out into a romantic pink spotlight, Mr. Pete himself, with a firecracker in his hat and his heart on his sleeve. Cue rapture.
Without any need for further ado Babyshambles ripped into a fantastic set, which included several shiny new gems from the upcoming album amongst the old favourites. Song of the night? Impossible! There had to be two: a special cover of ‘Billie Jean’, and satirical newbie, ‘The BNP Blues’ both went down to frantic approval, with pointy shoes kicking up love every which way. When ‘Killamangiro’ starts up the dusty spotlights, together with every twang of those oh-so-familiar chords draw us irresistibly back to past summers by Camden Lock, where everyone has a cider, a Union-jack tee and a don’t-give-a-fuck grin. Magic.
“Got a fag for the band?” Pete asks, causing the crowd to almost kill each other in their enthusiasm to oblige. It wasn’t just skinny cigarettes that were flying; Proud was shaken to its very foundations as fans swarmed the stage. Blood, sweat and screams overload the senses as everybody tried to cop a feel of their idol…it must have sounded like an abattoir from outside.
Ending on the iconic ‘Fuck Forever’, Babyshambles take their leave. I ask a wine-stained, blissed-out fan to sum up the night. He replies simply, “Euphoric”, and then stumbles off to collapse somewhere quiet.
Peeking into the venue’s many stables, black lace, tailored jackets and hair that looked nothing short of being ripped off a Pantene model’s head could be seen every which way. Smokers lounging in deckchairs outside were the very picture of indolence, despite the November cold and the occasional fag ash in drinks. If the clubbing standards of drinking and dancing weren’t enough, Smash and Grab also provides several unique features to divert and amuse, such as the Board of Love [where else could you profess your undying affections for ‘that fit blonde what I saw at the bar’?], the Incredible Dress-Up Box [because your look just isn’t complete without a novelty plastic bowler hat] and the Tranny-Formation Booth [go on…you know you want to].
All in all, Smash and Grab is the obvious place to go on a Thursday night, unless you have something against stripper poles, vodka doubles and enough shiny tunes to keep feet moving in silly ways until well after closing time. And if you do…well. I hear you can play Monopoly on the Wii now.
Smash and Grab
Chalk Farm Road
Every Thursday night 7:30pm – 2am