Friday, 27 November 2009



Words by Charlotte McManus

Photos by Gabriel Love

Rock n’ roll shook everyone’s boots tonight: blowing amps, ripping clothes and making us sweat like we haven’t done since we were sixteen.

Turbo Fruits started the night off to a headbanging start with their own special brand of plaid-shirt frenzy. The crowd was soon pummeled into shape by tracks like ‘Know Too Much’ and ‘Volcano’, with singer Jonas Stein [formerly of Be Your Own Pet] groaning and wrapping his lips around the mike like a first girlfriend. The end song, a fantastic cover of ‘Teenage Kicks’ was a perfect choice for the band’s garage-band feel; more than one person was left hoarse from screaming those immortal lines, ‘I wanna hold her wanna hold her tight…’. Definite Smash and Grab love material!

I caught up with Jonas after the set, and asked him what he thinks of Proud. “Well,” he drawls, grinning in his slow Southern way, “…it kinda reminds me of the horse stables I used to work in back in Tennessee…on Ecstasy.”

As usual, our Dress-Up Box provided the best outfits of the night. One stylish guy tried out a dress, a skirt as a shawl and shorts for a hat; was he going for an interesting twist on Eastern-European famine-chic? Maybe. Was he fabulous? Undeniably.

Just when we thought it was safe to let the parents in, Bleech arrived. The 3-piece rock sirens pushed the crowd to breaking point with grinding guitars, sexed-up snarls and vocals like cigarettes and lipstick. Listening to ‘Is It True That Boys Don’t Cry’ it feels as though we should really be in a seedy Vegas back-alley, knocking back shots of Jaeger as a truck driver inks in our latest skull/heart tattoo.

At one point I stumble past a girl wearing a T-Shirt bearing the print ‘Stay Calm and Carry On’. It seems appropriate, somehow.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Babyshambles LIVE at Smash and Grab

by Charlotte McManus

Remember Remember the Fifth of November…the night Pete came out to play…

Wow. Here at Proud this Bonfire eve there were fireworks inside and out as Babyshambles graced the stage. What a band. What a night. What a mess. We should have won some sort of prize.

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 the romantic pink lights, 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: the cover of ‘Billie Jean’, and satirical newbie, ‘The BNP Blues’ both went down to frantic approval, with pointy shoes kicking up vintage 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], but luckily the situation didn’t get out of hand!

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.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

SMASH AND GRAB! – Halloween Dead Celebrities 29/10/09

By Charlotte McManus

It’s that tricksy, treatsy time of year again, and we at Smash and Grab strived to live up to the auspicious Halloween name with our fabulous ‘Dead Celebrities’ night! For those of you doughnuts out there who didn’t make it, you missed out! It was…FRIGHTFULLY good.

As usual, our live acts didn’t disappoint! After Sally warmed up the masses with sleek style behind the decks, Internet Forever came bouncing out to deliver their own special brand of fizzy indie pop. “It’s an honour to play in a room with so many pictures of the Kings of Leon”, singer Laura Wolf confesses. Listening to their adorably nostalgic sound, you can’t help but compare them to that rare and very special garment you sometimes discover at the back of a vintage shop, covered in sequins and happiness. And it’s always nice to see a band who all have lovely haircuts.

Later, Teeth!!! rev up the tempo with frenetic strobe-lit madness. Throwing shapes that would put a Transformer to shame, zombified brides, cats and vampires are punched and pummelled by the dirty, bass-tastic frenzy; even the hanging plastic bats are feeling the heat.

In between bands, I set up base in the Dress-Up Box and turned my very inexperienced hand to Zombie Makeovers. For only a pound I worked magic on unsuspecting mugs with my trusty sponges, makeup and fake blood. “This feels SO wrong,” groans one happy customer, as red slides down his neck [N.B. Smash and Grab is not liable for any dry-cleaning costs incurred]. Zombies galore, several Jokers and one very cross-eyed Harry Potter were soon rummaging happily around for silly Dress-Up threads to complete their look. Outfit of the night? One suave Italian gentleman, donning a jester hat, red wool leggings and a natty Christmas jumper to match the gore spouting from most of his orifices. The scariest costume, however, went to a man wearing from the neck up what can only be described as a gigantic cardboard cow head, which was bloody terrifying! It was like that old Cravendale advert [‘The cows want it back’] come to life in all-too-real 3-D. Brr.

For the last live act, Teengirl Fantasy took the stage. Their echoing vocals and flickering, pulsing dub beats created an altogether otherworldly ambience, sounding like a robot on a long-distance call across several distorted seas. The track ‘Love Don’t Live Here’ saw three undead belles hazily embrace, with several couples kissing in time to slow sways. Do androids dream of electric love? Teengirl Fantasy might well cause you to believe it.

Finally, DJs Love Supreme wash us all away on a sea of loved-up party songs ‘til the end of the night, with such classics as ‘I Was Meant for Loving You Baby’, ‘Lovecats’ and ‘Don’t You Want Me’ churning out enough sparkles and serotonin to make every happy little zombie go home with a smile.

So, as Halloween ends for another year, us at Smash and Grab want to say THANK YOU to all you fitties for making it such a good one! Definitely a night to remember. I only hope that there weren’t too many old ladies on the nightbus back – that gore was pretty realistic.