Jamboree harks back to another time - the kind of place that appears in books about the 60s and 70s - a magical place full of curios (my £5 entry included a wonderful Wickerman-esque hare mask) and intriguing people, where everyone knows each other but at the same time still welcomes you in with open arms and engaging smiles. The kind of place you dream about finding before 'Shoreditch cool' invades and turns it into a museum of itself, with free wifi and networking (seriously, what happened to El Paso? Does anyone really prefer it now?!). I almost don't want to write this review as I want to keep the place all to myself, but at the same time I want to share it with the world. Just don't spoil it, ok? Or I shall be forced to cause you a severe amount of pain.
Coming straight from work, I arrived as Space of Mind were still setting up for the evening, and was amazed and overjoyed to see the amount of work being put in: Playing cards scattered on the ground leading you to the venue, which is tucked away in a courtyard; cellophane-wrapped bags of sweets (tagged, appropriately, with 'eat me'), fresh popcorn, bunting strung from the ceiling, hares bracketing the stage - and that's before I even mention the gramophone, piano-accordion, statuettes and mismatched furniture that were all permanent features. I never, ever want to leave this place. I was kicking myself for not having brought any of my cameras - I wanted to photograph every nook and cranny of this place over and over and cover my bedroom walls with the resulting images until I really did feel as though I was permanently here. It's the sort of place that inspires you to do more with your life. And with that, I will attempt to stop gushing and continue with my review...
Beans On Toast attempted to blame the monitor-static on me and the (borrowed) film camera I was using to take pictures, but when that failed decided turning the monitor off was probably the best idea, before realising it was fairly instrumental in allowing him to hear what he was playing. Beginning the set by removing his shoes and proudly showing us all his socks (they were pretty good socks, to be honest) he opened with 'New Shoes Blues' and a story about the terrible food poisoning that had afflicted him the last time he ventured into Limehouse. He was joined on stage tonight by Bobby Banjo - who had been part of the full band last year before Jay (Beans On Toast) decided that managing 7 people was far too difficult and sacked them all. However, with an upcoming tour in the calendar, Bobby has been re-recruited - not for his talents on stage, but for his talents behind the wheel (he can drive).
Apparently, having a shiny new girlfriend meant that songs such as 'Junk Food Sex' were out, much to my disappointment - and we didn't even get any song about drugs! We did, however, get a wonderfully soppy song dedicated to said new girlfriend, a few songs on the state of the economy / planet, and lots of cheerful banter that made everyone in the room feel as though they'd made a new best friend - which is pretty much the best thing you can ask for from a gig.
Between the musical acts tonight there were various other acts to fill the time and keep us all entertained - I guess you'd call them performance artists although that makes them sound a lot more pretentious and less fun than they actually were. I did also hear tell of a stripper at some point but I think I was outside when that particular part of the night was happening (the fact that the venue was in a courtyard meant the atmosphere outside was every bit as fun as the atmosphere inside, and I vaguely remember chatting to lots of people in a way that probably came across as far more drunken and less rational than it did in my head).
The headliners tonight were the Moulettes, who were simply wonderful. Fronted by a violinist and cellist, who both played with flair and technique that I would kill for, they played incredible, fantastic, upbeat gypsy-folk-pirate-style music that had the whole pub dancing. And I would like to write more about them, I really would, but cider had happened and tequila had happened and anyone who knows me will tell you that by the time I start conversations with complete strangers, it's pretty much guaranteed that my memory will be shot the next day. I did, of course, have my trusty moleskine with me, but by this point writing had deteriorated into doodling and then it got passed around the pub and I didn't actually see it again until the following morning. But go forth and check out the Moulettes - they really were spectacular.
The remainder of the night appears as a series of snapshots in my head. Walking the wrong way to try and find a nightbus, Mark climbing up on to a roof, writing song lyrics on someone’s wall, passing around a guitar, scaring a cat, waking up on a sofa, waking up on the floor, waking up on another sofa. Getting the DLR back to my flat at 8am in a hare mask and sleeping for 24 hours. It was a good night. Photos taken by Space of Mind Review written with assistance from Oliver Eagle-Wilsher and hindrance from several bottles of strong Herefordshire cider