new untouchables

21st century modernist & sixties underground music culture

Le Best Bespoké? - An attendees’ review...

The following piece was sent to us independently without extortion, cohersion or bribery.


As an eighteen year-old 60s obsessive, finding a club-night that tickles your fancy isn’t the easiest thing to do. So when browsing, I came across a newly announced event solely geared towards celebrating 60s culture; I bought my tickets there and then.

Four months later, I was on a train from Leeds to London with my best friend. It suddenly hit me that maybe this thing wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Local 60s events had been lacklustre, and had often let me down – attacking my wallet in the process. I had a lot banking on LBB4 and it was the centrepiece of my little London holiday. Maybe it will be dead, I thought. Maybe the DJ will stick a load of horribly obscure crap on that I can’t dance to. Maybe it will be full of defensive Northern Soulies, who were there ‘the first time round’, and don’t much like ‘young kids taking the piss’ (I speak from experience).

The whole event kicked off in one of the most exciting ways possible – The Sonics playing live! On the tube ride to Camden, I found myself sitting next to what looked like a rocker and a prettier version of Yoko. Sure enough, this delightful pair were on their way to LBB4 and they assured me I’d dig the whole thing. Their words were assuring, but I was still going with an open mind.

On entering the Kentish Town Forum it was packed with absolutely all sorts of people. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a mixture of ages and styles in once place – punks, hippies, mods… Sure enough, the band didn’t fail to impress. The audience loved them. It was as if we were keen to right the wrongs of the past, when The Sonics were so sadly overlooked by the masses, and every song went down a storm. Any expectations of the band looking like a bunch of sad old has-beens, nodding at eachother during cringeworthy solos, were thankfully smashed, and luckily, The Sonics didn’t need to try and prove they still had it. The proof was in the performance.

I left shortly before the end, hoping to beat the queues at LBB4 – the thing I was most anticipating. The doormen told me it wasn’t open, so after twenty minutes eating a kebab around the corner, I went back up. The queue was creeping around the entire block. I couldn’t believe it.

Although disappointed I’d have to wait ages to get in, I was chuffed at the turnout. The clientele seemed good. And then, as if my prayers were answered, the doorman came around telling us that weekend ticket holders could jump the queues. I didn’t think it could get much better. I was wrong.

I found myself in what looked like a huge school assembly hall. Drinks were cheap, and slowly but surely, the place was filling up. And look how brilliant this crowd is, I thought. Most importantly, the tunes I was hearing were blowing my mind. Eventually, the place packed and the floor was filled. On nipping to the toilet, I heard music coming from elsewhere, and was literally ecstatic to find two other rooms. One was pumping out rhythm and blues, and Nuggets-ish garage tunes were coming from the other. I honestly could not believe my ears.

On returning to the big main room, I was finally fuelled enough to dance. I could not have asked for a better DJ. The guy was mesmerising. He wasn’t much older than me by the looks of it, but he was flawless. His playlist was divine. His set fit together like a magnificent little jigsaw, but he was never predictable. It was as if he’d been stalking me and had found out EXACTLY what I want from a 60s club. I couldn’t possibly pass up on the opportunity of such a perfect DJ (who I later learned was called Rob Henderson), and so the vast part of my Friday evening was spent dancing to his fine selection, right up until I danced myself to exhaustion and went back to my digs for some shut-eye.

The next day I visited everywhere I’d always wanted to go to in London. First stop was Carnaby Street, and I was a little gutted to discover how soul-less the place had become. Nevertheless, I headed over to the LBB to check out the market. As per, it didn’t fail to please. Although a bit smaller than I expected, I picked up a nice bunch of Tamla .45s and headed back to the house to scrub up for the evening ahead.

Approaching the venue on Saturday night, I thought it’d be much emptier. I assumed most the crowd from last night would have just naturally filtered through after The Sonics. Once again, I was very wrong. The place seemed fuller if anything. A euro garage band was playing in the main room this time – The Staggers. As I sipped my first few drinks, it was hard not to watch them. Their songs were infectious, and I found myself wanting them to carry on all night. I was so impressed that I silently even preferred them to Friday night’s gig in Camden!

We decided we’d focus on the R&B room tonight, and on being in there for only a few minutes, I was making lots of friends. The most striking thing about the R&B place was how well-dressed everyone was. The boys’ suits were so sharp and well fitted, and the girls were beautiful. The LBB crowd clearly went to the effort, and for that attention to detail, I loved them all. At the same time though, they weren’t at all cliquey. There’s a common misconception up north, that down in the capital, no-one talks to eachother. This wasn’t the case. There was no trouble, and without sounding like a walking cliché, the only thing anyone seemed to be bothered about was dancing with and meeting eachother. Again, the main room didn’t fail to deliver. Tonight it was pure rockabilly. Speaking to one or two 60s faithfuls, I gathered they weren’t too pleased about the main room showcasing a style they regarded as DEFINITELY 50s. But to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t have disagreed more, and I found myself sharing my night equally between the mod and rocker rooms. You might say I felt like a modern Ringo…!

Once again, I went home a happy boy. Not even the fact I was (quite worryingly) picked up by a taxi moonlighter - posing as the driver I had ordered, who even tried to extort an extra tenner out of me - shed any bad light on my evening. It seemed like my weekend was getting better.

I woke up on Sunday to hear the dreadful news that Liverpool had received a bitter pounding from Man United. I honestly don’t think anything other than the prospect of another night at LBB could have picked me up from a) the fact I slept right through the match, and b) the fact that horrible team had won again. But I was determined to make sure the weekend went out with a bang.

After a delicious curry on Brick Lane, we headed over to 229 for the final offering. By now I had got to know a lot of the staff and the regulars, and luckily, the fact this was the last night didn’t affect the mood. It seemed like the place to be was the garage room. I loved it in there. It was psychedelic and full of weird and wonderful people from literally all over the world. The atmosphere was electric. The girls were universally stunning and the DJs’ music even better. I noticed one of The Horrors was often in the booth, and although I’m not into his band’s work, his playlist was unquestionably fantastic. As the night wore on, I visited every one of the rooms one last time, to bid them goodbye. I ended up where I started though, in the garage room, for the final bow. And what a bow it was. Even now I can remember the last track as clear as day – a gorgeously selected “Get Off Of My Cloud” to end what was without a doubt, the finest weekend of my short little life!

Philip Wright-Lewis

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Comment by new untouchables on May 30, 2008 at 5:21
Many Thanks for the kind words Philip, nicely written too, and really glad that some of the younger folks enjoy and suss out what events like LBB are all about, and ENJOY them as an experience at the same time!


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