Thursday, 16 May 2019

Hipsville Soho-A-Go-Go Margate - Feature with Photos & Videos From The Best Event of The Year

Wanda & Dottie in front of Dave Taylor's lighting - Photo by Retro Man Blog
Hipsville, our favourite musical (and social) event of the year never disappoints and although I probably say this every time, I think this really was one of the best so far. Despite various setbacks with location and venue changes over the years, I believe that the tireless and enthusiastic organisers Andrew, Ade, Alexandra and their team hit on a winning formula that managed to combine all the very best Hipsville elements that we have grown to love. Hipsville is the perfect antidote to all the current greyness, bad news and depression enveloping Brexit Britain – it is a bright and colourful splash of Hawaiian shirts, fez’s and fancy dress. Bands and fans from all over the world congregate to enjoy the music, make new friends and basically, party! After two years at Margate’s vintage Dreamland funfair, Hipsville has relocated to the town’s Cliftonville area to the Lido and the nearby historic Winter Gardens, which once hosted Laurel & Hardy and The Beatles.

The Jack Cades at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
I thought both venues worked perfectly – the suitably scuzzy Lido was ideal for this year’s Soho-A-Go-Go theme with its red upholstery, dark nooks and crannies and sticky carpets – just like an old-school Soho boozer or afterhours drinking den. Dave Taylor from Enjoy Yourself provided stunning lighting and visuals and his impressive oil projections transformed the Lido into a seething multi-coloured Psychedelic dreamworld. This all made for a perfect backdrop for the gorgeous Hipsville Go-Go dancers to strut their stuff - Wanda de Lullabies, Miss Diabolik, Alexandra Beat Girl, Celia Formica, Tina Tuna, Nocturna, and although sadly there was no Miss Ge Veve this year, we did have the welcome return of Dottie Gooseberry. This year saw the official introduction of two Go-Go boys too, Steve and Khalid from The Action Men, who both seemed to thoroughly enjoy the whole experience. The Jack Cades opened up proceedings in the Lido on the Friday evening and despite only just releasing their excellent debut album “Music For Children” on Dirty Water Records last year, they included a few really promising sounding new songs in the set. I sincerely hope this means that there will be more good stuff released by the band very soon indeed.

The Jack cades at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog

The Deadly Spirits from Sweden were great fun and their raw Rock ‘n’ Soul went down really well with the crowd. The band are from Karlstad so it was nice to bump into a couple of them and chat about mutual friends and bands such as Tonbruket, Cat & the Underdogs, Nymphet Noodlers and Mattias Hellberg. The final band, The Anomalys, powered through a set of fast and raucous Punk Rock and then it was over to our favourite Hipsville DJ's who over the weekend included Neil ‘Sick’ Smith, Adam Diddy Wah, Carl Combover and Fritz Buzzsaw who all ensured the party never stopped.

The Deady Spirits at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Mighty Tsar at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
On Saturday afternoon, the Glass Jar hosted the Tiki cocktail Bar and we enjoyed a drink while being serenaded by The Mighty Tsar and theur swampy Skiffle Calypso and some suitably mellow tunes courtesy of DJ Ian Greensmith. We then wanted to see Das Clamps for the first time and just managed to squeeze our way into the superb, but tiny, Fez Bar that was so packed it resembled a Tokyo subway train at rush hour. The duo comprise Miss Tangerine Tassels on guitar and vocals and then there is her sidekick on drums and vocals, Tina Marina who for some reason reminds me of Tina from Oh! Gunquit...anyway, they played foot stomping stripped back Cramps inspired songs from their forthcoming album “Shit Music For Shit People” which is out soon on the excellent Trash Wax Records. Unfortunately, French band The Scaners had to pull out at the last minute due to one of the members breaking their leg, which was really bad news as I was looking forward to seeing them very much. However, the good news was that The Baron Four stepped in at short notice and proved more than capable substitutes with their own brand of upbeat Garage R'n'B.

Das Clamps at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Das Clamps at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Autoramas at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Then it was over to the grand Winter Gardens and there were more excellent visuals from Dave Taylor – movies of Swinging 60’s London and Soho Street signs and the stage had red telephone boxes on either side for the Go-Go girls, boys, and gorillas to dance in. The DJ booth was imaginatively transformed into a seedy sex shop. Tonight’s opening act were the fabulous Autoramas and as regular Blog followers will know, the Brazilian space age retro rockers have fast become one of our favourite bands ever since we first saw them play courtesy of Hipsville back in 2015. Their unique blend of Bubble-gum Garage Rock and B-52’s/Devo style New Wave with crunching bass sound and Gabriel’s trademark vibrato effects pedal was simply mind-blowing. The always glamorous Erika adds keyboards, Theremin and guitar and dances non-stop, even getting down to dance with the audience too. They are a fantastic band, one of those that you really have to try to see play live and such lovely people too.

Autoramas at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Night Times with Celia & Wanda at Hipsville - Photo Retro Man Blog
Next up it’s the U.K. debut for the hotly tipped Californian band The Night Times who wowed the crowd with their traditional nuggets era Psych. They have a superb drummer who was a blur of hair as she thrashed away behind her kit and the lead vocalist/bassist was throwing himself about so much that his bass kept going out of tune. They were such a great live act and there was a tangible buzz about them throughout the whole weekend. Next on stage it was the turn of MFC Chicken who played a thoroughly entertaining set of Fabulous Wailers songs that had everyone dancing along. Classics like “Mashi” and “Out of Our Tree” went down a storm and they even made the perennial classic “Louie Louie” sound fresh. There was also a surprise appearance by Elsa from The Jack Cades who joined the band to wow everyone with a soulful vocal performance.

The Night Times at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
MFC Chicken at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Action Men entertained us with an amusing dance routine, which featured a cameo from Mr A, and then the winners of the fancy dress competition were announced. In the sad absence of Davros and his Deep Space Deviants, this year saw The Stags put in a hilarious performance with a Mary Whitehouse lookalike on vocals and a band comprising Policemen in a uniform of helmets, tunics and suspenders. What a perfect ending to a fabulous day. On Sunday, it was back to the Fez Bar to be serenaded by Professor Baba and His Invisible Band who bewitched us with some entertaining Voodoo Blues and general mumbo jumbo. I thought it was strange how the Professor reminded me of Simon from Oh! Gunquit – that band must have many lookalikes running around Margate. We made it into the Lido just as Spanish band Los Wilds were finishing their set and the wild-eyed frontman was down to his underpants and cowboy boots. A normal Sunday afternoon at Hipsville then.

Professor Baba at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Night Times at Hipsville - Photo copyright Retro Man Blog
Next came The Day Tymes, the not-so-subtle alter ego of The Night Times who blew the Lido apart with their ‘secret’ show. During a wild version of “Gloria” the singer put his bass down and jumped into the crowd for the duration of the song prompting David Arnold of The Stags to take over on bass duties, he should have quickly tuned it up while he was about it. The good news is that the band are hanging around in the UK for a couple more weeks and as I write they are in North Down Sound Studios with Lois and Mole from State Records recording songs for a new single. They will also be playing Brighton on May 17th and Weirdsville in London on Saturday May 18th so if you missed Hipsville be sure to catch them play if you can, you will not be disappointed. The Hipsville team could finally relax and let their hair down at the Sunday night after show party at the Cinque Ports pub – they had invited legendary DJ Mike Gunn (himself no stranger to a bit of sleaze) over from L.A. to close the weekend in his inimitable style. We all kept our eyes on our wallets and our whisky and ensured that no Go-Go dancer was left unchaperoned in the presence of the lascivious titan of the turntable! What a great weekend, I just cannot wait to do it all again next year.

DJ Neil 'Sick' Smith & Hipsville Organiser Mr A
Hipsville organiser Ade, or is it Mike Gunn...with Dave Taylor
Please take the time to click on the highlighted links throughout the feature to check out more information on the relevant bands. You can find more photos of the Hipsvile Soho-A-Go-Go weekend at our Facebook page here and more videos over here at our Retro Man Blog YouTube channel. Check the Blog archive for lots of features on previous Hipsville weekenders and Weirdsville club nights. We have also played tracks by many Hipsville/Weirdsville related bands in our Retrosonic Podcast and all episodes are available to listen to or download from our Soundcloud site here.

The Night Times at Hipsville - photo copyright Retro Man Blog
The Hipsville Go-Go Dancers
For news and announcements on future Weirdsville and Hipsville shows please keep an eye on the You Got Good Taste web site. Dave Taylor runs the Enjoy Yourself club nights in Swanage and more information on this and his lighting can be found here. Finally, once again huge thanks to Andrew, Ade and Alexandra and their team of helpers for once again putting on such a fantastic event.

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