The Southampton Student Speakeasy (19/10/2013)

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Last night saw over two hundred revellers – decked out impressively in their best black tie – descend on The Bridge for an electro swing-themed evening hosted by Southampton student DJs Drop Dead Dandies. It was undeniably a roaring success; everyone truly got into the spirit of the night, with all three acts being very received.

Doubts about the suitability of The Bridge for such an event were quickly dispelled, with a good balance of sitting and dancing space. However, in true Speakeasy style, everyone was crowded around the bar, and there was often a wait to be served. The length of the bar was possibly the issue; the staff struggled to keep up with demand.

First act Charles Charlie Charles – aka SEMSU’s Charlie Gilmartin – struck a chilled out lounge vibe, providing a relaxed ambience for the early stages of the evening when people wanted to mingle. Later he livened it up, dropping some French house. It’s never easy being the first act, especially when the place is just filling up, but Charlie gave a solid, professional performance on the decks.

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Hosts Drop Dead Dandies with headliner Kiwistar.

All three acts incorporated elements of electro swing in their own way; this is a relatively new musical genre which fuses retro jazz and swing styles with contemporary electronic techniques. Drop Dead Dandies – comprised of Jack Manhattan and Mr. Immaculate – were up relatively early at around ten. They played a deft mixture of their own remixes and other elecro swing favourites –  such as Caravan Palace – responding to the mood of the crowd. Headliner Kiwistar, on at around midnight, struggled somewhat with the fact that some people were leaving to hit the clubs, or had heard about house parties, but his heavier set was a welcome soundtrack to the now rather inebriated crowd. Coming all the way from Paris, his set introduced a more ‘club’ atmosphere to the willing crowd. The Great Gatsby soundtrack provided a slightly awkward lull between the two acts – while tracks like Kanye West’s ‘No Church in the Wild’ seemed popular, the soundtrack is undoubtedly a mixed bag.

But Drop Dead Dandies were the real success of the night, and not just because most of the people there seemed to be friends with at least one of them. Their wild dancing – particularly on the part of Mr. Immaculate – livened everyone up, with their specific brand of remixed jazz tracks providing a relentlessly danceable soundtrack to the evening’s ‘vintage’ shenanigans. Mr. Immaculate – aka Andrew Ovenden – had this to say:

“Jack and I feel that the night was a huge success! We achieved all the goals we set out with when we began this project and we have been truly humbled by the praise and thanks we have received. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that was involved: Kiwistar, Charlie Gilmartin, the SUSU staff, SEMSU, CircSoc and of course everyone that came to the event. You guys really made the night! We’ve already had a lot of people asking if we’ll put on another one. I’ll say now that Drop Dead Dandies are certainly considering it.”

Here’s to another Speakeasy.

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