Take Up Arms
October 15, 2007, 11:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In which I go on at length about The Amersham Arms, my new local.

Having lived in New Cross for roughly 4 years now it’s been around 3 years and 355 days since I last took any serious notice of the ‘New Shoreditch’ tag various chancers have been trying to pin to the area. Not to say the place doesnt have it’s charms, we do possess in The Montague Arms a genuine London landmark, The New Cross Inn can be fun in a ramshackle way and our local wannabe gangsters may be trigger happy but are generally more concerned with killing each other over ridiculously obscure and petty ‘respect’ issues than bothering any one else (though hardly being marksmen there’s always the off chance you’ll get capped by mistake when they miss each other from point blank range).

What the place hasn’t had has been a venue that can pull in both acts and punters from outside the area and finally in The Amersham Arms we do. Previously a rather run down but just about workable pub/music venue, the place got bought up by the people behind the Lock Tavern in Camden and opened with much fanfare this weekend. Considering the last time we’d been down there half the ceiling had fallen onto the stage (take a bow Man Like Me) it was going to be interesting to see what they’d done with the place.

Having originally planned to camp down at the place from Thursday till Sunday to get a real feel for the place, sadly a shitty day at work on Thursday and a last minute gig on Saturday meant we restricted ourselves to the official launch party on Friday and Sunday Best on the… Sunday.

With a lineup boasting Hot Chip, Sinden and The Filthy Dukes excpectations were understandably high and arriving at 9 on the Friday there was already quite a queue stretching up the road and on the decks local boy Nasty McQuaid was getting things warmed up nicely, even managing to slip in a Bauhaus tune, good lad. First impressions were good, generally they seem to have had the good sense to keep the boozy local feel of the place, a few more worn leather sofas had been dotted around the place, a lick of paint and some fancy wallpaper made the place a bit more welcoming plus best of all a new horsehoe bar and around 12 bar surprisingly attentive staff meant you were never long without a drink.

Still you can’t have everything an one thing they havent sorted out though is the heat, by the time Alexis from Hot Chip had passed over the decks to Sinden it was like a tropical rainforest in there, still a small price to pay for being able to see names like this and be able to walk home.

The Lord’s day means roast dinners round our way and tempted by the offer of a half price carvery we dutifully trooped down there for lunch on the Sunday only to find out we’d missed out by about 10 minutes and the kitchen was closed for the day. Surrounded by friends chomping their way through plates full of roasted potatoes and the like I had to drag the missus out of there before she turned canibalistic. To add insult to injury after settling for an unsatisfying Pad Thai at the Walpole we returned a couple of hours later only to find they’d started doing more (very fine looking) food, the utter utter bastards.

Anyway hardly the end of the world and next door Sunday Best were busy transforming the place into a balloon filled wonderland, musically it was a typical Sunday Best night, ie. all over the shop, Rob Da Bank and The Sombrero Sound System (which dissapointingly turns out to be just a bloke playing records and not a Richard Scary-esque giant musical hat) were going heavy on the blends, My Toys Like Me kind of skipped between sub Tricky-esque trip hop (yawn) and brutal Two Lone Swordsmen-esque electro (yay!) whilst Sarah Mcloughlin’s folky, bluesy pop/rock did nothing for me at all.

Highlight of the night though was easily one of my favourite guests from our Hot Sauce nights, David E. Sugar who has ditched the gameboy and banging arcade pop and got himself a whole band to play with. It’s a decent if somewhat unlikely change of direction and apart from one track that sounded awfully like Red Hot Chilli Peppers should find favour with anythone into electro tinged, spiky new wave pop, think Bloc Party, but good. His new single Chelsea Girls is out today, buy it.

Overall you have to say it was a pretty succesful launch, the place was holding up well and the staff have yet to become more interested in talking amongst themselves than serving pints, ok bits of the ceiling kept falling off which was a little disconcerting but i’m sure they’ll get that fixed soon enough and thanks to the vast amount of security around and the ‘How To Get The Hell Out of New Cross’ posters dotted around I’m sure they’ll slowly start to convince the rest of London that some kind of civilization does in fact exist South of the river. And if that doesnt do the trick they’ll just have to install a hermetically sealed tunnel from the tube station right to the venue door and pump in some of that fashionable East London air.

Anyway there are some amazing lineups coming up and these are my picks of the next few weeks.

Sat 20th: Allez Allez – Four Tet DJs with live support from the insanely wondeful They Came From The Stars I Saw Them and the grumpy yet inspired One More Grain.
Sun 21st: The Redbricks Festival Of Folk – Another chance to get stuck into the carvery this time with sounds form the likes of Findlay Brown
Sat 27th: Bastard Batty Bass vs. Get Rude – Hannah Holland’s crew go head to head with the Zombie Disco Squad
Fri 2nd Nov: Chrome Hoof, Ceephax Acid Crew, get in!
3rd Nov: Walk The Night Wax Stag! Knifehandchop! The Oscillation!

Photos courtesy of Graeme Ross


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