Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Balkaneasca: A Club Night at Komedia, Brighton

A new addition to Brighton's ever-growing alternative nightlife scene is Balkaneasca, a gypsy-flavoured night launched at Komedia last Friday. Also the home of several other groovy club nights including Vive La Fip, Born Bad and Dynamite Boogaloo, Komedia is an ideal venue for those of us who cringe at the prospect of the seafront club strip. Having had mixed experiences at Brighton's other 'world music' club night, Carnivalesque, I was eager to see if the Balkan Beats guys could pull off a better version in this preferable setting.

After a rum-fuelled pub crawl that took in the Thomas Kemp, St James Tavern, the Colonnade and the Basketmakers, Angell and I rolled (not literally) around the corner to Komedia, eager for a dance, and not expecting to be faced with a lengthy queue. Usually I would turn my nose up at this eventuality ( I LOATHE queuing), but in the absence of a decent alternative, we decided to wait in line with the others, and thankfully it wasn't for long. Downstairs in the airless basement, things were already getting wild and sweaty, as frantic Klezmer beats blared out, accompanied by live-jamming musicians.

Apart from the inevitable ageing nutjobs- who always show up at anything vaguely 'alternative' - the general demographic was younger than expected, and with a significant Polish/Eastern European contingent. Unlike Carnivalesque, there wasn't really a dressing up element, in fact I felt (pleasantly) overdressed in my sparkly frock. As we danced our socks off to an endless stream of energetic Eastern-European dance beats, I was reminded of the wedding scene in Black Cat, White Cat - and kept expecting to see a pig devouring a Trabant in the corner. The sweat was literally pouring off the ceiling and it was essential to take frequent breaks outside with the smokers, which was also pretty much the only opportunity for conversation during the evening. As is the tradition, we attempted to engage our fellow revellers with random questions, which were greeted with surprisingly confessional answers.

Back downstairs in the mosh pit, the music was taking a turn for the worse - cool Klezmer being replaced with dodgy (vaguely gypsy) Drum 'n Bass. Angell found himself being forcibly flung around by a crazy woman (I think she thought they were having a romantic dance), while I was fighting off advances from my very own weirdo, and having the classic chat up line: "excuse me, but I find you attractive" growled into my unwilling ear. Usually it's us doing the perturbing, and we're not accustomed to being out-freaked by even bigger oddballs than we are. The tables had turned and there was only one thing to do: scarper. 

It had certainly been an interesting evening, but I'd like to have seen more flamboyant dressing and ideally some proper live music, rather than just a few musicians jamming along. Also, if it's that toasty in the Komedia basement in March, I hate to think what it's going to get like come the summer. 

Photo of Balkaneasca DJ taken from the Balkaneasca myspace album:

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