How Does It Feel to Be Loved is back at the Canterbury Arms tonight for one last time before a three month hiatus, while they play at festivals and go on holiday. So why not grab the opportunity to start the weekend as you mean to go on and head down for a bit of a dance to an eclectic mix of cheerful tunes at this essential Brixton night.
From the Smiths to Dusty Springfield, Hole to The Temptations, via Aztec Camera and Dexy’s Midnight Runners; How Does It Feel is essentially an indie and soul night, although the music policy is hard to define exactly. The emphasis is on indie pop rather than indie rock with northern soul, Motown and a load of sixties stuff thrown in. Requests are encouraged.
It’s £6 on the door, but if you email them this afternoon with your name there will be a PERSONALISED, LAMINATED membership card waiting for you on the door, which will earn you admittance for the valueous price of £4. The lamination alone wins me over. Oh, and seeing as how the Canterbury Arms is a pub, the drinks are pretty reasonable too.
Brixton resident Ian Watson first brought How Does It Feel To Be Loved – named after the closing lyrics of ‘Beginning To See The Light’ by the Velvet Underground – to the Canterbury Arms back in November 2003. I always thought that the pub’s deco was a hundred percent unreconstructed 1970s, but this photo from the first Brixton HDIF proves that that its current look is in fact an update! Bring back the green flock wallpaper and illuminated New York skyline I say. (The year-round Christmas lights are still there of course, contributing the essential Phoenix Nights factor).
These days Ian also puts on HDIF at the Phoenix in Cavendish Square, Central London, but he says that the combination of having a bit more space to throw some shapes on the dancefloor, and the fact that people seek out the Canterbury Arms, rather than stumbling on (and into) it makes the atmosphere at the Brixton night particularly great.
The uninitiated might associate Brixton exclusively with reggae or punk, but How Does It Feel’s long tenure at the Canterbury Arms means it’s right at home here. Ian says, ‘I remember on the first night someone saying that they’d never danced to Simon And Garfunkel in Brixton before, and that made me really happy. It feels good to be putting on something in Brixton that wouldn’t otherwise be there.
‘The night’s perhaps not something that people would expect from Brixton, but that diversity is what makes Brixton so exciting for me. It’s somewhere where anything can happen. And we’re living proof of that.’
So head on down tonight, or you’ll have to wait til September.
And to get into the extra-long weekend spirit Ian has kindly recommended some appropriate songs to listen to as you get ready to head down to How Does It Feel tonight:
A Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill by Jens Lekman – upbeat, feelgood … and people singing and dancing in the background
Let’s Dance by Jimmy Cliff – Jimmy Cliff might be more familiar from reggae classics like ‘The Harder They Come’, but this is a supercharged northern soul dancer
A Summer Wasting by Belle And Sebastian – a carefree start with a big, euphoric end. Very summery indeed.