by S P
Proud is a gallery, live venue, club and, most of all, a chill out place. Problem is, is it trying to be too many things to too many people? Is the venue equipped to deal with its own bold ambitions?
Five past eleven on a Saturday, we arrived at Proud for the much touted ‘Be’presents. A disarmingly nice doorman gently informs me that Proud is overcapacity and nonetheless, he is kind enough to let me and my mate in. Ordinary punters have to wait – policy at that point of the night was‘one in, one out’. Note To YOU the very important paying punter!
The average wait according to the general public is 20 minutes. Not too bad for Camden on a Saturday night. Koko and Barfly average wait is an hour minimum. There you go. Take your pick.
For the amateurs who have never been to this little gem of a venue, climb the stairs and you’ll find yourself in a maze of multiple rooms. Sadly we missed Proud’s resident band. Ummm… better luck next time. So instead we spent some time relaxing in one of Proud’s main chill out rooms, sipping wine and laying on Proud’s comfortable but filthy, Arabic inspired beds. Having gotten ourselves into a suitably relaxed (pissed) state, we headed into another tiny room where the band’s equipment was set up. The room was heaving and on stage was the outstanding band X Vectors, nobly rising above the shortcomings of Proud’s dodgy sound system.
The band embraces an eclectic mix of musical genres, producing an infectious blend of music that defies you not to dance to it. And the crowd did not let them down. It has to be said though that the band singer is not a natural choice as a diplomatic media savvy frontman. (SP: I’m not a BIG RECORDING COMPANY PR PIMP, therefore, I shall spare you all the pain and agony of listening to my whine about the soulless music industry force feeding us with rubbish music and packaging them up with promo money and insulting our intelligence. HAHA! Not you! the sophisticated readers of loose-lips.) Anyway, X Vectors put on forty-five minutes of pure chaos with happy dancers moving to their guitar-led, electro trash riffs with dirty basslines.
AS bad as the sound system was, this alone wasn’t the biggest problem of the DJ set. That unfortunately, was the DJ himself, some poor bloke and his dodgy turntable needle. It’s not the record MATE! YOUR NEEDLE KEEPs MISSING BEATS. I got to confess I did feel sorry for him, being heckled through the five songs isn’t fun, to say the least. Eventually the dancing crowd got tired of heckling and just danced themselves silly.
On the verge of breaking, we escaped upstairs to another one of Proud’s fantastic bars. The music in the room is piped in from the dance floor downstairs, even with the dodgy missing beat. The sound system actually sounds better the further away from the dance floor you get. At this bar, thirst-quenchers are easily within reach. No queue. Another plus side of the multiple rooms Proud provides.
We gave the dance floor another shot again. Despite technical difficulties, the DJ of the night, who shall remain nameless, did manage to spin a great mix of indie favourites, pop, top 20 singles and electronic music. A far more diverse mix of genres than any of the other clubs around Camden. This kept most people happy four to five minutes on end. Guess, if you’re looking for a great night out with a group of friends, ‘BE’ presents a wide variety of musical styles to cater for everybody. Overall, it’s FUN! FUN! FUN!