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Emily Strange presents… at Penelope’s

June 27, 2011

Aah it’s been a while since there was a proper LS night out. I’m sorry we’ve deprived you of new Sheffield fodder to chow down on recently, but get ready for a bumper crop as it’s been a busy weekend!

Friday night is fight night…no, not really. But now that Aurore and I live together it’s more business than pleasure, and so a night on the town with Komal was due. Where did we lay our hats? Penelope’s of course! Komal invited me to come to ‘that gingham thing’, and I was intrigued.

After much digging, it turned out there was a night called, “Emily Strange presents The Gargantuan Gorgeousness OF Gingham Gorgeosity” – which gives rather little away, but hearing that the theme was after one of my favourite patterns (third only after stripes and polkdots, natch), it was a goer.

Turns out I don’t own anything suitably checked though, so Campino-style candy stripes for me it was.

First up after we arrived were the Banana Flavoured Dubcats – a dub/reggae/ska outfit, outputting some sweet vibes for us all to get down to. Even my vintage stilettos didn’t stop the mayhem. One thing all that skanking’ll learn you though – Penelope’s is a sweatbox. It’s not the best place for a glamorous night out, and as such, my Betty Page style fringe was getting a good hammering (stayed in though!).

The venue was set up with cafe-style tables, as you might have in a jazz or comedy club. It did mean there was a certain level of forced continuity to the night – as in, a band came on, stand up, go watch, go back and sit down…which lost the atmosphere somewhat, but if there was one thing that got it back it was surely the burlesque dancer Eve, who teased the crowd in first a changing and dressing routine, and later an incredibly sexy dance involving a stolen bottle of beer and a feather boa. I’m also informed that there were belly dancers earlier in the evening before I arrived.

Also playing were a band called ‘Bertie Lee’s Blues Explosion‘, who played a mixture of their own songs, and a couple of blues-rock classics. It took a while for the crowd to get going, and it didn’t seem like their usual scene to be honest, but that’s not a criticism of them. I was rocking and rolling with the best of them, and they were very entertaining.

And the gingham? Well, there was a lot of it, some fabulously hideous outfits ranging from ’80s tartan bridesmaid’ to ‘Spanish restaurant tablecloth’ to ‘naughty cowgirl’, it turned up a few laughs – all in good humour of course.

So – as a concept, did it work? Well, the idea of a mixture of bands and dance and DJs worked, but the choice of acts didn’t really. The burlesque was perfect, but would’ve been better paired with something a little slinkier music-wise. I do enjoy a mixed-up affair, but there’s a difference between ‘something for everyone’ and ‘confusing everyone’, which ended up creating an odd atmosphere.

Still, a good night had by all. Laters!

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