Music Review: The Spirit of New Orleans at The Book Club

A Louisiana style carnival to bring in the New Year

�The Spirit of New Orleans, at the Book Club, in Finsbury, was certainly a memorable way to ring in 2012.

As the name suggest, it was a Mardi Gras type affair, celebrating the rich marriage of French and Caribbean culture that typifies that musical Louisiana city.

The venue itself was bedecked cajun-style, from French street signs on the walls to voodoo trinkets hanging from the ceiling.

Although our costumes were, shall we say, minimal, all around us Papa Shango look-a-likes body-popped with girls in outrageous carnival masks, providing an enduring spectacle.

The line up was every bit as decadent as the decor. Mixtape maestro DJ Format cut and scratched his way through party classics upstairs, ably supported by DJs Wrongtom, Digga Please? and Peepshow Paddy.

While downstairs in The Big Ten Inch basement, live band the Congo Faith Healers stole the show with a set of gypsy blues straight form the dirty south.

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DJ-wise Jerry Dammers, of The Specials fame, Scratchy, The Clash’s tour DJ and Samuel Preston, from the Ordinary Boys, kept the crow jumping with a mixture of reggae, rock, Calypso and Louisiana grooves.

Whilst in the thick of the dancefloor, a mixture of liquor and juju had me throwing all kinds of exotic shapes - it was a bit of a shock when the lights came on at 4am and I had negotiate the cold London streets once again.

After many a disappointing and overpriced New Year’s Eve’s in recent years, the Spirit of New Orleans came as a very pleasant surprise. Both the door and the bar were reasonably priced, the music programming and theme were well thought out and the place was packed with good-natured party people. What’s not too like?

The Spirit of New Orleans was at The Book Club, Leonard Street, EC2, on December 31.