Carmen Elektra are awesome. We owe them a great deal – if it weren’t for their initial encouragement, we may never have got started. We have even, on occasion, been mistaken for them…
But last Friday’s gig showed just how different we are.
It is easy to be blinded by the smokescreen of the ‘classical club night’. Yet for me and (I suspect) Carmen Elektra, that is a backwards way of looking at our events. Filthy Lucre is not classical music evening. It’s a gig. And for me, that involves putting on whatever I want rather than being straight-jacketed by the constraints of genre.
Could Filthy Lucre exist without ‘classical’ music? (The scare quotes to allude to another issue I have with the idea of a ‘classical club night…’) Probably. But it’s unlikely to happen – Anthony and I put on the music that we like, and we both really like classical music. So the shared idea of the ‘classical club night’ is only a sideline to the real business of Filthy Lucre or Carmen Elektra.
The real business of Filthy Lucre is creating a club night that makes musical sense. It moves from abstract music, to more ‘concrete’ music music and finally to dance music: from the bar to dance floor. Probably the biggest chunk of our time (that isn’t spent with the lovely folks at Natwest), is spent trying to make the programme flow as perfectly as possible.
Programming an opera night is inherently different, for the blindingly obvious reason that operas are long and songs are short. But this slight difference in material leads to a big difference in feel. Part of the great appeal of Carmen Elektra is that it presents an event – a single, stand-out work that defines the evening.
This means that their night is, inherently, more ‘clumpy’. It is based around sets that are discrete, if complimentary. This is no bad thing. It allows them to create a crystal clear image of what it is promoting and producing from event to event. Last time it was ‘the Britney thing’, they’ve also had ‘the warehouse sci-fi dance thing’, ‘the chair-sex thing’ and ‘the horror-opera thing’. This is something that Filthy Lucre’s more fluid form makes difficult.
The biggest challenge it leaves them is how to get people dancing at the end. Our approach – to try to smooth over the gaps, integrating the DJ into the covers and improv sets – would be ill-suited to opera, which often needs a clear end for dramatic purposes.
Perhaps it’s sometimes best to present the end as an after-party, to embrace the separation of their material. That, of course, comes with its own slew of problems, including the seeming value judgement of ‘main event’ and ‘after event’.
But I feel in a poor position to be dishing out advice. Carmen Elektra is really, really good and has achieved astonishing things. Thankfully for us, they are very different to the things that we hope to achieve. But here’s hoping we manage them half as well.
We’re going to try to keep up a regular stream of posts from now on. They’ll be our individual opinions, not Filthy Lucre’s - Anthony and I disagree about a lot of things and argue about them a lot. It should be interesting to see the two sides come out.
Also, check out our recording of Toby Young’s excellent Ginger and Spice:
Tab TV came to visit us at Filthy Lucre 2. Check out their video here: http://cambridgetab.co.uk/tabtv/filthy-lucre-2
A big thanks to the excellent crew, Rosie and Rupert.
Following our long running tradition of four star reviews, The Tab has given us another lovely bit of praise.
You can read it here.
But if you would rather read quotes taken out of context, then here goes:
‘a three-in-one extravaganza’
‘diverse and daring’
‘the best of Cambridge’s raw compositional talent’
‘[shows] what being proactive can do to make Cambridge creative, not crusty.’
Filthy Lucre 2 was so, so good - huge thanks to all involved.
We think the programming was what set it apart: all the pieces sounded great and fitted the vibe of the evening perfectly. And the players, in large part thanks to conductor Will Cole’s general amazing-ness, absolutely nailed it.
For those that missed it, the set list can be found below. But what you can’t see from the line-up is the fantastic atmosphere. We had a great crowd packing out The Vaults, dancing, chilling on the cushions and being hypnotised by the trippy projections.
Luckily, Tab TV was on hand to film it all. So expect some great footage (including an embarrassing and drunken interview with me) to go up soon.