Independent record label Fluffer Records are hosting some of the grittiest gigs in London- fans of punk rejoice!
If you like your music hard and heavy and your gigs to have a quirky twist, then Fluffer Pit Parties are for you. Every month, independent label Fluffer Records put on a few Pit Parties, promising to deliver killer bands and an exhilarating atmosphere.
Tickets are only bookable through the Dice App. The location is secret and the line-up is disclosed just hours before the guitars are plugged into the amps. You’re not entirely sure what you’re signing up for but for just £10- and no booking fee- you can’t go wrong.
On the bill for one of January’s Pit Parties were Bad Breeding, Bad Girlfriend, Sexwolf! and Virgin Kids- making this particular gig delightfully raucous and heavy on the gritty chords.
“We’ve had so many great bands play our nights we’ve lost count. NME (New Musical Express) have just touted our newest signings the Virgin Kids as the UK’s answer to The Black Lips, which is fantastic because they are!’ says Fluffer Records’ promotor Al Brown.
“Ever since we started two and a half years ago we’ve been all about showcasing new artists. We love putting on brand new exciting bands in basements, warehouses and more established venues.”
The location for this Pit Party was New River Studios in north London; a shabby warehouse building which is mostly used as an art space. The interior is eclectic; with Kate Bush wailing faintly through the speakers at the bar, trippy art work covering the walls and craft beer on tap. Upon collection of wristbands, gig-goers were navigated towards a dimly lit corridor; bass hums from an unknown room somewhere and the crowd is told to ‘follow the music.’
Pit Parties are, refreshingly, unlike your usual gigs. For a start, there is no stage – with portable smoke machines generating a haze as the bands play in the middle of the room which is completely bare aside from the bands and crowd. As far as gigs go, it’s about as raw and intimate as it gets.
“The crowd can stand 360 all around the bands as they’re set up in the middle… So if you wanna ride directly behind the drummer’s shoulder you can,” says Brown.
“The boundaries between musicians and the fans are blurred.”
Reckless, rude and lewd punk band Bad Girlfriend kicked off the show with a chaotic mix of fiery lyrics and uproarious riffs. The band’s boisterous frontman, Connor Hemming, casually muttered profanities in between songs and juggernauted into the crowd. Hemming prowled the space like a maddened animal, creating unease in the crowd who were absolutely transfixed. All of a sudden, the naughty boys who’d sit at the back of class were here and rebelling one chord at a time.
The hardcore rock fans in the room weren’t disappointed by the savage four-piece from Birmingham, Sexwolf!, who thundered in the middle of the room. Thrashing drums and beastly breakdowns created an adrenaline-filled whirlwind into which the crowd was engulfed.
Sexwolf! set fire to the whole room; maybe it was due to the lack of aircon (or maybe it was fact that drummer Sam Jenkinson played in his shorts) but the performance got feverish.
It all proved to be too hot for vocalist Richard Phillips who, just two songs in, began to strip. Philips says, “I did the rest of the set in my pants and vest like P.E. The crowd seemed visibly turned on but aside from that it was all good natured fun and frolics with genuine people just looking for a good time!”
“The atmosphere was bostin’ in this age of pretence and self-consciousness it was really nice to see some good looking young people out for a good time! The warehouse set up is a masterstroke also it really ups the intensity!”
Wading through empty plastic cups- ears ringing and necks sore from headbanging- the mob began to make their way home- or to the next haunt- in a sweaty daze.
The pit certainly left a lasting impression on the procession of gig-goers, especially 24-year-old bar man Zach Purkis who says: “There was an electric atmosphere. I’ve never been to a gig like it, I think I headbutted someone.”