REVIEW: Hot Club de Swing Xmas Spectacular @ Hare & Hounds, Fri 20th Dec

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Words by Althea Patterson, pics by Carlie-Ann Hare

For the full Flickr of pics, click here

Well this is ridiculous fun…

Straight-laced amateurs move closely and nervously, while the more serious dancers sway and bop with gracious ease; shaming all us who sit and gawp._DSC0033 - lr

Tattooed rockabillies Jive and Lindy-Hop to beautiful Swing music. Gig posters for Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington adorn the walls. Is this really 2013 Kings Heath, or a Capone controlled Speakeasy in 30’s Chicago?

_DSC0013 - lrWhatever it is, it’s brought out an eclectic mix of folk; from hippies, rockers, too-cool-for-school wannabes and the simply curious, wondering what the hell is going on. I sup my beer and embrace the madness.

The dancers continue to move with ease and style, perfecting routines that would make a surefooted cat look clumsy; an absolute delight. My cohorts and I sit watch with respect and a twinge of envy.

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In the first of two rooms, I was in the one for the dancers and shakers. And it’s a refreshing change to slip between centuries; from Singapore Sling to Sex on The beach in a heartbeat.

In the second room – what a contrast. My neck cricks at the speed of the spin. Faux Flappers writhe between hip hoppers, Electric Swing Circus slap the stage with their infectious exuberant eclecticism; with influences as diverse as Bjork, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae and the Spice Girls.

_DSC0008 - lrElectric Swing Circus’ leading lady, Laura Louise, dons a Santa-esque red dress trimmed with faux ermine to belt out a confident set. A lady who says she’s a natural extrovert, I fall in love with her stage presence._DSC0036 - lr

And the band are kicking down the door of change in music for 2014; declaring they want to “bring something spectacularly fresh to pop music”. I hope they do; as go home at 3am, listening to their deliciously infectious eponymous debut album, I still have oodles of energy.

A great night; I loved the dancing, the 40’s seamed stockings, zoot suits, and gusto from the passionate people both partaking and observing.

Thank you Hot Club de Swing, have a spectacular Christmas, and more please.


For more on Hot Club de Swing, visit

For more on Electric Swing Circus, visit

For more on the Swingamajig festival, visit


For more gigs at the Hare & Hounds, visit