A Still World: Proud Camden
I’ve found in life, when you follow the sound of music, you’ll more often than not find yourself on the right path. Wandering through London’s colourful Camden Town on a Sunday evening I was gutted to find Barfly – one of the region’s more well known performance venues – was shut down for the night. As I stood dejected in front of its bolted doors wondering what my next step in life should be, I heard the sound of a guitar tuning up in the not so faraway distance, and decided to follow the sound. What I would stumble upon, proved to be quite a little find indeed.
Proud Camden is a venue, literally, like no other. Set in a 200 year old Horse Hospital in the heart of Stables Market, Camden, the space still retains the original stables that once upon a time housed horses injured from pulling canal barges. As I wandered past the 200 years of horsey history and towards the main performance space, a young guitar laden lad popped out unexpectedly in front of me from one of the stables, and rushed towards the stage – the next performer for the evening: Joe Fox.
“I actually do my own night in Camden called Live Forever, and the owner of Proud Camden asked if I’d play a few songs tonight. So I thought why not!” said Joe after the show. A few tentative strums, a shy glance towards the audience – followed by a soul stirring voice that emanated straight from the heart. “My main inspiration is Neil Young, because he always does what he wants,” he continued. “One of the biggest challenges for me as an independent musician in London is the high cost of living – it makes it pretty tough to organise my band and play gigs, especially with zero family support.”
Proud Camden’s interiors are covered with legends of eras gone by, and the space has developed a cult following with musicians like The Arctic Monkeys and Sadie Frost swinging by to hang out. Its intimate stage space has played host to acts like Pete Doherty, Stereophonics, Lykke Li and The Kooks.
But tonight, The Imperial Works were next to take to the stage.
This five piece act are a London based blues/swing/soul/jazz band – featuring Naomi Yhap on vocals, Neil Hope on guitar, Richard Lucey on drums, Ollie Corke on bass, and Sam Ennor on the saxophone.
“The whole band lives in warehouse communities in the Seven Sisters and Manor House communities,” their manager told me during their performance. The Warehouse Communities of London are artistic hubs – old warehouse spaces converted into spacious and cost effective living quarters, where artists live together in communities and creative harmony.
The Imperial Works closed the night with a lively set and strange sonic stories about Harry The Cat and Fish At The Dragon’s Gate. A band, and an evening, to remember.
It always pays, to follow the music.
Photo Credits: Nirupama Belliappa
All Photographs © IndiEarth and EarthSync Pvt. Ltd.