R’n’b and branded nail files; Soul Clap know how to keep the ladies happy

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There aren’t too many nights brave enough to plump for only one act and then have them play for eight hours straight. And in turn, there are few acts that could hold it together and hold it tight for such an extended period of time. Lucky for us then that the coupling between showcase clubnight ‘A Night With’ and Bostonian duo Soul Clap was a perfect match.

Having recently released their album, E-Funk, Soul Clap, aka Eli and Charlie, are no stranger to London shows, having just played Plan B in Brixton alongside Wolf + Lamb cohorts No Regular Play, a private party in Shoreditch House, not to mention their upcoming night this weekend YoYoYo ‘90s Rave Edition with living legends Robert Owens, Doc Martin and The Martinez Brothers.

It would’ve been easy to assume that with this many recent dates in the capital, interest might have waned, but the lengthy (and quite frankly exciteable) queue outside Kensal Green’s Loft Studios in deepest darkest northwest London put paid to any notions of A Night With Soul Clap being anything less than a summer sweat-fest.

That is not to say the Loft Studios is a grotty venue. Far from it. It is in fact a beautiful loft space with a large smoking terrace. So it boggles the mind how quickly sweat developed and why the two girls dancing at the front to the sounds of R Kelly thought it was acceptable to whip their long hair back and forth in the faces of the people crammed in behind them.

It’s not too charitable to suggest they were simply lost in the music to give any regard for anyone else’s personal space, as Soul Clap’s expert mix of classic disco (hello Cheryl Lynn’s Got To Be Real!) with more modern electro soul such as recent track Falling Out by Body Language, is most certainly geared towards getting the girls dancing. Which, as every good DJ knows, is a top trick to getting your party pumping.

When it comes down to it a night as long as this one is best remembered in the lovely little moments that Soul Clap themselves created: Charlie waving a desk lamp in the air to the beat of some slow and cheesy r’n’b, Eli telling someone in the crowd that this is best night they’ve had in ages, both of them dancing in the DJ booth and having a very obviously swell time, and in what has to amount to the weirdest merch ever, handing out branded nail files, further underlining the lengths the boys go to keep girls at their gigs happy.

In a city like London where clubbers become jaded from too much choice and the knowledge that most DJs will return eventually, it can be hard to set your night apart from the multitude of others. You either have to pull out all the stops in terms of ridiculous jam-packed line-ups or develop a keen reputation of weirdness and eccentricity to appeal to the more selective patrons. However, A Night With has eschewed all that for quality programming. The thought behind this particular showcase was stunning simple: Soul Clap. And only Soul Clap. For eight hours straight. How many promoters would have the guts to do that and make it work?

For the next A Night With check out their Facebook page

Soul Clap play their YoYoYo ‘90s Rave this Saturday 30th June in east London.

Rachael Williams