MARTHA & JOANNA IN HACKNEY

The End of the Road Christmas gig in Hackney last night allowed me to finish the Beer Guide pubs in East London. The Adam & Eve on Homerton High Street is a cracker, beautiful and bustling with a very mixed early evening crowd. Plenty of seating of all varieties too, meaning it felt as much boozer as family-friendly gastro.

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I can even forgive the handle jar, as the Tintagel Gwan Taf was gorgeous (NBSS 3.5), proper rich winter beer. Two Cornish beers on the bar and a good variety of styles and strengths.

On the walk back to Hackney Central I passed the Plough, which has the sort of entrance lobby you rarely see outside of the Black Country.

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I always see something new in Hackney; the other highlight of this walk was the walled garden walk alongside St. Johns, one of the few survivors of bombs and redevelopment.  Pedestrianised Mare Street is particularly grim though.

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In complete contrast to Mare Street,  Oslo is a gem, a stylish club venue built out of old Hackney Central station.  At most gigs there’s plenty of old folk (you define old), but I felt very out of place in the opulent downstairs bar area, even with its Redemption and Five Points pumps (NBSS 2.5 for the Porter, though it ought to be docked a mark for the chunky eight-sided tumblers).

The music area is small (c.350), dark, and has the most officious stewarding seen since my first Cliff Richard gig in the ’70s.  It also sells me a small, warm can of Beavertown for £5.  Hey East London ! £2.90 a pint of Kirkstall at the Brudenell.

Fortunately, this was the best value-for-money gig of the year, and the greatest sound quality I’ve heard outside of my own Hi-Fi.

Part Mark E Smith, part Max Wall, Mark Wynn rants about Michael Buble’s slippers and York Library over a soundtrack of AC/DC and Rod Stewart – even funnier than it sounds.

Martha, “a pop band from Durham”, are the stars of the night.  Their euphoric set includes what sounds like a post-punk cover of “Spirit of Radio”, which was as good as it sounds.  Only vinyl for sale at the merch table.  Very East London.

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Notional headliners Joanna Gruesome plough a similar but faster vein, their run through classic LP “Peanut Butter” and a few extras over within 40 minutes, allowing folk to head for the Pembury Tavern or stay for the disco, depending on their age.

 

 

A great advert for live music and the eclecticism of End of the Road, if not for East London pricing.

 

 

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