News from the London Steampunk Spectacular

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing
From left to right: Marc Burrows (bass), Ben Dawson (drums), Andy Heintz (vocal/saw), Andrew McNeill (vocal/guitar)

Despite half of the tube system shutting down for the weekend (and despite the fact that we managed to get ourselves completely lost in the separate time-zone that is King’s Cross St Pancras station), this last weekend we (albeit eventually) managed to find our way to the Cross Kings pub for the London Steampunk Spectacular.

The Cross Kings could probably best be described as an ‘intimate’ setting for the three bands, various traders and two hundred steampunks that were crammed into it, but that certainly didn’t hurt the atmosphere or dampen anyone’s spirits.

In attendance were both Ghostfire and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing — two bands that have been making big names for themselves in the developing British steampunk scene over the last year. But then we also had Savile Row, a band that no one seemed to know anything about, and who hadn’t played together in ten years. We were also fortunate enough to have the wonderful Robert Rankin as the master of ceremonies (and who duly entertained us with a mixture of wit, singing in the style of Dick Van Dyke, and the poetry of Aleister Crowley), not to mention Lady Raygun, whose steel drum performances are quickly becoming a staple at UK steampunk events.

Savile Row were first to take to the stage, and despite having split up ten years ago, they proved to be a genuinely pleasant surprise. Not only were they incredibly tight for a band that had only rehearsed two or three times in the last decade, but do you know what else? They were also really good. In fact, if anything they were even better than the ten-year-old recorded material on their MySpace page suggested. Hopefully the gig gave them a taste for playing together again and we shall be seeing more of them in the near future.

Next up were the highly-lauded Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. The Men are pretty much always and without fail the best steampunk band that you will ever see live, but on the night of the London Steampunk Spectacular they were on fire, and most definitely in full funny, sarcastic, angry, anti-imperialist voice. A little later on, we dragged the four of them upstairs by their grubby little collars to chat about their music, steampunk and the upcoming album, and you’ll be able to catch that interview (as well as a review of the aforementioned album) in the next issue of the magazine.

Ghostfire were our headline act, and as always turned out a consummate performance and worked their magic on the crowd. They also performed some new material including ‘The Last Steampunk Waltz’ (which will shortly be released as a single, although there was some argument amongst the band as to when exactly that will be!), and also a song that was described as Russian dance with added drinking.

The stalls were arranged by the Victorian Steampunk Society‘s Major Tinker and Lady Elsie, and while there was only (very!) limited space in the (very!) peculiar venue (which, granted, was a delightfully odd mixture of the period and the psychedelic, with some pretty awesome people working on the door and behind the bar), everyone made the best of it. As ever, it was wonderful to see such a fantastic selection of the handmade, handcrafted and handsewn on display.

All in all, a pretty damned fantastic night was had by all. As the UK’s steampunks slowly venture further away from their internet connections and start to form the beginnings of a community over here, we’re absolutely certain that we shall be having more nights like this one, too.

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7 Responses to “News from the London Steampunk Spectacular”

    Alas, my computer is super-slow, so I haven’t managed to get to any of these fine bands’ songs yet. But the pink beard, if it is in fact that color and I’m not just mistaking the lighting, gives them so many bonus points.

  2. Nope, it’s true. Andy does indeed have bright pink mutton chops, and lo, they are awesome.

  3. I’d call it more purple. But it is super.

  4. Yes space was a little tight but our thinking here, as organisers, was that it’s better to have a rammed (and sold-out), event in a smaller venue than be more ambitious, go for somewhere bigger, then only have it half full. That could have been demoralising.

    There’s a certain allure about selling out a venue and still having more people wanting to come in. It adds mystique to the event, not to mention desirability (for the next one), for those who couldn’t get in.

    Next time the event will be bigger, though probably still at the Cross Kings (which can hold twice Saturday’s number when fully opened up), since we liked the venue and its easy accessibility.


  5. As a friend and fellow Steampunk of many mentioned above, but alas, stuck in the U.S.S.A. – I can only say that your article brought back wonderful memories of the Asylum and made me miss everyone yet again!! The scene is soo enthusiastic and alive there!!


  6. Good night.
    Who knows, where can I find steampunk shop in London?
    Thank you.

  7. When was this event actually held, if in the past?

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