On the Friday of the bank holiday weekend, we attended Clockwork Underground, being held as part of the Make Believe Festival, hosted at Islington Metal Works (the ground floor bit of Electrowerkz). Billed as an immersive theatre experience, it was pretty much a steampunk LARP - part of the ongoing Clockwork Watch story arc, where character interactions during the event could affect the future direction of the story. For more information about the story, visit clockworkwatch.org
. Slightly unfortunately, the LARP-like nature wasn't quite as well trailed on the Festival site, where tickets could be purchased, for me, or I'd have been better prepared with a character concept. Still, at least even my limited sartorial stylings fitted the milieu better than those of some of the other camera-wielders (with the definite exception of Oliver, who was entirely appropriately garbed). A lot of good work had been put into set-dressing, turning the main area into a courtyard in East London, with the bar area as ... a bar, and the other performance space turned into a den of iniquity, with ceiling tassels and chaises longue.
For us, at least, the main point of attending was the bands - Sunday Driver, Bitter Ruin and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (the latter providing a acoustic set due to their drummer's being otherwise engaged). Sunday Driver, who we'd seen before, melded a range of musical and sartorial influences, with instruments including the more usual guitar, drums and bass paired with clarinet, sitar and spoons - all combined to fine effect, even getting some of the occupants of the Den dancing. (The sartorial choices included a top hat, an embroidered waistcoat and a vast sombrero.) It was my first time seeing Bitter Ruin live, and Georgia's range, Ben's guitar playing and their joint harmonies were excellent, resulting in my buying the assorted EPs and albums they had (including a hardcopy of an EP I'd previously purchased as a download). The Men's set was quite late in the evening, and in the raucous environs of the bar area went down well, with favourites such as "Doing It For The Whigs" accompanied by less frequently played album tracks such as "Sewer". I only got a few photos before the crowd's enthusiasm was raised to fever pitch, and I secured the cameras.
Overall a rather good event, and I'd definitely be up for attending the next one (and having now read up on the back story online and in the Clockwork Watch
graphic novels, I've got some ideas as to a character more detailed than "adventuring photolithographer", too ...)
Photos of the bands, and of the general atmosphere of the event, are below.( Samples behind cut )