Filthy Lucre

DAVID HOLLAND gets filthy in the vaults. It’s confusing, but in a good way.

arcade fire Classical contemporary Dance David Holland joe bates joseph bates Music sexy terry riley the stroke the vaults

The Vaults, Monday 14th November, £4

[rating: 4/5]

Filthy Lucre was one of the oddest and most enjoyable nights out I’ve been to in a long time. An interesting mix of music, chat, drinks and dancing; it is very hard to pin down exactly what the evening was, other than absolutely stellar.

In essence this was a contemporary classical music concert held in a cocktail bar, but this somehow doesn’t seem to cover the atmosphere of the event. The Filthy Lucre team added to The Vaults with light projections, a bean bag and cushion area and mood lighting, and the result was something altogether unique.

The music began with Terry Riley’s ‘In C’, a 45(ish) minute minimalist piece in which different members of the orchestra have different ‘phrases’ and are encouraged to play these an arbitrary number of times starting at arbitrarily decided different points. The different tempos, lack of a true melody and the fact that is piece is so avant-garde made it a bold choice for an opener. Interesting and unlike almost any other live music you’ve heard in Cambridge but the nuances and explanation of the piece may have been slightly lost on the non-musically trained of the evening.

This was OK though; this wasn’t a sit-down-in-reverent-silence type of concert, we drank cocktails, chatted to people, lay on the floor and stared at lava-lamp projections. The atmosphere in the room was as much a focus as the music.


Terry Riley’s In C – An excerpt

The medley of instruments and performers, who were playing essentially in the middle of the room, regularly revolved as the music and the evening evolved. Less avant-garde – and more recognisable to us musical mortals – we saw a cover of a chirpy plucked violin number written by Final Fantasy. The first truly recognisable piece, however, was a blistering version of Under Control by The Strokes. The mixture of down beat vocals and more melodic instrumentation made this, if anything, more enjoyable than the original.

The personal highlight of the evening was the final song of the evening before the conclusive DJ set. A stirring rendition of Arcade Fire’s My Body Is A Cage, a fitting crescendo to the beautiful and bizarre evening. Pretty-but-dancey house music and BOGOF cocktails meant the rest of the night was a brilliant daze.

It’s hard to put into words what exactly the evening was, and what it offered but, if anything, this is to its credit. The event offered something we never see in Cambridge – an exploration of music that isn’t top 40’s hits or Disney themes in a venue that doesn’t drip with sweat. And to top it off they offered a wider drinks selection than VKs or Becks.

Filthy Lucre is looking to repeat once a month, and I urge you strongly to check it out.