Review: Kings’ Bunker
MAX TOOMEY gives 4 stars to a great and varied night with small flaws that can so easily be improved on
This year the guys behind Kings’ Bunker – to mixed success – have been trying to spread the word: the Bunker is back. The mingle, normally reserved for Kings students, was this term’s big finale.
Walking in I encountered my first problem – someone had already come in using my name. After spending a bit of time convincing the porters I was me, everything went right.
What really worked was that Kings’ weren’t trying to compete with anything else going on. Sure it was set up as a ‘cool kid’ night but they just had so much going on. This was a strength and a weakness. There truly was something for everyone; my only gripe about it being that things were just hard to find. With little signage about where to find different goings on, I found myself stumbling into fantastic sets halfway along and asking everyone around me who they were. It seemed a lot of people were facing the same trouble. This was not all terrible – some great acts, including a fantastic folk band – who I think were called Mo’s Gold Teeth – were discovered because of it.
Another great stumble were Laurie Lewis and the Fat Cats who, as always, did not disappoint. Getting the whole crowd grooving and not having a cucumber hurled in the trumpeter’s direction (a growing trend at their performances) are both great achievements – especially as they were up against the truly excellent XXXY who’s pulsing and melodic garage filled up the bar. His next gig was Warehouse Project in Manchester and after that Fabric. Getting him was a pretty big coup.
Outdoors was also pretty great, having that outdoor space and giving people a chance to sit and chat in the courtyard took the pressure off all the other spaces. At times the music outside really fit the mood. At others it was nothing but confusing and cacophonous.
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‘A’ for effort
The tiny kids tent in the middle was both an activity and a source of constant amusement; at times occupied by cutsie couples and at, at one point, four rugby lads unsuccessfully playing hide and seek.
Worthy of a special mention is the very kindly thought-out chill out room. Filled with mattresses and a large TV screening trippy graphics seemed to be exactly what a lot of people needed.
Kings’ suffered two major setbacks: price and timing. Asking students to fork out £14 was a big ask when everyone’s used to paying three pounds for their weekly Cindies/Fez/Life adventure.
Setting the event the night after Turf’s All-Nighter – which was cheaper and, as the name suggests, went on all night – meant that by Friday a lot of the cool-kid crowd were all edgied out.
I’d have liked to have seen a better use of the Bunker however. At times full, at times half empty nothing really stood out whenever I popped in, although it’s very possible I just totally missed something (please put signs up everywhere).
Drinks were cheap, music was not only great but varied, and the atmosphere was carefree. All in all a great way to finish off the term, I’m looking forward to the next one. The Bunker’s Back.