Rich Mix is a flexible, interesting venue, very handily located less than 100metres from Shoreditch High Street Overground Station. It has a theatre space and a bar on the 4th floor, holding around 100 people comfortably. The ground floor has a licensed bar in a space suitable for theatre, dance or live music and this area can accommodate many more. The first floor is a mezzanine, looking down over the stage. There are three cinema screens on the floors in between and there is also an Indian restaurant/café on the premises.
What really makes this venue, is the variety and diversity of the cultural events that are put on here. If you look at the programme for the coming month alone, there is theatre, dance, live bands, open mic nights, story-telling evenings, political events, family events, not to mention the films showing in the cinema, where it is one of the venues hosting the London Film Festival. It is also a venue for London Dance Umbrella Festival.
There mezzanine doubles as an art gallery and currently hosts a multimedia exhibition: Black Pride. Among upcoming exhibitions are “Hard to Read” bringing together art and poetry, and another depicting illustrations of Syrian refugees. There are weekend markets with different themes, one in December is specifically for independent potters and ceramicists.
An adaptable venue, embracing the local community, accommodating the art scene and enhancing London’s rich cultural diversity.
Out of the System, part of a three year project from London’s Dance Umbrella Festival, is curated by Freddie Opoku-Addaie and runs at Rich Mix 16-17 October.
Made up of three very different dance pieces, there is something here for all tastes. The first piece “Clay” is a flamenco based collaboration between two dancers and a guitarist, the dancing is fantastic, filled with action and humour. I loved the way the two dancers played off each other and the way they slowly drew the guitarist in.
The second is a more interpretive piece, evocative, using symbolist props and occasional filmed backdrop. I have to admit that some of the symbolism went over my head, but the dancing is eloquent and emotional.
The third “Ven” is a double hander, with two harmonious dancers intertwining to dance almost as one person, clever and moving. The trust that the couple show in each other is beautiful, a truly symbiotic relationship.
The evening is finished off with a live band, The Afrobeat rhythms of Yaaba Funk had the whole audience dancing. All in all we had a very interesting evening in a great venue. The London Dance Umbrella Festival is running at different venues until the 28th of October and with the standard this high, I am looking forward to the other nights I have booked.
Rising Stars is a showcase for up and coming music artists. The events are organised by Time Out and take place in famous venues around London.
On May 17th at 229 The Venue, Great Portland Street, the bands I saw were: Emily Capell, David Stewart, Saint Agnes and Jackaman.
Emily Capell is a singer/songwriter with a good voice, witty songs and a good stage presence. Her songs are poppy and catchy and have a nice sing-along feel to them.
David Stewart has a really strong voice, writes clever (sometimes harsh) lyrics and has great delivery. He exudes confidence and appears very relaxed on stage.
Saint Agnes are a prog rock, riff heavy band. Their songs were fantastic, great vocals, good harmonies. Their guitar riffs were excellent. They were visually interesting and really got the crowd moving. They got the best reaction of the night and I will definitely go to see them again.
Jackaman are an Indie rock outfit fronted by Lynne Jackaman who used to front St. Jude. They are on the rockier side of Indie and their songs and vocals are strong. Very enjoyable.
Rising Stars nights happen around London about 6 or 7 times a year. They are not expensive to get into and from what I have seen the music is always high quality. It is a great way of getting to see new live bands and a very good value night out.
The photo is of the band Saint Agnes