Review: Mahatma Music’s Launch Night

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It’s Wednesday evening. You are done with your ritual pre-drinks. You are spoiled for choice of either cutting some shapes with the sports lot at Timepiece, or trying out the Lemmy’s ‘alternative night’. Fear not, the Lemon Grove is not the only venue experimenting with an innovative club night this year. On Wednesday 1st October, the Cavern hosted a new live music event organised by Mahatma Music. Now in our second year, we were both baffled as to why we had barely visited the Cavern before. We were excited with the prospect of mixing it up and the buzz around campus surrounding Mahatma Music’s night had us gravitating towards Gandy Street.

After a chat with Colin Bugler and Joe Alexander (two thirds of Mahatma’s founding trio) we had an insight into what was going to make the event so special. All three third years professed a love for contrasting music genres – from Indie to House to even Classical Rock. This difference contributes to Mahatma Music’s eclectic set-up, guaranteeing that, no matter what your taste, you will enjoy your night.

We utilised our press-power, turning up to the Cavern before the doors were officially open. The atmosphere was chill with an overtone of excitement. The venue lived up to Joe’s description of a “small intimate music venue with a lot of history” as we got treated to a sneak-peak of the backstage dressing room – a Harry Potter-esque store cupboard. Here we momentarily lost our journalistic cool and became internally screaming fan-girls; the walls were graced with the signatures of the likes of Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and Coldplay.

Within a few minutes of opening, the place began to fill up with everyone grabbing their drinks as Theon Bower (DJ and Co Mahatma Music founder) played some tunes. A few drinks later and it was to the dance floor to welcome the opening band, Brooklyn. Playing their second ever gig, their first being at Bestival, the band put loads of energy into their indie set despite the light crowd; probably due to the lack of freshers which was revealed when the bassist’s shout-out to them was met with an awkward silence. Clearly the clueless fresh were slumming it in Timepiece. While Sophia’s highlight was the performance of their single ‘Car’, with its mellow tone and stunning falsetto vocal, I found the bass player’s Garnier-esque ponytail removal to be the main event of their set.

While Brooklyn were a fun warm up, Heyrocco were clearly the main event. The crowd was bigger, the energy greater and their set was even better for a crowd who wanted to dance. The transatlantic band from South Carolina were playing the first gig on their London tour and lived up to their “pop and roll” (Chris Cool, bassist) persona. Their set had an alternative vibe. They held the crowd’s attention, interacting from sharing sweat to planting a kiss on one unsuspecting female. While the band and all their antics were entertaining, one simple event stole the show. I only wish I had been quick enough with my phone to record it but, alas, words will have to suffice. In Heyrocco’s final song, the Mahatma organisers joined the band on stage resulting in one of them leaping off in an attempt to crowd surf. It was safe to say, that was one of the biggest belly-flop we had ever seen. If you have watched the famous Jack Black crowd-surfing failure in the film School of Rock, you will know what we witnessed. While everyone was fine, I’m afraid this spectacle was the cherry on top of our night.

Once the show was over, the focus was turned from the stage to the other side of the room where Theon Bower’s DJ kit was set up, ready for the club portion of the night to begin. While we must admit we found this a little disorientating at first, with many people going off to the bar, eventually the crowd thickened as people got more in the mood for dancing to Theon’s soft, house beats. The venue and its unique, intimate feel created a chilled atmosphere whereby the acts and crowd mingled together; this was one of the unexpected pluses of the night. It seemed to be Doodle’s retro DJ set, leading on from Theon’s, which got everyone on the dance floor together. Even Heyrocco’s frontman Nathan and bassist Chris joined the crowd to show us how the American’s did it.

All in all, Mahatma Music’s launch night was a clear success and an entertaining one at that. As word of mouth spreads, and the freshers find out there is more to life than Timepiece, Wednesday night at the Cavern could become the new hotspot replacing the much beloved Cellar Door.

Mahatma Music will be back at Cavern on Tuesday 28th October – check out the facebook event here!

Abi Etchells and Sophia G M

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