Counter Culture Project 2011: Wonderland’s Winter Wobbler

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by
Dane Cobain |
07 December 2010

Organisers promised a Christmas party to make ‘Santa’s grotto look like an old people’s home’ and with proceeds going to the Wonder Years Centre of Excellence, providing education and healthcare to under-privileged Ghana, partying has never felt more charitable.

Inside, the Big Bass Boutique hosts an overlapping mix of house, electro, drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep, as podium dancers gyrate in ballet shoes to the thumping beats. Jack B Nimble delivers an upbeat set that drags the audience away from the bar and towards the dance floor, though some are still taking in the surroundings – a (frankly disappointing) hall of mirrors, comfortable sofas, hidden nooks and crannies and an upside-down Christmas tree that hangs from the ceiling.

Wingnut is up next, looking confident behind the decks. His energetic set moves through electro, dubstep and epic trance, and the impressive lights show seems almost wasted on the small venue. Not that it isn’t cosy – there’s a lull when he hands over to Kill Light, but the crowd builds back up and the floor fills in time for Hatesy, who churns out tunes and looks like he never wants to leave.

Through the looking glass and into the Mushroom Patch, Nila and the Rajas blend Siouxsie and the Banshees with Florence and the Machine, playing to a quiet crowd and pulling out props mid-song. In the corner, a stall sells tea by mushroom stools that give a sidelong view of the stage. Closer to the second of the two bars, a children’s playhouse offers refuge for when the madness becomes too much.

Half an hour later, Something Simple take to the stage, an eight-piece that overflows in to the audience when rappers Freedom and Chango join them for ‘Criss Cross’. The funk group are easily accessible and offer a chilled alternative to the electronic anthems that wobble across from the Big Bass Boutique. After their set, Freedom and Chango return to the stage, but they struggle to hold the crowd’s attention as it drifts back through to the other room.

The night is a success, a confirmation that the Counter Culture Project 2010 can host a reasonably-priced event without sacrificing quality. With less than a month to go until the festival ends, it’s not too late to sample the best that London’s independent music and arts scene has to offer.