I have no idea that the Leake St Arches might provide such a vibrant experience when I head there straight after work. The smell of spray-can paint is thick in the air; the juice of creative sorts rampant. Pop-Ups are popping up before the idea has even hatched out of its incubator; yep, down here underneath Waterloo some fine artistic pursuits are taking place.
I stop for a while and pause, pretty much paying homage, at a drying image of Keith Flint.
I’m here to go to the bar at 26 Leake Street. In a reclaimed arch space, they’ve taken to scheduling gigs a few nights each week. Look to the ceilings and you’ll see two long rat murals, black and white rodents on a red canvas. It’s a Banksy apparently. It all fits with the surrounds. Bands and acts play at the far end of this cavernous tunnel whilst punters (art school beardsters, fashionistas and adventurous tourists) find space at tables to drink the local craft. It’s not as exclusive as I make it sound. I arrive in my office clothes and feel no snobbishness over my lack of effort.
Perhaps that’s because Suitman Jungle is also in his office clothes. Admittedly much more dapper than mine, Marc Pell (who is the Suitman) sports a nifty fitted-blue suit and tie. His hair, neatly combed to one side, tells tales of a man who’s anonymously sat behind a desk all day. Maybe he’s contributed to an office donation or opened up with a few words at a team meeting. But now is his chance for release as he takes to the 26 Leake St stage.
And what a release it is. Just him, a minimal drum kit and electronic gadgets, he sets the most almighty drum ‘n’ bass into motion. In pauses between beats, he issues wise spoken word segments. This one is all about his walk to work through the ‘jungle’ of suits; and this one’s all about going up and down in the lift. In a break-heavy piece, he waxes lyrical about all manner of work breaks.
When not riffing about work, Marc samples the voice of his young niece. You can tell why he’s a popular uncle such is his spirit of fun and mischief.
It’s an exceptionally urban, essentially London sound that’s being created here. The perils, the opportunities, the frustrations and the joys of living here are laid out for all to see. It might only be a Wednesday night but the crowd at the front show every desire to dance their socks off.
Suitman Jungle – made for the festival circuit, made in London.