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Now We're Off to Rehab at Club 43

Club 43Club 43, located at 43 South Molton near the Bond Street station, doesn't particularly impress from the outside. November has arrived and with it a biting wind that makes the lawn furniture and cheap picket fence sections enclosing a little faux-patio unlikely to see much use for the rest of this year. Go down the stairs and it livens up a bit: the d�cor is pretty chic, which is something of a contrast to the punk bands trying to blast paint off the walls with their guitar solos.

The chic vibe doesn't stop with the trendy set-up either. This is a self-described 'members' club for creative London� and between the approximately UKP400 annual membership fee and the UKP7 vodka tonics at the bar, this isn't a place for the frugal night out. That said, you don't have to be a member to get in to parts of the club. The downstairs caters to concerts and other events and is open to the public many nights of the week. Of particular note is the weekly Now We're Off to Rehab event, which hits the downstairs stage every Tuesday. And though non-members can get in, they'll have to pay the UKP7 cover.

The brainchild of Alan McGee, this show hosts some of London's up-and-coming punk and post-punk bands along with interim DJ sets by Alan's son Dan Devine. Last week (7.10.06) the club was graced by the presence of several bands vying for domination of the scene. The Gods hit the stage first, followed up by the pleasantly old-school Out of Nowhere. Though OoN's vocal and guitar styling was barely discernable to the punk of the 1970s, the seemingly-bizarre addition of a keyboard to the mix turned out to be a boon, lending a rumble and hum to their songs that fit well with the mood. Their classic-punk sound was followed closely by the Mode, the headliners for the show. The Mode's sound was less impressive than the previous bands', however. The group has a somewhat bland sound not differentiated from the hundred other post-punk bands that have arrived on the scene in recent years. Not to say that the Mode is a bad band, simply that they need to work on their individuality before they'll be noticed.

James, one of the helpful staff, mentioned that some nights, if it isn't too busy up there, it's even possible for non-members to charm their way upstairs into the members-only section. This section is very different from the downstairs: it's all couches and conversation. Indeed, especially when coming from downstairs during the full swing of a punk show, it's like entering into the chill-out room in a good club: all comfortable seating and calm surroundings. The only jarring note is an abundance of cow skulls and red velvet curtains, lending the whole place a vaguely satanic aspect. This contrasts with the calm paintings on the wall depicting Venice's Grand Canal, so even with a slight devil-worship vibe it's still a pleasant place to wile away an evening.

Now We're Off to Rehab � Upcoming Shows:

Nov 14 � Mama Shamone, Broken Mile, The Foxes
Nov 21 � The Deltas, Digi Pimp, Bwani Devil
Nov 28 � Trashmoney, Pravada, Kill Casino

- Nicholas Carter