View London | Dance | Club Review - Batmacumba @ ICA, London
out of five
The ICA, we’re told, uses its arts facilities (exhibition, film screening and internet space) to full advantage with its uniquely multi-faceted nightlife programming.
The trouble, of course, with such spurious multi-meeja claims, and indeed the risk with any primely-positioned venue characterised by vast vistas of white space and minimal bar areas, is a fondness for the sort of pointedly pretentious promotion that commonly clogs up Brick Lane warehouse space – Tarquin Trustafarian’s night of severed beats and Japanese toilet porn and co.
It’s the exception that throws the insipidness of the rule into relief. And DJ Cliffy’s throbbing, visceral samba and rumba rhythms – which emanate from the ICA’s main bar for the Batmacumba monthly – are the exception.
This characterful take on Latin flair began four years ago, and Cliffy’s monthly Brazilian experience (with film shorts, music and edibles, but all in genuinely South American taste) has been drawing a swelling crowd of clued-up quaffers ever since.
Further claims to exceptionality in the play list: Batmacumba is serious about its sound, specialising – unlike many of the cheesily inclusive Latino-themed club nights – in Brazilian music rather than a ‘mix’ of Latin sounds, with Cliffy undertaking regular trips to Brazil to source his obscurer jungle, jazz and hip-hop tinged output.
It may all sound like a night created for a handlebar-moustache stroking Brazilian beat elite, but don’t be fooled. Batmacumba’s archly alabaster patrons never manage to hold their pose for long, the ICA’s take on Caipirinha – the mind-and-shoe leather warping Brazilian arguadente/lime/sugar/ice drink – soon infuses all with a Latin spirit, promoting the shedding of clothes and down ‘n’ dirty dancing on a intimate upstairs dancefloor the size of a Brazil nut.
By the night’s close, even committed poseurs are slinging off their low-slung shackles to Cliffy’s infectious tunes.
Brazil-related features and shorts shown in the ICA cinema at every event.
Monthly on randomly selected Saturdays (occasionally moves to Friday).