I did, you know. For fun, and everything. Actually, it was a few weeks ago. And we only went to the end of the road, so to speak. But we went out – dressed up, waistcoat & shirt, to the Queens Road Social Club for our first taste of Burly Q.
Burly Q is a bit of a Sheffield phenomenon. Over the past couple of years the organisers have put on over a dozen sell-out shows that have gradually become a buzz-word on the cabaret circuit. From top-drawer burlesque to comedy, the focus is on original, intelligent entertainment. By way of example, the bill for our night out included mime and chap-hop as well as professional dancers and a pair of knowledgeable DJs.
The first thing we noticed was that everybody dresses up for the occasion. I’m glad I made the effort, though our hosts and hostesses put us to shame with a dazzling display of 50s-vintage dresses and suits, with some of the clothing dating as far back as the 30s. Rachel, needless to say, was impressed. I was particularly struck by a chap at the next table who must have stepped straight from Harper Lee’s courthouse.
Natty duds aside, Queens Road Social Club is getting a reputation of its own as a Sheffield venue – and with the demise of the Boardwalk, it is attracting indie bands of A Certain Reputation (65 Days of Static have played there, for example, and I seem to think that either Low or Low Anthem have been there…). An odd place, and decidedly old-school, but the Burly Q team pulled out all the stops to turn it into a den of high-class iniquity for the evening.
Fred Bear was entertaining, while Kiki Lovechild was a brilliant nod to the days of silent comedy. Of the dancers, Mia Merode (aka Dani California) was energetic and fun, Dinah Might owned the stage, and Red Sarah just boggled the mind completely. But in a good way, of course. And after all that, the chap-hop recitals of Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer were enough to send us into the night whistling Kraftwerk merrily.
The only blight on the night was a small amount of anti-social and boorish shouting aimed at the elegantly attired greeters/stage-hands – a reminder that grim reality is never all that far away. Really, if you’re going to go to a night like this then you should play by the rules. Leave the Neanderthal “Get ’em out!” shouts at home. In fact, if you’re going to buy a ticket and then shout like that, you might as well just not bother turning up to begin with.