At Pennyblackmusic rarely, rarely do we review club nights but this month we have gone against the grain as our attention has been drawn to one that seems particularly interesting. London-based club How Does It Feel To Be Loved has caught our eye because of its promising if not a little unusual mix of indie-pop and soul playlists, as well as its impressive list of guest DJs.

Turning a corner I catch my first glimpse of the Canterbury Arms, a lit-up pub on the corner of Canterbury Crescent out of which I hear the low murmur of music. This is the second home of How Does It Feel to Be Loved, the popular yet still well-hidden indie pop and 60's soul club night, the first being the centrally placed Phoenix Club in Cavendish Square; an underground bar which has an air of the cosmopolitan and sophistication hardly foreign to that area. Tonight’s bar – or should I say pub - is, however, a little different.

At first it seems an unlikely home for a club night - the venue reminds of the birthday parties I used to attend when I was a child; in dimly lit halls with naff décor and a little too much space to dance – but I soon realise that this is its charm. It gives the night its character; it’s quaint and the sparkling fairy-lights circling the ceiling give it a certain home-made feel. It has a sense of exclusivity to it, everything seems to have been thought out and cared for; from its hand-crafted membership cards and badges to the stamp on my hand as I walk in which tell me in well-thought out letters that I am ‘LOVED’.

There is a feel of quality behind the night and all these things seem to promise me that it is going to be good. It gives me a sense of excitement and high anticipation, and it is no doubt that this attention to detail, this love and affection that has attracted the impressive line of guest DJs to have spun in its midst. These have included the 80's twee-punk legend Amelia Fletcher of Talulah Gosh fame, Phil Wilson of the June Brides, Dan Treacy of the Televison Personalities and Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian.

Tonight DJing is Kris from A Smile And A Ribbon. They are a Swedish sextette which include a saxophonist and a flautist amongst their indie-pop ranks. They have an almost child-like sound to them derived from their main influences of 1950's and 60's girl bands and 90’s twee. Having released their debut album, ‘The Boy I Wish I Never Met’ last year they have since been touring in the UK.

Unsurprisingly Kris’ set mirrors his band’s influences; playing an intriguing mix ranging from the Lucksmiths (their track, ‘Danielle Steel’, he tells me is the one he is most excited about playing) to examplary 60's pop such as the likes of the Easybeats’ ‘Friday On My Mind’. The rest of his set compiles of everything in between; Felt, Belle and Sebastian, Dolly Mixture to the Crystalettes, Bobby Womack and the Beach Boys. Speaking to him that evening he explains his excitement at playing the night; "I have never been before but its definitely lived up to everything I’d heard about it." His absence before this possibly owes to the fact that he lives in Sweden, where he runs his own club night in Malmo called Don't Die On My Doorstep, of which he claims HDIF to be an influence, alongside his performing in the band. Since then he has said of his set at HDIF that "I still think it's the best set I've done so far!"

The set certainly got all toes-tapping on the dance floor. And they continued to tap all night to the endless train of fantastic tracks being played by the in-house djs that followed Kris. The chosen indie and soul songs of the week being: 'Together Forever In Love' by Go Sailor and "Shake" by Otis Redding.

How Does It Feel To Be Loved fulfilled everything that I hoped it would be; it was refreshing and fun and its personal touches went a very long way to making it stand out from the crowd. It certainly felt wonderful to be ‘LOVED’.







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