It’s 2:19 a.m. and I am on the new night tube service in red, white and blue cowboy boots. This is a much better position than the first Nashville Nights, when I was trying to contain my stomach contents on a jerky – and expensive – uber ride from Chelsea to the east end. My fairground mirror reflection in the window says I’ve had a good night. But for once I did not survive till the last song.
The problem is I should probably be past this now. My body is surely ready for Saturday nights of tea and Strictly. Whoever said “age is just a number” had clearly not experienced the week-long recovery process required for a hangover after the age of 28. I blame the not so subliminal messaging in so many country songs forcing me to pour / raise / down copious amounts of whiskey. JB is largely to blame for that too.
What I would’ve given for a night club playing modern country music when I was 19 and the stamina came more naturally. But, when I was 19 – the age that could’ve handled the five hours on the dance floor I’ve just put in – there were only so many hours of S-Club 7 I could take, so I was more able but far less inclined to dance.
What a difference nine months makes (can I get an ‘amen’ from any pregnant women?) Back in February we’d timidly walked down a Fulham back road to the launch of Nashville Nights; eyes glued to the Google Maps route, unsure of what we’d find. Pockets of friends formed spread out circles on the dance floor and the few who’d been expecting an old-time western dance sought refuge at the bar.
This time, we nearly couldn’t attend it sold out so fast. Part of the popularity was no doubt down to the live set from Pauper Kings and when it looked like JB & I might be blocked out we began to regret raving about them so much online.
After their set – in which I realised I actually know all their words now – much of the rest was a blur of failed line-dance attempts and spilled drinks. DJ Baylen Leonard took over, responding to requests of the well-primed, packed-in crowd and personal highlights this time include: the DJ – a grown man – being visibly lost in Maren Morris; the temporary celebrity status my boots achieved (see, mum, they weren’t just another pair of cowboy boots); seeing the dance floor erupt when the switch was made from pop country to classics like Jolene, Ring of Fire and 5 O’Clock Somewhere; meeting Jimmy Buffet’s number one fan; and the Stetson-clad stalwart couples two-stepping around the peripheries.
So yes, despite the zombie-like status of my Sunday morning self, I will do it all again next time. Next the team are off to Birmingham and Brighton and tickets are already on sale for London in February, with dates in the pipeline for Leeds and Bristol. So some tips for any of our readers who’ve not been to Nashville Nights yet.
- Find out when the club night is coming to your city here. If they’re not scheduled to come to your city, badger and beg them to come on social media, here.
- Don’t be afraid to come alone. so far these have provided the friendliest clubbers since the ecstasy crack down at Fabric.
- If you’d rather not come alone, find fellow country fans via meetup.com‘s common interest groups. London’s liveliest one is ‘Play That Country Music’; in Bath and Bristol try “Country & Americana”. Or you could always set one up yourself.
- Expect mainly pop and chart country, but fortunately you can request your preferred tunes using twitter #nashnightsuk or even by old-school pen and paper!
- Come early. Whatever your age, it will be over too quickly.
I’ve reached my tube station and the few hours of compliments on THE boots were worth the odd looks I’m getting now. I suppose, if I’m going to become an ageing clubber, I may as well do it in (questionable) style.
Were you there? What was your highlight of the night?
CJ for @ukcountryblog