Branding itself as the “ultimate alternative party”, Itchy Feet had quite a lot to live up to on its return to our seaside Bubble this past Thursday. Promising to relieve “clubbing boredom” in a town that, technically, has only one nightclub doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, but we St. Andreans aren’t the easiest crowd.
Either way, I went along, not entirely sure what to expect but keen enough to find out what makes this night fame-worthy across the country’s biggest student towns.
And well, it was pretty obvious.
I arrived quite late and was met with a completely different venue and atmosphere from what I’m used to (most notably Sinners the night before, and the accompanying mass of stumbling-drunk sports teams which we’re all overly familiar with).
Venue 1 had been transformed into a much smaller space with an additional bar facing the stage, which was already teasingly set up for the live band later on. I was early enough to catch the crowd in full swing as the DJ played a mix of upbeat rock’n’roll, soul and even remixes of more current songs.
When the band started their set just before midnight, the crowd were more than pleased to cheer them up and get a chance to dance to the much more authentic sounds of the Shiverin’ Sheiks. Even if you lacked in knowledge of rock’n’roll and doo wop, (as I certainly did), it didn’t stop you from enjoying their hour long set and mixing up your usual dance moves with a more nostalgic flavour.
Now, I doubt everyone in St Andrews has had training in swing dancing, but for those of us who haven’t (and didn’t have time for a hurried YouTube tutorial before downing the last of their predrinks), the prospect of a night of old school 50’s dancing can be a daunting one. I mean, when was the last time you danced alone with someone (in the Union of all places) and didn’t end up grinding into each other? But what would seem a concern turned out to be totally unfounded for everyone there, as despite your level of hand-eye-leg-coordination, everyone well and truly threw themselves into it and enjoyed doing so.
The more experienced couples took to the edges of the crowd so as properly show off their polished jive moves, while the rest of us were more than happy to grab a friend’s hand and just go for it. The two huge screens on either side of the stage showing vintage clips of dancing couples certainly helped for inspiration and I even managed to pull off a few of the flashier moves – impressively kicking only one person in the process.
It was great to see everyone dress up for an event, as bar the hundreds of balls we end up attending in standard black tie, usually no-one really bothers with themed nights out. But it must have been too good of an opportunity to miss, as the girls rocked a variety of 50s dresses, skater skirts and Pink Ladies-esque headscarves. The gents went for it too – classy dress shirts and brogues were in abundance, as well as the more daring dressers donning a set of Don Draper-worthy braces.
When the DJ took over the stage for the final hour, most of the crowd carried on enthusiastically despite a fair few tired-looking students dragging themselves over to the bar for a break. The DJ’s second set featured an eclectic mix of vintage records recognisable from cereal adverts as well as blues-y remixes of newer artists like the Prodigy and even Kanye West.
As the night drew to a close (and I finally gave into my aching feet), I felt like I’d well and truly satisfied the never-ending search for ‘different’ night out in St Andrews that doesn’t end up in the Lizard (or Empire) at 2 am.
In their own words, ‘stay safe’ Itchy Feet. And definitely come visit again.