Ten things to see at the House of Davai
The Russian-themed arena lands at Lovebox and Wilderness this summer. Here are ten reasons to pay the House of Davai a visit
Fri Jul 19 2013
If you’re one of the many intrepid punters at Lovebox (July 19-21) or Wilderness (August 8-11) festivals this year, take a moment during your wanderings to stop and listen. Somewhere in the manic soundscape you might just hear the pulse of a Balkan jam session, or the orchestral climax of an epic performance piece. Those, festivalgoers, are the sounds of the House of Davai.
Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? It is. A new performance tent from Russian Standard Vodka, the House of Davai offers a heady mix of Russian and Western arts, incorporating theatre, cabaret and dance, alongside a musical programme that represents both traditional and contemporary sounds of Russia, as well as beats and treats from the UK underground and beyond.
And as if that lot wasn’t enough, the Davai team are glamming up the whole standing-in-a-field-all-day festival experience, via a team of former Miss Russia contestants – boldly named the Miss Russia Commandos – who will lead beat-hungry Lovebox revellers to the Official Lovebox After Party on Saturday night, also hosted by Russian Standard Vodka, where they can hear a selection of top-notch DJ talent (including Infinity Ink and Maribou State) doing their thing until the early hours.
Helping to re-tingle your festivaled-out senses on this creative journey will be an unruly bunch of avant-gardists. Here's what some of the key artists will be bringing to the House of Davai…
Dark and dramatic twists
This beguiling combination of music, art and performance is at the heart of the House of Davai’s experimental ethos. Noir-ish jazz and orchestral rock are tightly bound with theatrical and emotive performance from singer Wendy Bevan, who tells the story of her Russian femme fatale alter ego. Don’t expect an interval and ice creams here – this is a wild, immersive ride.
Rustic Russian grooves
Gypsy jazz, Balkan beats, swing – these sounds are the audio lifeblood of the House of Davai, and you can hear them all from six-piece band Molotov Jukebox, with a dash of disco and calypso thrown in. And for celebrity spotters/stalkers, Molotov Jukebox have an added charm in the form of Natalia Tena – she of ‘Game of Thrones’ and the Harry Potter films – who fronts the band with fiery vocals and some mean accordion playing.
Jonny Woo and Friends
Risqué, razor-tongued cabaret
The hottest name on London’s alternative drag scene, cabaret artist, comedian and musician Jonny Woo performs with a full band for the first time, including glammed-up cross-dressing pal Batty Lashes and trans rap artist Amner Swallows. The crew’s mix of sassy club tracks, electro and satirist pop should add a serious dose of spice to the House.
Lil’ Tim Dance Collective
B-boys busting out the ballet
Few would deny the pure aesthetic beauty of ballet, but the House of Davai likes to do things a little differently, so they’ve invited acclaimed street dancer Lil’ Tim and some pals along to mix up the worlds of B-boy moves and traditional Russian ballet – a cross-cultural meeting of arts that perfectly captures the bold thinking behind the House of Davai.
DJ Yoda and the Trans-Siberian March Band
A Balkans brass-meets-beefy-beats musical collision
A brilliant hotchpotch of musical weirdness, as cut ‘n’ paste hip hop master DJ Yoda gets busy with a 13-piece Balkan brass band. Your guess is as good as ours as to what it sounds like, but we can’t wait to find out. And if you're not going to Lovebox, you can catch TSMB (without DJ Yoda) at Wilderness too.
After all that energetic Balkan grooving – and a few vodka-based cocktails – you’ll likely need a sit down. But c’mon, you’re at the House of Davai, not House of Fraser – sort yourself out for goodness sake and get involved. If you need to relax a little, let hot-topic London band Portico Quartet calm you with their inviting blend of jazz, soul and funky orchestral dubstep.
Debauched gameshow vibes
Emotive theatre and cutting edge DJs are awesome, for sure, but sometimes you just want to pour a cocktail over your face, scrawl obscenities over your near-naked body in UV paint and scream “HOUSE!” in the face of a stranger. London clubbing faves Rebel Bingo, who host the game much like Keith Richards would have done after a three-day session, can provide, and their stint in the House of Davai promises to be as hedonistic and ridiculously fun as ever.
Daft Punk rediscovery
Tired of hearing Daft Punk’s new album? Gagging to just listen to ‘Discovery’ again? Why not go one step further and watch this six-piece band recreate the whole darn thing, live, with a distinctly funky edge and a ‘stunt guitarist’, apparently. They’ve already done DJ Shadow’s ‘Entroducing’ and Mr Scruff tunes, so they know their stuff.
A Love From Outer Space
A cosmic voyage from Russia to the Moon
Let DJ pros Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston temporarily transport you from Moscow to the moon on a cosmic-disco and space-funk odyssey that will have you floating higher than a Russian space station.
Horse Meat Disco
’70s Manhattan loft party bliss
One thing you won’t ever be doing for long in the House of Davai is standing in the same spot. London groove machines Horse Meat Disco will see to that, not only by playing tunes that are too damn funky not to dance to, but also by sonically whisking you off to the golden party days of New York, through their selection of classic disco, funk and early electro.
Listen to our House of Davai mixtape
Lots of booze, lots of bass and no loudmouth MCs – south London grime MC Novelist gives us the lowdown on how to throw a banging party
Indie rockers The Maccabees tell us how eavesdropping on conversations around London helped inspire album number four
Tom Furse of The Horrors is bewitched by the raw rock ’n’ roll of the original garage band
On her new album Lianne La Havas transforms from a breezy singer-songwriter into a full-blown, homegrown star. We get acquainted with Streatham’s finest
Euan Ferguson marvels at the unearthly sounds made by a band from five minutes down the road