ONE NIGHT STAND – CHEAP PICASSO & EYEMEN THE ZOO
Cheap Picasso take inspiration from an 80s divided by glamour and glumness. On the one hand, you have the idealised iconography of blue pastel jackets, paraffin cologne, Soul-Glo hairspray and Dan Akroyd, and on the other, greyscale Scargill bashing, vertiginous social inequality and Margaret fucking Thatcher.
An entire Atlantic Ocean separates these two sketches of that period, yet it’s clear that Cheap Picasso have brought them together via a few common denominators: disco, house and synth music. Music that does a jig on the deck of the speedboat, but remains moored in the misery of Reaganomics. Playing a mixture of classic italo and boogie music allied with contemporary house and disco indebted to its analogue forebearers, Cheap Picasso’s hands-in-the-air approach is a popular one, though it comes at considerable cost: last year, they were billed £3,018 for ceiling damage.
Dance music’s capacity for renewal means that the Pointer Sisters and the Human League remain as relevant today as they were 30 years ago; the tension between the coke-drenched Miami harbour inhabited by all the bastard sons of Burt Reynolds’ penis and the darker, heroin stained tuxedo chic of the Human League and Duran Duran is what makes the decade, and its many offshoots, so exciting.
Having played alongside DJs and producers whose curation of timeless house and disco affirms Cheap Picasso’s ethos – Aeroplane, The Magician, Retro/Grade, Villa, Lee Foss, Riton, Spencer Parker, Crazy P and 6th Borough Project, to name a few – the duo have set their sights upon uncharted waters, opening a brand new house night called Gasoline Dance Machine, on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, where revellers fill their breeks with everything from Darryl Pandy to Donna Summers; songs etched with traces of the glitz and the grit of such a seminal decade for dance music.