Photo by Dong Liu
Just around the corner of Hackney Central, one can catch a quirky boutique with bright-coloured dresses displayed in its window. The black and white shop sign above reads ‘Paper Dress Vintage’. You can easily recognise that it is an ideal spot for vintage dress lovers, a place where one can find unique clothing from the 50’s all the way to the 80’s. What is perhaps less expected, though, is the boutique’s vibrant ambience as the night falls. Behind the racks, one can find an open-air space where visitors can sit down and chat over a drink. Any curious watchers would soon realise that this boutique is about to turn into a trendy bar.
Self-described as a ‘shop by day and bar by night,’ Paper Dress Vintage is spread over two levels with an intimate live music room upstairs. We visited the venue on the 4th of May to see a three-set show presented by event organisers Gotobeat. As we stepped up to the second floor, the stage was illuminated with purple, pink, and red lights—just the dreamy atmosphere that we had pictured. The lineup was just fantastic on that Wednesday night: Gecko Club, Hector Gachan, and the show’s headline, RALPH TV. It was definitely one of those treasured occasions where one is just as excited to see the headline as the supporting artists.
Gecko Club, a London-based quartet, opened up the stage with some unique indie grooves. Their energetic performance, highlighted by the flavourful guitar licks, was surely a treat to those who arrived early to the show. Hector Gachan, who had recently moved to Edinburgh, gave his first London appearance that night. The Bosnian-Australian musician, whose songs were both in English and Bosnian, released his debut album, Untitled ’91, in 2017 under the French indie label Nice Guys Records. While the audience could not fully understand the lyrics, the diverse and personal experiences embedded in his songs were truly felt by his emotional delivery.
The headliners of the night, RALPH TV, are an indie pop quartet from Brighton who are also under the Nice Guys Records label. The band consists of Ben Brown on guitar and synths, Will Osborne on bass, Isaac Vosper on drums, and Luke Vosper on guitar; all four of them contribute their vocals. Their music has both the ethereal touches from synths and the laidback beats from drums, rendering the purple-red room particularly dreamy. They began the performance with one of their newer singles, ‘4 U’, whose chorus you can’t help but gravitate to, as it sings, ‘I've been trippin' and stumbling around for you / Spending my time here losing my mind for you’. While the song itself radiated an animated energy, the vocals were relaxed and gave it a feeling of comfort. The band later performed a few songs from their debut album, Cabin Fever Dreams, which was released back in 2020. Just as the title suggests, the songs are built up on feverish synths and funked-up bass. It was just as enjoyable an experience dancing to the uplifting grooves of ‘Making Movements’ as it was swaying to the airy falsettos and soothing harmonies of ‘Taxi Boy’.
What was clear throughout is that the chosen venue undoubtedly complemented the chilled-out music of the lineup that night. With this in mind, we are excited to see what other gigs Gotobeat will present, and which other interesting venues in London they will choose to present them in.
Check out Gotobeat’s website for more gigs near you. They put on over fifteen live shows a month, all of which you can attend for just £15.99 (paid monthly).
Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor