I finally got around to visiting Passing Clouds a few weeks back. It’s in an unmarked warehouse beside the train tracks just off Kingsland Road, and we stumbled along in the dark for a little while until the helpful doorman called out Passing Clouds? to us.
Inside, it’s more like a house party at a shared house, with knickknacks and mismatched chairs, and a bar serving drinks in plastic cups. The band came on at about 11, but I have no idea what they were called. They were good, though. Particularly good was the shy saxophonist (pictured here in the green t-shirt), who kept his eyes firmly on his feet when he wasn’t playing. When their set finished, and each musician was introduced by name, followed by applause, it became apparent that I wasn’t the only person to have noticed him. The screams of applause that followed his name being announced were very enthusiastic and of a noticeably higher pitch. He responded to this female adulation by sinking to his knees briefly, as if overwhelmed, before giving a gallant bow. Happily, when we left soon afterwards he’d recovered from his mild stage fright and was surrounded by ladies and clearly enjoying himself. He’ll go far.
Passing Clouds has all kinds of music on, with people of all ages turning up to join in the house party atmosphere. The staff are friendly, too, and it’s more than just a bar, with ceramics classes, screenprinting workshops and film screenings. A couple of weeks ago I even saw Spirit there, the shopkeeper who lost his shop on Broadway Market to much controversy.