You write the reviews: Bandstand, Old Billingsgate, London

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The Independent Culture

A Bandstand event is always a peculiar experience, and this night, which saw Mark Ronson invade the venue of Old Billingsgate on Lower Thames Street, was no exception.

First, try to picture a stylish, multi-functional space swarming with plaster rabbits and flamingo lamps. Then, imagine that, as you ramble through the various rooms, you bump successively into a mouse, the Queen, Alice in Wonderland, a masculine duchess, a bunch of aggressive cards and a rabbit – which insists that it is, in fact, a hare – all of whom are happily partying around raspberry cakes and lemon tea. By then, you might have begun to sense the surreal mood of the evening.

Once you have squeezed through the impressive guest list, and had your picture taken with the rabbit (I'm sorry, the "hare"), you might find yourself playing with giant, foamy dominoes, or even having a fish-phone conversation with one of the King's servants. Try not to be offended if one of them attempts a trumpet solo, a fake instrument in one hand and a plastic peach in the other.

As the clock struck 11pm, everyone moved towards the dance floor, where Ronson, appropriately wearing a black suit and top hat, DJed for nearly two hours. Those not lucky enough to make their way to the pit on time were still able to enjoy the party, gazing through the glass walls from upstairs and eating more cakes.

Around 1am, the action changed settings again. Back in the main room, where fake rabbits and flamingo lamps still overlooked a crowd of historical characters, divers and Greek goddesses, Ronson reappeared, this time accompanied by his full band. Together with guest singers, they delivered a performance of material from his 2007 album, Version.

But the fancy-dress party wasn't over: the brass all wore masks and the violin section charming rabbit ears. The set list included a satisfying collection of songs from Ronson's catchy repertoire and the audience joined in, clapping hands enthusiastically whenever he got to either end of the stage.

"Toxic", "Stop Me", "Just" and "Valerie", pleasantly scattered through the set, stood out as the highlights of the night, and when the lights went out, everyone was more or less exhausted but smiling. Many had set their minds on having one last picture with Alice's rabbits.

Nathalie Michel, student, London

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