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Danse Macabre came together in London in October 2007. The band took its own brand of folk-rock, halloween-pop cabaret around various London drinking establishments and beyond, including sets at the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Worcester Music Festival.

Danse Macabre live at the Marie Lloyd Bar, Hackney Empire, 3 June 2009.

* * *

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Danse Macabre - a brief history
The inside story by Steph!

The band first came together in the summer of 2007 when vocalist Ash contacted me with a bizarre yet ingenious plan for world domination. Unfortunately, Brian Blessed's Hawkman costume from Flash Gordon was nowhere to be found on eBay so Ash decided we should start a band instead.

My musical talents are limited to bass and trumpet so I suggested my flatmate Taylor as guitarist and second vocalist; partly to get us both out the flat but mainly because Taylor and I had been trying to start a band together for the past ten years and had only written one song in all that time.

Fortunately, Ash seemed to be made of sterner stuff and Danse Macabre was born.

Danse Macabre MkI: October 2007 to June 2008
~ ASH: Vocals ~ TAYLOR: Vocals, guitar, violin ~ STEPH: Bass, rhythm guitar ~

Ash had recently enjoyed a brief spell fronting rock band Dys4ia. Taylor was already playing violin with folk-punk outfit Helen's Evil Twin but was looking for an opportunity to put her considerable vocal talents to good use.

I'd been in a band called Fletcher's Folly many years ago but the closest I'd got to a stage recently was with Taylor in an amateur musical theatre company. Ash and Taylor both had powerful yet contrasting singing styles and the twin lead vocals is something we tried to make the most of in our music.

Shortly after an early rehearsal in the picturesque surroundings of South Croydon, I suggested the name Danse Macabre for the band. I'd meant for the name to be indicative of a light-hearted look at the gothic which influenced our early direction. Other bands before have had this name but while they could do the 'macabre', only we could do the 'danse' bit too (especially when cheesy disco music was playing, which isn't often in Croydon).

Several months were spent writing and rehearsing a set of original songs and in May 2008 we played our first short gig at Blush, Stoke Newington.

* * *

Danse Macabre MkII: July 2008 to December 2008
~ ASH: Vocals, tambourine ~ TAYLOR: Vocals, guitar, violin ~
~ STEPH: Bass, synthesizer, backing vocals ~ JULIE: Drums ~

We'd decided that Danse Macabre was to have a conventional line up of at least guitar, bass and drums and in the summer of 2008 drummer Julie joined the band. Ash and Julie had played together in Dys4ia and Julie had a lot of experience of hitting things with sticks in many a rock band.

The band's appearance at the inaugural Worcester Music Festival was due to a touch of nepotism (the festival organiser Chris Bennion conveniently being my brother), yet we must have done something right as we were invited back in 2009 (and again in 2010).

It was during this period that our EP, 'The Golden Age of Ballooning', was recorded. As the live shows developed, we started to move towards a more theatrical style of rock, which I called 'folk-rock cabaret' (but which others have called gypsy punk-rock and folk goth!).

* * *

Danse Macabre MkIII: January 2009 to June 2009
~ ASH: Vocals, tambourine ~ TAYLOR: Vocals, guitar, violin ~
~ STEPH: Bass, synthesizer, trumpet, backing vocals, drum machine ~

Danse Macabre MkIII was an odd and strangely unique ensemble. Julie's involvement with Danse Macabre had not lasted and rather than cancel gigs already booked, we continued to perform as a trio, playing some songs in an 'acoustic' fashion and using a simple drum machine on others.

It was my job to turn the machine on and off, as well as play bass and synthesizer, unfortunately sometimes all at once (at which point I would frown a lot).

It was during this time that our more bizarre, darkly comic songs came to the fore, such as the uplifting ballads Killer Squirrels, You Stole My Heart (So I Stole Your Leg) (in which I played trumpet quite badly) and Worcestershire Sauce.

I like to think this marked us out as having a distinct sense of humour, but our audiences may have disagreed. These were interesting times...

* * *

Danse Macabre MkIV: July 2009 to September 2010
~ ASH: Vocals, tambourine ~ TAYLOR: Vocals, guitar, violin ~
~ STEPH: Bass, synthesizer, backing vocals ~ HELEN: Drums, backing vocals, ukulele ~

After being offered a slot on the Rocklands stage at Lewisham's People's Day 2009, we decided it was time to look for a proper drummer.

The vacant drum seat was filled, initially on a temporary basis, by multi-instrumentalist Helen, lead vocalist and guitarist of Helen's Evil Twin, who also just happened to be looking for a new drumming challenge having recently departed company with punk band Candy Panic Attack. Confusingly, Taylor has taken a hiatus from Helen's Evil Twin.

Despite having far too many other musical projects on the go, Helen then joined Danse Macabre full time. She occasionally throws drumsticks at us but I think that is her way of saying she wants more cider.

Our sound evolved into what I called 'Halloween pop', which means the songs sound quite upbeat until you actually listen to the lyrics. With the new line-up now firmly established, we were once again gigging as a proper band.

We also found time to record a radio-friendly version of Worcestershire Sauce (with some of the saucy bits taken out).

* * *

Danse Macabre MkV: October 2010 to March 2011
~ ASH: Vocals, tambourine ~ TAYLOR: Vocals, guitar, violin ~ ROSE: Saxophone ~
~ STEPH: Bass, synthesizer, backing vocals ~ HELEN: Drums, backing vocals ~

We had taken a few months break after the 2010 Worcester Music Festival, when one day Ash was approached by a young lady in a park who was interested in performing sax with us on stage. Her name was Rose and fortunately Ash heard her correctly the first time otherwise all sorts of embarrassing misunderstandings could have transpired. She went away and listened to our music, but despite that was still keen on joining Danse Macabre. (I didn't know we were falling apart! Haha!)

Two rehearsals later, the five of us were on stage at The WayOut Club, playing a set which for the first time included a proper cover (of Abba's Summer Night City).

Early in 2011 it was decided to take advantage of the line-up change to start afresh, especially as we no longer seemed to be the only 'Danse Macabre' in town! Plans were made to relaunch under the new name of Haunted Honeymoon, but regrettably the spark had gone and apart from a couple of rehearsals early in 2011, the band has to date played no more (so we fell apart after all...).

One day, Danse Macabre may return!

Danse Macabre live at Lewisham's People's Day, Catford, 11 July 2009.

Danse Macabre live - Set Lists
 
[35] 6 November 2010
The WayOut Club, Charlie's, 9 Crosswall, Minories, LONDON
Waking the Dead, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Summer Night City*, Big Bad City, Killer Squirrels, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[34] 21 August 2010
Worcester Music Festival, Horn & Trumpet, 12 Angel Street, WORCESTER.
Waking the Dead, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Sleep, Guitar from Hell, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[33] 10 July 2010
Lewisham's People's Day (Rock 'n' Soul Stage), Mountsfield Park, Catford, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[32] 25 June 2010
10 Gales, Arch 10, Gales Gardens, Bethnal Green, LONDON
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Sleep, Golden Age of Ballooning, Killer Squirrels, Worcestershire Sauce, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[31] 1 May 2010
Marr's Bar (Help for Haiti), 12 Pierpoint Street, WORCESTER.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Worcestershire Sauce, Big Bad City, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[30] 26 March 2010
Worcester Arts Workshop (Help for Haiti), 21 Sansome Street, WORCESTER.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Golden Age of Ballooning, Sleep, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[29] 21 March 2010
The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Waiting by the Phone Box, Worcestershire Sauce, Golden Age of Ballooning, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[28] 30 January 2010
2010 Musical Comedy Awards (Heats), Wilmington Arms, 69 Rosebury Avenue, Clerkenwell, LONDON.
Eat Them All, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[27] 28 December 2009
Boozestock, Marr's Bar, 12 Pierpoint Street, WORCESTER.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Waiting by the Phone Box, Big Bad City, Worcestershire Sauce, Forever Christmas, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[26] 17 December 2009
The Globe, 78 Middle Street, BRIGHTON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Worcestershire Sauce, Sleep, You Stole My Heart, Killer Squirrels, Eat Them All, Waiting by the Phone Box, Forever Christmas, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[25] 5 November 2009
The Cross Kings (Giggling Gig), 126 York Way, King's Cross, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Worcestershire Sauce, Sleep, Killer Squirrels, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[24] 6 October 2009
Bar Wotever, Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[23] 26 September 2009
The Miller Bar, 96 Snowsfields Road, Borough, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Sleep, Golden Age of Ballooning, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[22] 29 August 2009
Tommy Flynn's, 55 Camden High Street, Camden, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Sleep, Golden Age of Ballooning, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[21] 22 August 2009
Worcester Music Festival, The Pheasant, 25 New Street, WORCESTER.
Waking the Dead, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, You Stole My Heart, Worcestershire Sauce, Sleep, Golden Age of Ballooning, Killer Squirrels, Eat Them All, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[20] 25 July 2009
Tommy Flynn's, 55 Camden High Street, Camden, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Sleep, Golden Age of Ballooning, Waiting by the Phone Box, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[19] 11 July 2009
Lewisham's People's Day (Rocklands Stage), Mountsfield Park, Catford, LONDON.
Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Big Bad City, Waiting by the Phone Box, Sleep.
* * *
[18] 14 June 2009
The Globe, 78 Middle Street, BRIGHTON.
Big Bad City, Waiting by the Phone Box, Worcestershire Sauce, Golden Age of Ballooning, You Stole My Heart, Killer Squirrels, Eat Them All, Dancing at the Gates of Hell.
* * *
[17] 7 June 2009
The Eden Bar (Outskirts), 116 Sherlock Street, BIRMINGHAM.
Can't remember!
* * *
[16] 3 June 2009
Marie Lloyd Bar, Hackey Empire, 291 Mare Street, Hackney LONDON.
Big Bad City, Worcestershire Sauce, Waiting by the Phone Box, Sleep, You Stole My Heart, Killer Squirrels, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Dancing at the Gates of Hell.
* * *
[15] 24 May 2009
Loom Bar, 5 Clipstone Street, Marylebone, LONDON.
Waking the Dead, Big Bad City, Worcestershire Sauce, Waiting by the Phone Box, Sleep, Golden Age of Ballooning, You Stole My Heart, Killer Squirrels, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Dancing at the Gates of Hell.
* * *
[14] 3 May 2009
The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, LONDON.
Can't remember!
* * *
[13] 26 April 2009
Belushi's Bar, 28 Hammersmith Broadway, Hammersmith, LONDON.
Big Bad City, Waiting by the Phone Box, Golden Age of Ballooning, Sleep, Worcestershire Sauce, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Killer Squirrels.
* * *
[12] 4 March 2009
Bardens Boudoir, 36-44 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, LONDON.
Can't remember!
* * *
[11] 1 March 2009
The Globe, 78 Middle Street, BRIGHTON.
Waiting by the Phone Box, Worcestershire Sauce, Sleep, Sheep and Cows, You Stole My Heart, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Killer Squirrels.
* * *
[10] 8 February 2009
Ye Olde Axe, 69 Hackney Road, Shoreditch, LONDON.
Sleep, Waiting by the Phone Box, Worcestershire Sauce, Golden Age of Ballooning, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Killer Squirrels.
* * *
[9] 10 January 2009
The White Hart, 1 Mile End Road, Whitechapel, LONDON.
Sleep, Waiting by the Phone Box, Golden Age of Ballooning, Killer Squirrels, You Stole My Heart, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[8] 4 January 2009
The Globe, 78 Middle Street, BRIGHTON.
Sleep, Waiting by the Phone Box, Golden Age of Ballooning, Killer Squirrels, You Stole My Heart, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[7] 13 December 2008
Star & Garter, 227 High Street, Bromley, LONDON.
Waking the Dead, Waiting by the Phone Box, Hits the Fan*, Golden Age of Ballooning, You Stole My Heart, Guitar from Hell, Worcestershire Sauce, Dancing at the Gates of Hell, Sleep, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Killer Squirrels.
* * *
[6] 16 October 2008
Dry Bar, 13-17 Long Lane, Barbican, LONDON.
Can't remember!
* * *
[5] 10 October 2008
The Providence, 130 Western Road, BRIGHTON.
Waking the Dead, Waiting by the Phone Box, Golden Age of Ballooning, You Stole My Heart, Sleep, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Killer Squirrels.
* * *
[4] 28 August 2008
The Grosvenor, 17 Sidney Street, Brixton, LONDON.
Waking the Dead, Waiting by the Phone Box, Killer Squirrels, Golden Age of Ballooning, Sleep, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *
[3] 24 August 2008
Worcester Music Festival, Five Ways Hotel, Angel Street, WORCESTER.
Waking the Dead, Waiting by the Phone Box, Killer Squirrels, Golden Age of Ballooning, You Stole My Heart, Sleep, I am the One, Dance of the Dead, Worcestershire Sauce.
* * *
[2] 1 August 2008
The Crown, 174 Richmond Road, Twickenham, LONDON.
Waking the Dead, Waiting by the Phone Box, Hits the Fan*, You Stole My Heart.
* * *
[1] 25 May 2008
Blush, 8 Cazenove Road, Stoke Newington, LONDON.
Waiting by the Phonebox, Sleep, I am the One, Dance of the Dead.
* * *

* Hits the Fan - written by Diana Stone - www.diana-stone.com.
* Summer Night City - written by Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus.


All content (c) Steph Bennion, WyrdStar and Danse Macabre 2007-2017.

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