It was time for the second day of Level Up Fetival 2017. This would be the first full day of the festival with bands starting at 2.30pm and the addition of a second stage down in the New Cross Inn's basement. Emma and I arrived nice and early, prepared for what would be a fantastic day.
The day was started by London based ska punks Lead Shot Hazard. I first saw Lead Shot Hazard back in 2013 at Urban Bar in Whitechapel. The band have had a line-up shuffle since then and now seem to be at their very best. The horn driven ska punk is the perfect way to get the day started and the big crowd that gathered early are suitably entertained by the band. Lead Shot Hazard feature two lead vocalists and that, plus the addition of the horn player's vocals, creates some fantastic harmonies. As is the way with ska punk, of course a cover song was thrown into the Lead Shot Hazard Set with the band playing Big Yellow Taxi, orignally by Joni Mitchell and also famously covered by Counting Crows.
The first act to appear in the basement on Saturday was a chap called Dan Kemp. I didn’t know who he was, although he looked vaguely familiar, but it wasn’t long before he mentioned his band, [formally, Will Tun] And The Wasters – who we have listened to and seen live before. Dan’s songs were not in the least bit ska punk, instead they were very reminiscent of traditional English folk music, but that was no bad thing. His set consisted of a couple of original tracks, a Wasters song, a traditional English song and a French song – quite the variety and thoroughly enjoyable too. I'd happily go and see him play again.
Following a quick food break we arrived back at New Cross Inn as China Shop Bull were just beginning their set. They focussed more on a hip-hop/ska sound rather than the punk style, that the majority of the bands were playing this weekend, the crowd started small but quickly grew. It was great to see recent tour buddies The Dancing Morons at the front of the crowd singing along with the band, it always pleases me when I see camaraderie between bands. The China Shop Bull set was heavy on political tracks as the band tackled subjects such as immigration and the NHS. Sticking with the rule of ska bands covering a song, China Shop Bull went with a fantastic version of Holiday In Cambodia by the Dead Kennedys. China Shop Bull were a band I've known about for a while but hadn't ever seen - well worth the wait.
This gig review was written by Colin Clark and Emma Prew.