Saturday, 10 November 2018

Gig Review: Fandangle – Fly Away 10 Year Anniversary Show at the New Cross Inn 3/11/18

Whenever Be Sharp Promotions announce an all dayer at the New Cross Inn you know it's going to be a very special day. The trend continued on the third of November as UK ska punk cult heroes Fandangle played a special one off show celebrating the ten year anniversary of their much loved album Fly Away. The day was packed with some of the most promising up and coming pop punk and ska bands, as well as some older favourites and some extra special guests who I will speak more of later.

We arrived at the New Cross Inn nice and early, partly to make sure we were there in time for the opening band Snap Out and partly because it's just nice to hang out with the lovely people who regularly attend Be Sharp gigs. We last saw Snap Out on the second day of Polite Riot festival in the summer. That show was Snap Out's last with their drummer as he was moving to Japan. Now, four months later, they were back at the New Cross Inn for their first show with their new drummer. These guys have clearly been practising as they were tight. I find Snap Out quite hard to describe musically – they play a hybrid of alternative rock and pop and skate punk that works brilliantly. Now they have a new drummer in place, I'm looking forward to seeing them become a regular fixture at the New Cross Inn.

Up next were one of a couple of bands I was hearing for the first time. Hemel Hempstead four piece Saving Sebastian quickly won the surprisingly large for the time of day crowd over with a confident and energetic performance. Clearly influenced by early 2000s pop punk, I imagine these guys were huge fans of Drive Thru Records back in the day. One of many aspects of their performance I enjoyed was the use of two vocalists, whether singing on their own separately or together, it really added to their performance. What was perhaps the funniest moment of the day also happened during their set. During a song about anal (yup) I happened to look outside of the New Cross Inn and saw a lady dancing with her young child completely oblivious to what the song was about.

The only problem with all day gigs is you do at some point have to eat and that tends to involve having to miss a band. It sucks but food is vitally important to make sure you get through the day. On this occasion we decided to miss London pop punks The Famous Class as we'd seen them a couple of months earlier at the Islington Academy. We made it back for the last couple of songs and enjoyed them as ever.

The last pop punk act of the day were Hertfordshire's All These Years. According to their Facebook page, the four piece have been going since 2012 so I was a little surprised I hadn't caught them live before. They played energetic pop punk with the occasional heavy breakdown adding something different to their sound. Much like all of the other pop punk bands previously in the day, they were very well received with the crowd and provided plenty of banter with the audience including dedicating the song Back To The Summer to Paul Be Sharp. All These Years were a fantastic choice to finish the pop punk section of the day with a powerful, energetic and charismatic display. Big hooks and heavy breakdowns – lovely.

Now, as we moved into the second half of the day, it was time for the ska punk to commence and I don't think there is a better band to kick things off than Codename Colin. These guys were finishing up a week long tour with this set at the New Cross Inn and had a nice sized crowd ready to have a skank. This was one of those really special live music moments when you see a band that you know is on the verge of doing something amazing. Everything about these thirty minutes of ska punk was perfect. It was great fun – the whole room was singing and dancing and having the best time imaginable. During the set they played a couple of new songs which has got me extremely excited for Codename Colin's next release. I said to Paul Be Sharp that when that comes out I can see it being next year's (I assume it's going to be out next year) I Was Broken When You Got Here. This band are that good. I also finally go to see them play their cover of Feeder's Just A Day for the first time which was just wonderful. Actual Colin loves Codename Colin.

Leicester's Last Edition had spent the last few nights on tour with Codename Colin and were returning to the New Cross Inn for the first time since infamously breaking the venue back in July at Level Up Festival. Last Edition were one of mine and Emma's favourite acts of the festival and we were both very excited to see them again. It seemed like a lot of people also felt the same as there was a whole line of people ready to have a dance. Last Edition play a poppier version of ska punk that just puts you in the best mood. I was already having a lovely day but for the duration of this set I was positively beaming. Last Edition are clearly a very talented group of people with saxophonist Sam Topley really standing out, with some incredible horn lines. Treating us to a couple of new songs as well as plenty of favourites, Last Edition again put on a show stealing performance.

Up next were West London's Lead Shot Hazard. Lead Shot Hazard have been going for ages now and are New Cross Inn regulars so of course they were very popular with the now quickly swelling crowd. Playing a more serious style of ska punk but still retaining those bouncy horn lines and upstrokes, Lead Shot Hazard showed us why they are so highly thought of in South London. I have to admit to being a bit tired after Codename Colin and Last Edition so decided to I better rest up a bit before the final two bands of the night. I'm saying all the time how many incredible ska punk bands there are in the UK at the moment and I often think Lead Shot Hazard are overlooked when people talk about the best which is a shame because they are, in fact, one of the best.

Okay, more admissions to be made here. When the super secret special guests were announced I actually became more excited to see them than I was Fandangle – and I was extremely excited to see Fandangle. The super secret special guests were a band that changed my life and sent me down the road that I'm now on and they would be playing what has become my favourite place in the entire world (sorry Highwoods Country Park and Selhurst Park). What band am I talking about? …FUCKING [SPUNGE]!!! I can't remember the last time I was so excited to see any band. And I wasn't the only one who was excited as a big crowd squeezed down the front of the stage alongside me. As soon as they started playing Jump On Demand, the crowd erupted to a big skankathon and sing along. The room didn't stop moving for the next forty-five minutes as the long running band powered through so many classics from their back catalogue. Hearing songs like Some Suck Some Rock, Ego, Roots, Skanking Song, No Woman No Cry, Change Of Scene, Centrefold and Kicking Pigeons (which included Lead Shot Hazard and Craig from Fandangle on horns) never ever gets old but hearing them at the New Cross Inn was such a special moment, not just for me but whole the whole New Cross/Be Sharp gang. Also big love to Leo JSN and C-Rage for their incredible dance moves in the pit.

By this point of the evening the gig was running quite late which was a bit of an issue for Emma and I as we had to leave pretty sharp because our journey home to Bedford included a bus replacement from Luton – which was a bit of a pain. Because of this we only got to see about half of Fandangle playing their 2008 album Fly Away. This sucked but I was determined to make the most of it. Fandangle were a much loved part of the UK's ska scene in the early 2000s and, judging from how the crowd reacted as soon as they began playing Once Over, they were also much missed. Obviously, as this was an album show, they worked through Fly Away in order (although they skipped Oliver Twist which I later found out they saved for the end of the set – sad face emoji). Watching the band play you would have never have guessed that they haven't played a show since 2014. They tore through the songs like they've been playing together constantly for the past few years. Fandangle really proved what a good band they were and still are. I also heard they played a new song towards the end of the set and are set to do some recording at some point so hopefully I'll get another opportunity to see them again at some point soon. These guys are still so loved, they surely can't leave it another four years before playing any shows again. Right?

This gig review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.

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