Thursday, 31 January 2019

Gig Review: ALD Life Fundraiser at New Cross Inn, London 25/01/19

On Friday the 25th of January, French promoters May Bee Massive took over the New Cross Inn in South London for an eclectic night of punk rock in aid of the ALD Life charity. Check out more on the charity here. A five band line-up featuring skate, ska, acoustic, folk and pop punk was ready to take to the stage for what proved to be a very entertaining night.

First up, kind of surprisingly, were London's Our Lives In Cinema. The five piece were playing their first show with a new drummer and decided to go on first to lower the pressure. OLIC absolutely smashed their set! If you were unaware of the line-up change you would have been none the wiser as they tore through songs from both of their superb EPs. Lead singer Mark Bartlett is always a joy to watch on stage as he lets the music take control of him and displays one of the best voices in the London DIY punk scene. We were also very impressed with the band's new (since the last time we saw OLIC) bass player. He had a great stage presence and did a great job contributing to the harmonies. We love Our Lives In Cinema – if you're yet to check them out then I seriously suggest you do so soon.

Up next were a very new band on the block, playing what I think was only their third ever gig, however if you're a regular at New Cross Inn gigs then you've probably seen these guys around. Bald Head And The Dreads describe themselves as "crowdbois who want to be stagebois" and as "attempted ska punk/Paul Smith-core." Whatever they are, they put on a fun show with songs about Be Sharp Promotions, when your drug dealer is late and quitting your job/getting a dog. The latter sounds like a great idea to me! There was a fun moment during the Be Sharp Bop where another of the bands playing, Boom Boom Racoon, and some of their pals sat in a line on the floor and started crowd surfing each other from front to back. Something I've never seen before. This was actually a really fun set and had me wondering why these chaps have never started a band together before. I'm looking forward to seeing them again on 24th February at NXI for a benefit for Mind. Check the event here.

Up next was acoustic singer-songwriter Doozer McDooze. This set was a revelation. I was kind of curious as to how an acoustic artist would fare after a couple of rousing full band sets but Mr McDooze is clearly a seasoned performer and had the New Cross crowd in the palm of his hand immediately. Armed with a bunch of rousing songs tackling subjects such as politics, living life to the fullest and not liking the internet, I don't think there was a soul in NXI who didn't love this set. The set was full of sing-alongs, synchronised dancing, a sit down and, at one point, a mosh pit. He mentioned during his set that he doesn't often get a chance to play with London punk bands, hopefully he gets to play with more again soon. Doozer McDooze was great fun!

The penultimate act of the night were Bristol's Boom Boom Racoon. We'd previously had the chance to see Boom Boom Racoon back at Level Up Festival last year and were looking forward to seeing their unique take on acoustic ska folk music again. Back at Level Up they performed as a three piece with Ivo on acoustic bass, Sarah on acoustic guitar and Rosie on trumpet but tonight the line-up included a spoon player, who I didn't catch the name of, and a special appearance from former And The Wasters accordion player, who would be playing clarinet on a couple of songs. At the start of the set, Ivo announced the set's running order would be decided by using a paper fortune teller – you know, one of those paper things that you fold up fancy and spell out the options until you get the song. What a set this was! Playing with an infectious energy, you couldn't help but be mesmerised by what was happening on the stage. Boom Boom Racoon are a lively bunch, clearly having a lot of fun on stage, this quickly transferred into the crowd who responded with some enthusiastic dancing. Playing songs from their debut album, Now That's What I Call Boom Volume 1, they were so loved. The obvious highlight was their re-working of the Vengaboys classic Boom Boom Boom Boom but the whole set was just lovely.

Last up were Dubai's Fat Randall. Unfortunately the night was overrunning so we only got to see five of Fat Randall's songs before having to leave to catch the train home. I have to say that I was really impressed with Fat Randall's fast pop punk style however. They played fast and catchy songs that had me thinking of the 90s and really wishing I'd given the band a proper listen so I could have a sing-along. Hopefully these three chaps find themselves back in London again soon!

This was one of those nights where I didn't really know what to expect but ended up having a lot of fun. Sometimes you need to take a chance of these types of shows. You'll probably end up leaving with a smile on your face!

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

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