You may have heard that this year Be Sharp Promotions are celebrating their tenth anniversary. Throughout the year Paul and Mike are going all out, putting on some of the best shows at the New Cross Inn. The first show in this celebratory year happened to coincide with Paul's birthday so there was double the reason to celebrate! An all dayer being held on Saturday the 2nd of February was headlined by Dublin's finest Chewing On Tinfoil, a band that have formed a close working relationship with Be Sharp over the years. The day was looking stacked and we were excited.
The day was kicked off with pop punks The Half Strikes. Armed with some superb guitar playing and a fantastic three-part harmony, this was a great way to start the day. With the bright sun shining into the venue, listening to these catchy and up-tempo tracks immediately put a smile on my face. I'd previously caught The Half Strikes last year where they played an excellent cover of Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American. This time they busted out a brilliant version of Weezer's Buddy Holly. If you want to find your new favourite pop punk band then you should look no further than The Half Strikes.
Up next were Kent's Skiv. Despite being unwell, guitarist Liam powered through the set, sitting on a stool whilst bassist Conor took his vocal duties. Skiv are one of the most hotly tipped new bands in the London scene and on the evidence of this performance it's clear to see why. Frontman Jordan continually shows why his bands are always so loved with his impressive vocals and great lyrics. What I love most about Skiv is that I don't really know what genre of punk rock they really fall into. They seem to have taken the styles of melodic, skate, pop and gruff punk and poured them into a blender and come up with Skiv. So far they've only released two tracks, Wasteman and Gumdrop Candy Mountain, which the band finished their set with. I'm really looking forward to the release of their debut EP/album, whenever that may be. Skiv are back at the New Cross Inn on Sunday 24th of February for a benefit gig for Mind. Come down.
Peckham's Love Songs are a Be Sharp favourite discovery of 2018. The four piece play a post hardcore style with some superb and intense gruff vocals. This was my fourth time seeing them and they continue to blow me away. Love Songs have an impressive stage presence that really captivates the audience. I'm really looking forward to the four piece getting some more music out so I can really fully embrace these songs and have a good sing-along. These guys have so much promise and are going to be huge.
It couldn't be a Paul birthday bash without his favourite band ever playing – 3dbs Down. Combining crunchy pop punk with some ska riffs, this long running four piece were an extremely popular edition to the day's line up. We unfortunately missed the start of their set as we popped out to get some dinner – if you're at a New Cross gig, we seriously recommend Beirut Canteen for a delicious falafel and halloumi wrap. As we made it back to the New Cross Inn 3dbs Down were in full swing and had a big and enthusiastic crowd watching them and singing along. Like The Half Strikes earlier (who 3dbs Down share a member with), the band used a wonderful three part harmony that really added a huge amount to each song. Harmonies done well can seem like an added instrument and that is definitely the case with 3dbs Down. Hopefully they'll be back at the New Cross Inn again soon!
I've been fortunate enough to see Triple Sundae a lot over the past year and I'm beginning to run out of superlatives to describe them. These chaps are big favourites in the New Cross scene and put on a great performance each and every time they take to the stage. A lot can be said of the fact that they always put a lot into their set and don't grow complacent despite being regulars in this scene. The set was a mix of songs from last year's Peace Of Mind EP and some material from a new release planned for later this year. 2019 is already looking big for Triple Sundae with appearances at Washed Out Festival in Brighton and Bristol's Booze Cruise announced. I can see more and more people jumping on board with them, getting down the front and singing loudly to this melodic pop punk.
Crack-rocksteady legends The Foamers took to the stage next. These guys were a big part of the UK punk explosion in the early 2000s and it is always an absolute pleasure to see them. Like 3dbs Down, they don't play that often anymore but when they do they have a dedicated and loyal fanbase come out to see them. Playing at a blistering speed, it's not long until the band have the audience into a frenzy with equal parts skanking and moshing. That's the great thing about the bands from The Foamers era of punk rock, people grew up on these bands and still adore them. They hold a special place in our hearts and it's always special when they get together for shows. Long may it continue.
The penultimate (kind of) act of the evening were Kent's Spoilers. One of the current scene's most beloved acts who always play to an enthusiastic crowd at the New Cross Inn. By this point the crowd were well and truly fuelled up on the merry juice and were very much up for a dance. Spoilers played a set largely consisting songs from last year's excellent Roundabouts record. These songs have now had plenty of time to work their way into the minds of the crowd which meant there was plenty of big sing-along moments. A band with a heart of gold that's also always up for a little bit of mischief, leading the crowd in singing happy birthday to Paul and then encouraging us to crowd surf him out of the New Cross Inn. The set was finished up with the always emotional Punks Don't Die and then Roundabouts. Spoilers were a great band to finally finish getting the crowd ready for Chewing On Tinfoil.
Whenever Chewing On Tinfoil are in town it's a very big deal. The band are loved everywhere and sadly aren't able to play as many shows as I'm sure we all would love. That said whenever they do play it feels all the more special and makes them unmissable. People had come from far and wide to see the band at the New Cross Inn, including Jason from El Topo Bookings who came all the way from Belgium especially for the gig. A huge crowd was now gathered and the anticipation was extremely high. Expecting a passionate and raucous crowd, we opted for a good spot around the side of the stage. This was a good decision as not only could we see the band do their thing but we could see the pandemonium in the crowd. Starting out with the crowd-pleasing Fuck Team Sports, the whole room immediately joined the band in one of the biggest sing-alongs I've ever heard at New Cross. This continued throughout the entire hour long set as the band played favourites such as Just Like Me, Forty Shades Of Grey, Let Me Let You Down, Sons & Mothers, Charlene, One Good Shirt and, the set closer, Holy Communion. As I looked towards the crowd, the passion and emotion that I could see on the faces of the people squashed down at the front was something extremely special. There were crowd surfers a plenty during the set including a couple of first timers that the band encouraged the crowd to look after. This was one of those performances that leave you completely spellbound. This band means so much to so many people and it was a complete pleasure to be in that room, seeing them play an incredible set with so many friends around us. What a band Chewing On Tinfoil are!
The party didn't stop after Chewy finished their set though! Be Sharp had organised an after party with punk rock cover band taking to the stage, The Aversions. For us hardcore souls who lasted the night, this was one last chance to have a great big sing-along to some of our favourite songs from the 90s as well as a recent cover of a cover. My highlight was the performance of Lagwagon's May 16 which I had a great time singing and dancing to down the front with Jason and our buddy C-Rage. Other songs included Time Bomb, Let Them Eat War, Superman, No Cigar and the Mad Caddies cover of Green Day's She. Sadly we weren't able to stay right until the end because of trains and stuff but we had a great time and I hope The Aversions get booked at the New Cross Inn again.
What a day this was. A great way to begin Be Sharp's tenth anniversary year as well as celebrating Paul's birthday.
This review was written by Colin Clark. Photos by Emma Prew.