Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Gig Review: Till The Fest Day Two 9/10/21

Day two of Till The Fest (read day one here) started with a 5-a-side football tournament organised by Giles Bidder. I won’t talk too much about the highs and lows of the tournament but I will say my team, Atheltico Shit Show, battled bravely to a third place finish with Be Sharp’s Paul Smith finishing as our top scorer and Harsh Buzz’s Adam “sixpence” Dray as the assist machine.

After the football tournament finished we hurried up to The Amersham Arms to catch Our Lives In Cinema. Because of the timing of the football I was unsure whether or not I’d have time to catch OLIC, this made me sad as they’re a great band and their lead singer Mark Bartlett is the biggest sweetheart in punk rock. I haven’t seen Our Lives In Cinema since they kindly opened Do It Together Fest in January 2020 (that was potentially the last time they played?) and I was keen to have another sing song with them. This was also their first show with Mike from Müg on drums, a fantastic addition to the band. The band opened their set with the amazing It’s Always Sunny In Patterson Park and I was immediately loving the set. The set was made up of tracks from their two exceptional EPs. They may have also played a brand new song but I could have potentially made that up? It was a joyful start and set up what was going to be a lovely day brilliantly.

After OLIC finished their set, I rushed back to the Air BnB to get showered properly after football. There was no way I wanted to spend another eight or so hours in my sticky football gear so off I went. Definitely the first time I’ve showered between sets at a festival!

I made it back to Amersham with plenty of time to spare for what was one of my most anticipated sets of the entire weekend – the return of Triple Sundae. I was actually back in plenty of time as the band were only just getting ready to set up when I got back to Amersham. It was nice to have more time to catch up with folk we’ve not seen for ages! Soon enough, after drummer Zandro had sorted out some drum stool issues, the band were ready to go. The band had only had one practice prior to the gig and had a stand in bass player in the form of Connor from SKIV so you could forgive the band if they were a bit rusty. Instead they played what was potentially the best Triple Sundae set I’ve ever seen. From the opening of Fabricated to the end of Indecisive it was all big, passionate and emotional sing-alongs. They took us back to 2014 with a rare play of Unseen from The Brainfreeze EP which included New Cross regular Theo jumping on stage to sing with the band. Other highlights included the huge singalongs for Everything’s Cool and Dazed and just seeing the smiles on the band members’ faces throughout. You could see there was a feeling of “this is why we do this” whilst the band played their set. Triple Sundae were due to have a massive year in 2020 only for the pandemic to cruelly ruin all of their plans but on this evidence they seem to have a new wind in their sails, ready to go bigger than ever before. It’s something they really deserve; the folk of London have known for years just what an amazing band they are and it’s time for the rest of the UK and beyond to find this out as well. I can’t wait to see them get back on stage again with their friends in Burnt Tapes on November 13th at the Old Blue Last. See you all there.

When I originally worked out my schedule for Till The Fest I had planned to see Transit Plan next but unfortunately they had to pull out of the festival. Instead of seeing another band we decided to take the opportunity to grab some dinner at Radio Delicious which is a pizza place just across the road from New Cross Inn. The pizza was delicious and gave us a great opportunity to hang out with some friends in a quieter location. Great pizza, great friends, great times.

After our pizzas, we made our way down to Matchstick Piehouse for the first time today to see Party Boss. Party Boss are a three piece from London who had spent the week on tour with Dutch punks Sweet Empire. We arrived at the venue a little while after the band had started playing and it was great to see an enthusiastic crowd had gathered for them. Kyle of Resuscitators was having a particularly good time dancing around in front of the band. The set up in the Piehouse had the band on the floor, which gave the venue a fantastic DIY punk feeling that worked so well for Till The Fest. I imagine Ollie has promoted many floor shows over the years so it seemed very fitting. Despite only being a three piece I was very impressed with the band’s stage presence, they had me captivated throughout. I think the only time I looked away from the band was to tell John Allen of Disconnect Disconnect Records (who released the Party Boss single) how good I thought they were. So far Party Boss have only released two songs, both are melodic punk bangers that are crying out to be shouted along too. This was the theme of the entire set and they got me so excited to hear more from the band.

After Party Boss finished their set, we left the Piehouse to make our way to the New Cross Inn to see Redeemon. On our way there I had a message from the beautiful Matt Speer of Ear Nutrition fame telling me that unfortunately they were stuck in traffic and wouldn’t be able to make the show. Disappointing news but it did mean we would be able to see all of Sweet Empire who were the next band at Piehouse. It was great to see Sweet Empire back in the UK. There’s an amazing amount of great bands in Europe and since the morons of the UK decided to vote to leave the EU, there’s been a real concern on whether they could come over here for shows. Sweet Empire found a way though and played a brilliant set. The Dutch four piece play a unique brand of melodic skate punk and always impress when I’ve seen them live. A big crowd squeezed into the Piehouse to see them. It seems that Sweet Empire have made a lot of great friends in the UK who were all very pleased to be able to see them live again. One of my highlights of the weekend for sure.

Next for us was Drones at the NXI. I have to be honest and say that Drones aren’t a band I often listen to at home but whenever I see them live I’m always extremely impressed. The band were in the middle of a UK tour so they were really on form. A decent sized crowd had gathered at the New Cross Inn for Drones who were already tearing the roof of the venue. Drones are one of those bands that always seem to kill it live, playing with so much passion and energy. Each member of the band is extremely watchable on stage, it doesn’t seem to be one person doing the bulk of the performance work (if that makes sense?). During the last year the band released their latest album, Our Hell Is Right Here, on Lockjaw Records and it was great to hear some of these songs live. During the set I popped down to the downstairs bar, when I returned I noticed the crowd had split down the middle and singer Lois was perched on top of the bar singing Rorschach from the Exiled album. Drones have earned themselves a reputation for being one of the best live punk bands in the UK at the moment and it’s clear to see why on this evidence.

Soon it was time for Call Me Malcolm to once again take to the NXI stage. We were fortunate enough to be able to attend the band’s album launch show a few weeks earlier but were just as keen to see the band again. This was also a great chance for a lot of the people from out of town to see Malcolm play at their home venue. If you’re a regular reader of CPRW you will know that Malcolm did not disappoint. As you might expect, the set was packed with songs from their newest album, Me, Myself & Something Else, as well as some favourites from I Was Broken When I Got Here. As soon as the band kicked off the capacity New Cross Inn crowd really lost it. I don’t think there was a stationary body in the room. Lucias and Mark’s dual vocals were on top, top form and every word was lovingly sung straight back at the band. When I reviewed Me, Myself & Something Else last year I commented on how Mark seems to have taken extra vocal responsibility, and this has enhanced the Call Me Malcolm live experience even more. It was already a pretty special thing but now, wowzas! The way the crowd reacted and the way the band played, you could’ve been forgiven for thinking this was a headline slot but there was in-fact another band to go. Call Me Malcolm are gigging all over the place for the rest of the year, make sure you go and see them ASAP.

I think you have to be one hell of a live band to follow Call Me Malcolm and still keep the energy in the room high. That was the task for UK ska punk legends Sonic Boom Six. Amazingly the band were making their very first appearance at the New Cross Inn. This was also the band’s first live appearance in two years. Any worry I might have had about the band keeping the energy up after Malcolm was soon forgotten as soon as the band started Bigger Than Punk Rock and the crowd, especially some die hard Boom fans down the front, began to move. I did feel like Laila’s vocals were a bit quiet but that was most probably down to where we were stood at the side of the stage. SB6 were showing exactly why they’re so highly thought of in the UK scene, bringing out big tune after big tune. It’s easy to forget just how many great songs the band have written throughout their career. From old favourites such as Sound Of A Revolution and All In to newer tracks like No Man, No Right and My Philosophy to everything in between. It was nice for the band to bust out Sunny Side Of The Street, I joked with a friend that it was because they hadn’t played a show for two years and needed a breather. It was awesome to hear that track live again. Another highlight was For The Kids Of The Multi-culture, a song that is still so relevant despite being released nearly a decade ago. Barney Boom added an extra, updated verse to the song which was a nice touch. The band then finished with Piggy In The Middle followed by a special surprise cover of Operation Ivy’s Sound System. A great way to finish the day…or was it the end?

Triple Sundae’s Hassan would be performing a special after party set as Lounar down in the NXI basement. A small and hardy crowd gathered to watch Lounar perform their hip hop songs, assisted by Till The Wheels Ollie on the decks/laptop. I know that earlier in the day Hassan wasn’t really feeling doing the set so late as he was tired but was convinced to do it anyway and I’m glad he did. This was such a nice, chilled way to finish what was an exhausting day surrounded by friends watching one of the most talented people I know perform his second set of the day. If you haven’t yet, check out Lounar’s debut EP, Daye3, here. All proceeds go to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

This was another brilliant day at Till The Fest, I was starting to feel broken but was also really excited for the third and final day. Also known as Lightyear day!

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

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