Independent promotions team Double Denim Live brings brand new inner-city multi-venue festival Kazoopa to life. The whole day clearly represents the best talent in up and coming music. The clear ethos of the festival is purely centred on a DIY ethic. Organisers Mick Dolman and Chantel Littlewood deserve a massive pat on the back for effort, as their team have clearly worked tirelessly on making Kazoopa a success.
The day begins in main venue Headrow House, with openers Faux Pas. “Our car broke down this morning; you can at least move forward in sympathy,” remarks the bassist, gaining a cautious titter from the early-bird crowd. The four-piece play with heart and determination, making every note count to say it’s only the first set of the day.
Then it’s a trek across town to Oporto, a quaint little bar/restaurant with a side room for the live music separated by a red velvet curtain, for Leeds based indie band Sunspots. It’s immediately evident that the band are extremely talented musicians, with the top gear to match. The lead vocals really stand out, and the synthesizers are a lovely addition. A bit of crowd interaction would’ve made the set a little more engaging, but nevertheless a treat for the ears.
Immediately after, on come Paves. From the second they walk onstage, it’s evident that they’re very different. Frontman Luke Shield dons a James Bay-esque hat, but this observation is no indication to the band’s sound. “I hope it’s not too loud,” Shield grins, before launching the band into a raw number which could easily be mistaken for Kasabian in their ‘Fire’ era. Each member has fantastic stage presence, and they play like their lives depend on it. Pure, raw energy which is so refreshing from an up and coming band. They’re ones to look out for in future.
Then it was a trip to Milo Bar, and up a rather narrow flight of stairs to find Sly Antics in an almost attic like setting. These lads are an absolute stand out set of the day. The three skilled musicians, hailing from Manchester, are totally awe inspiring, and commit to every single second of the set. A highlight is a cover of Kanye West’s classic N**gas in Paris, which drags knowing smiles from the small but fully appreciative crowd. A speaker blows out during their last song; even the equipment can’t handle the massive force of Sly Antics. A triumph of a set.
False Heads are at Santiagos and it’s possibly the weirdest venue you could ever encounter. The walls are adorned with fake palm trees, and from the ceiling hangs the tackiest plastic chandelier you could picture. The London-based alt rock outfit have the biggest crowd of the day so far and they certainly make the most of it. They’re unassumingly brilliant and throw themselves around the stage like their lives depend on it. The microphone levels aren’t great so it’s hard to hear any of what they’re saying between songs, but the music certainly did the talking instead.
It’s back to Headrow House for the last two acts of the night; Kassassin Street from Southsea, and indie-pop headliners Young Kato from Cheltenham. Kassassin Street are certainly unique, very different from any of the other bands seen throughout the festival. Their sound is very dance influenced, but it certainly goes down well, as a medium sized crowd gathers right at the front of the stage and moves along with the beat dutifully. To say the band aren’t local, they have clearly built up a relative following as they fetch in a larger crowd than the headliners.
Young Kato have a lovely, relaxed vibe, which is quite refreshing as festivals bills are usually topped by the loudest bands that can possibly be booked. The 6-piece indie-pop outfit are fantastically well rehearsed, barely having to even look at each to figure out what’s going on. Frontman Tommy Wright is a man of few words, but comes alive when he performs; his gaze is intense as he takes in the crowd’s reaction, with writhing dance moves and expressive arm movements to match.
Overall, there wasn’t a single act that had a bad performance at this festival. Countless attendees sang praises of the amount of work and effort that had been put in by the organisers throughout the day, especially for their effort to display up and coming bands and give them a platform. With this first year being such a huge success, we await the line-up of Kazoopa Festival 2017 expectantly.