Thursday, 1 December 2016


A review of my day at the first ever Kazoopa Festival.
Initially when I heard about Kazoopa Festival and saw the line-up of the day, I intended to go to allow myself to discover some new bands, catch some which I knew of but had not yet seen live and also catch some bands I had previously had the pleasure of seeing before and very much enjoyed.
This was the first ever Kazoopa Festival which took place last Saturday several of Leeds' finest venues (Headrow House, Verve Bar, Oporto, Santiago and Milo Bar) and it saw over 50 bands from all around the UK come to play in the city.
Put on by Mick Dolman and Chantel Littlewood (Double Denim Live) this festival did exactly what it was intended to do, it gave people one last festival to enjoy before the year is out and it did so by showcasing some of the best up and coming talent in the UK.
I have to say that from what I saw on the day and the feedback I have seen on the event page as well as on the status' of Mick and Chantel following the festival, it is clear I am not alone in thinking that Kazoopa Festival was nothing shot of a success and they should be extremely proud of themselves for the ever so convivial event that they put on.
By the time the day of the festival itself arrived I found myself volunteering at the mainstage which was at Headrow House for the day in which I was 'Artist Liaison' where I found myself awaiting the arrival of the bands playing the mainstage before notifying them of when they could load in and where, giving them wristbands and beer tokens as well as answering any questions they may have had.
Through doing this I was able to see the majority of the bands who were playing the mainstage; Faux Pas, Liberty Ship, JUDAS, Where Fires Are, Hello Operator, The Barmines and a little bit of Young Kato, on top of that I managed to get on down to Verve Bar to see Cabezudos and some of Jack Jones' set - only three of which I had seen live before. So I managed to get exactly what I wanted to out of this festival as well as hopefully managing to provide a little bit of help for Mick & Chantel while they watched all of their immense hardwork pay off.
Line-up poster
The first band of the day that I saw was Faux Pas, a four-piece from York consisting of Reuben Cowl (lead vocalist & rhythm guitarist), Lewis Edgar (lead guitarist), Morgan Lindley (bassist & backing vocalist) and Joey Leyland (drummer & backing vocalist). This quartet formed who formed just last year and who take their inspiration from the likes of The Cribs and Placebo are one which I had not heard of before seeing them on the Kazoopa Festival line-up poster. Being the first band on is something I imagine to be quite a nerve-wracking thing to do nevermind be the first on the mainstage but during the entirety of their performance, the boys of Faux Pas remained perfectly cool, calm and collected. Having no issues interacting with the audience right from the off, the boys were radiating confidence. They know they have something amazing which they are only going to improve upon and are becoming aware that others are starting to realise it too. These boys set the bar very high for the rest of the bands following which is really no surprise due to them having already played Reading and Leeds Festival for BBC Introducing despite them being a rather young band who have only been around for about a year, they certainly were the most solid choice to be the first to bring some animation the crowd of Headrow House.

Liberty Ship were the next band I saw and this four-piece hailing from Sheffield are one which I have wanted to see for a very long time now so am very glad I finally got the chance. Made up of Lewis Hancock (lead vocalist & acoustic guitarist), Jack Eddison (lead guitarist & backing vocalist), James Brown (bassist & backing vocalist) and Kierran Bond (drummer & backing vocals) this Rock 'n' Roll band showed me I was definitely right in wanted to see them live. After listening to their music a considerable amount I can confirm that even though I have only seen them once, they are definitely ones to watch live as you will be left even more impressed than you were by their recorded music (if said music is something you like). They have an extraordinary energy and have themselves seeming a little contradistinctive from other bands due to having a lead vocalist who plays acoustic for the full set, this is rare. I am very much looking forward to seeing Liberty Ship live again when they play The Leadmilll in Sheffield later this month.
A band I saw for the second time when I was at Kazoopa Festival were JUDAS, with a frontman who comes from Liverpool this now Camden based four-piece came rather a long way to grace the Headrow House stage. The first time I saw the band consisting of John Clancy (lead vocalist & guitarist), Todd Blackmore (lead guitarist & backing vocalist), James Phillips (bassist) and Sam Horvath (drummer) was in Sheffield at a different festival and after their set I managed to get in interview with them (you can read it here) during which, Clancy said that in the near future I could hope to see a gig from them which was the best show I've ever seen which is exactly what I saw, they are intoxicating in terms of their live-performance. I have to say that this band are one of the most culminating discoveries I've made this year purely down to their live performance so I cannot help but think that one this matter he was very much correct. This four-piece are truly melodic both in their recorded music as well as their live shows which was definitely shown to people who got to see the band on Saturday (and had before or have since listened to their music). They definitely have an impelling nature when it comes to the audience they to whom they are playing which was shown by the audience listening to John's request of them singing the chorus of 'Love Is The Enemy' to him and following through on it.

From the moment I saw Where Fires Are walk into the room as Headrow House with faces covered in paint, I was instantly fascinated on what kind a performance this quintet would give. The Leeds based five-piece consisting of Robbie Gillespie (vocalist), Ash Reynolds (guitarist), James Clegg (bassist), Nick Banks (keys & synth) and Matt Exton (drummer) immediately took the stage for their own. This was one band which you could tell had the entire room captivated (especially those who, like me, hadn't previously listened to or seen the band live) due to their euphoric sound and easily noticeable charismatic nature which will if you ask me have definitely landed them some new fans. This band were the only band which had keys and synth who's full set I watched and this definitely made a nice change to just hearing guitars and drums no matter how much I love that kind of music.

Hailing from York, Max Dalton (lead vocalist & guitarist), Pete Greenwood (lead guitarist & backing vocalist), Sam Dalton (bassist & backing vocalist) and Eddy Ellison (drummer & backing vocals) make up Hello Operator. With this band being one I've listened to before and have heard many positive things about, I was hoping that their set would be comparable to their recorded music - it is. It was truly electrifying. They know exactly what makes a sensational live performance and they deliver fully. I feel like this band are definitely going to be ones to watch in the upcoming year as they hopefully release more music and do many more explosive live shows.

Made up of Jack Hughes (vocalist), Chris Bolton (guitarist & backing vocalist), Tom Maher (bassist) and Harry Strachan (drummer) Cabezudos were the first band I saw away from the mainstage. Walking down the stairs of Verve Bar there was literally no where to stand other than on the stairs, the boys had drawn in quite the crowd. I have known about this four-piece for a while now having previously reviewed their debut EP when approached by the band back in February but this was the first time I have been able to see them live and I was in complete awe. They were the most rip-roaring band I saw all day. I feel like if I had discovered them at Kazoopa Fest, my feeling of being in awe would have been accentuated even further. They were definitely my band of the day for Kazoopa Fest 2016 and therefore I shall be doing a full piece on their set which shall be up in the next 24 hours - keep an eye out for it.

The Barmines are the Leeds based band who have managed to see three times as of Kazoopa Festival. Made up of Rob Burton (lead vocalist & guitarist), Leam Hayes (guitarist), James May (bassist) and Liam Lockey (drummer & backing vocalist) this bad seem to be one which do not disappoint. I feel this is exactly why people had come out in force to see The Barmines, with a very with a lot of them singing back to the band. Effervescent from the beginning these boys put on a first-class live show for those in the busy venue of Headrow House. 

I have previously seen Trampolene, however, I have never seen the bands frontman play alone. I thought if he had even made it to Kazoopa Festival that I would have missed his set but thanks to Mint frontman Zak Rashid, I went to Verve Bar and managed to catch the end of Jack Jones' set. Just like when I saw Trampolene for the first time I was impressed, his set was a mixture of both his songs and his poems which gave an entirely different feel in comparison to the other sets I had seen that day. What I saw of Jack's set was calming and mellow which was a great way to kind of end the day. Due to him being invited on tour with Pete Doherty just a few days before I did not expect him to be there but there he was fresh from France. After the gig before I said a quick hello, many people came forward to talk to Jack as soon as he came off the stage and he was so courteous to each and every person which was lovely to see considering how worn out and in need of sleep he must have been following the tour so kudos to him for that.

Last off I headed back to Headrow House due to wanting to catch a little bit of Cheltenham-based Young Kato, after taking a wrong turn and getting a little lost I found my way back just in time to hear the song I had hoped to - 'Drink, Dance, Play'. A song I used to love a few years back I am glad I can now say I have seen live. I managed to catch the soundcheck of this band consisting of Tommy Wright (vocalist), Jack Edwards (guitarist), Joe Green (guitarist), Joe Lever (bassist), Harry Steele (keyboardist) and Sam Henderson (drummer) before doors and during that they sounded fantastic, this was only a taster of what I heard throughout the time before I went for my train home. Being able to finally hear that song live produced a kind of spine-tingling feeling as nostalgia filled my body as I was taken back about three years to around when the song came out. This band were a fabulous choice to headline the mainstage at the first ever Kazoopa Festival.

Kazoopa Festival 2017 planning is already underway so keep an eye out of future line-up announcements.

Written by Sophie.

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