Despite it being transparent that many within the The Stag And Hounds are still nursing sore heads following last night’s debauchery, the masses are out in force this early Sunday afternoon for Dangers Of Love (8). Admittedly adhering to the timeless ideology and sensibilities of the pop tinged punk genre, the group provide an utter blitzkrieg of a set with the act documenting tales of love, loss and adolescent revelry. Either way, going from such a turnout this early on a Sunday afternoon, Dangers Are Love are clearly climbing towards great things, achievements they clearly deserve.
Much like Dangers Of Love, The Handsome Scoundrels (7) wear their inspirations on their collective denim sleeves. With more than a few subtle nods to their homeland punk scene, with their take on crust lined pop punk modestly flirting with Orgcore, the Alabama trio demonstrate their masterful take on classic American punk sentiments with both experience and educated prowess. Whilst many bands this weekend are taking their first steps as musicians, hopeful of bigger and more grandiose achievements, it’s clear that Dangers Of Love are more than content with intimacy and inclusivity that a more DIY scene provides.
Much akin to a number of bands from yesterdays festivities, the fantastic Burnt Tapes (8) only smile and dance in the face of hindering technical issues. A dearly loved staple of the DIY punk London scene, it’s not surprising in the slightest to see The Exchange packed to the rafters for this set. Shimmering with energetic dynamism, it’s a performance of emotive and rousing post-hardcore that’s performed with an infective and haplessly charming sunny disposition. It’s clear to se why Burt Tapes are the subject of esteemed praise from those within the capital's DIY scene, with content from their debut long play Never Better being met from engaged smiles from those unacquainted and feverous appraise from those in the know.
Back under the ancient timber of The Stag, fellow London punks Triple Sundae (8) treat the population to three tantalising scoops of sugary pop punk. Brash yet irresistibly indulgent, the collective offer jovial melodic punk in a manner most refreshing. Tracks from their now released Glow EP go down an utter treat, with the masses gathered lapping up every lick and riff offered by the group. From such a turnout and reception, it’s crystal that we’re going to be hearing a lot about this group in the coming months and for great reason.
In a similar fashion, the passion and energy Traverse (8) provide within their debut UK set is simply infectious. However, unlike their peers this weekend, the Parisian punks provide an unprecedented level of sombre reflection within their content. Yet, even with this sombre soberness contrasting with the recklessness that’s synonymous with this lineup, such delightful harmonies that flirt with modern polished punk expressionism are met with critical acclaim. Despite this show being their first ever performance on our shores, Traverse are met with an appraisement and reception that would make most attendees ignorant to their history believe that that’ve been a staple of the national scene for years. A wonderful demonstration of how punk and music as a whole can be an inviting and inclusive universal language.
Despite his backing band being notably absent, the solo Oxygen Thief (9) presents the same intensity and righteous ruthlessness that’s identical with his full band sets. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, a capo and a pair of Adventure Time themed Doc Martins, Barry Dolan takes the notion of singer songwriters being archetypically peaceful and turns it on it’s head. This is 30 minutes of aggressive and intimate acoustic riffing, a brilliant set dedicated to challenging the idiotic bile spewed by those aligning with far right sentiments. Even when stripped back to the very core, content from his last release Confusion Species still sounds incredibly jarring and aggressively stimulating. In fact, it could be suggested that when isolated and stripped to it’s core, the sardonic subject matter is even more poignant and crucial, with Dolan’s skills as a writer and musician shining beautifully within this confined environment. Ending on a juxtaposing but strangely complementary mash up of Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name’ and Elvis’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’, even when stripped to the very basics, Oxygen Thief is still an arresting force to witness live.
If there’s anyone still suffering from lingering hangovers at this point they’ve either been exorcised or exalted to intolerable levels courtesy of Überyou (9). Despite this weekend playing host to a plethora of fantastic energetic talent, this set from the Zurich skate punk dynamos is undoubtedly the most energetic, intimate and riotous performance this weekend. In true vein of the punk genre, there’s no segregation of divide between the band and the artist; just a swarming mass of limbs and bodies joined as one in a rambunctious celebration of the genre being performed at it’s best. With a multitude of punters and band members alike crowd surfing to content from their latest record Night Shifts, it swiftly becomes clearly understandable why this band have been heralded as the next big thing to come out of the genre. A wonderful, turbulent set that just shows how life affirming the DIY punk scene can be when cherished, nurtured and celebrated.
As the festival slowly winds down to a close, it’s clearly been a massive day for Ducking Punches (8). Not only do the Norwich quintet have the honour of closing The Stag And Hounds for the weekend, this is also their second set of the day, with the group having opened for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds just hours ago. Of course, the cobwebbed confines of The Stag are a far cry from the lofty realms inhabited by such music royalty, but this band feel right at home this evening. Emotive and passionate, it’s a journey through the travels and tales the band have experienced over the years, with select choices from Alamort and Dance Before You Sleep tenderly resonating touching levels of emotion this evening. Closing the venue with the youthful insecurity of ‘Smoking Spot’, a track that at least subconsciously relates to everyone in attendance, it’s a wonderful way to close this venue this weekend.
Much like last night’s headliner, there’s at least a subtle contrast between Apologies I Have None (8) and the festival’s respective drunken ideology. With the band renowned for documenting the nightmarish horror of unceasing battles with mental health, there’s no wonder there’s some hesitation radiating from some prior to this headline performance. However, as soon as the band launch into the darkened melodic crush of ‘Wraith’ all concerns are expelled. Despite the emotionally devastating lyrical content within the majority of their material, the band masterfully control the crowd with ease and finesse, with jubilant choice cuts from 2012’s London being the subject of jovial drunken singalongs. Even with the with bleakness at the heart of this band evident this evening, the London group prove themselves as the idealistic headliner and festival closer tonight. It’s a life affirming set, one that doesn’t try to gloss over or ignores the pain that comes with being alive, but gives us an affirming and bonafide reason to endure it.
With the massive towering melodic harmonies of ‘Concrete Feet’ ringing out to close this festival, Apologies I Have None are not only closing a festival, they’re concluding the inaugural event of a festival that clearly has a future on our shores. Even with Booze Cruise doing direct competition with other local events such as Dot To Dot Festival, Love Saves The Day and even the gargantuan behemoth of a festival that is Slam Dunk, it’s transparent that DIY, intimate and corporate free events such as this will always have a space within the live scene. Roll on 2020.