Kazoopa Festival – Review

For most, festival season ended months ago. As the sun went down on the Summer months, so do long days and nights of heavy music, crazy crowds and memories that live on forever.

This year was different however, this year festival season ended on a cold November day in Leeds in the form of Kazoopa Festival. Unlike most festivals however, it was going to be a day of exploration and finding new acts with only a couple that I’d had the pleasure of seeing before.

The day began in Santiago bar, an unknown to me, with Rival Bones a two-piece heavy rock band who’d traveled over from Liverpool. After listening to the bands debut track, You Know Who You Are, prior to the day I struggled to believe I was only going to be watching two people, the tracks sounded so anthemic and heavy, not many bands can pull off such a brutal sound, let alone those with only two people. Rival Bones however are a different story; despite playing to an audience much smaller than what this band should be playing to, it didn’t seem to phase them as they ripped through a brilliant half hour with the highlights being the huge Robot Girl and the recent single Lost Along The Way. I certainly expect to be seeing these guys in bigger venues very soon and would encourage anybody to check them out.

Following this we headed over to Headrow House to watch JUDAS but we managed to catch the end of what seemed to be an electric set from Liberty Ship an exciting, vibrant, britpop-esque band from Sheffield. It is safe to say the Sheffield music scene is buzzing at the moment with the emergence of bands like The Sherlocks and Liberty Ship certainly belong in this category. Topped off with “Learning to Fly” the vocals throughout the four tracks I caught were on point; these lads showed that not only is this style of music far from dead but how the legacy of bands of the 1990s have inspired a new generation of artists. Not many young bands are this tight nit this early in a career; a bright future is definitely on the horizon for them.

Then came the main event; after seeing JUDAS play a host of festivals in the Summer, they were certainly the band I was most looking forward to and they did not disappoint. A blistering set packed with huge, almost religious, choruses in “Call Me”, “Love is the Enemy” and “Sister” JUDAS looked at home on the Headrow House stage and the 30 minute set flew by. There’s something about a JUDAS gig which makes me feel relaxed; whether it’s John’s effortless vocals and unbelievable stage presence, timeless guitar riffs or simply the inner feeling that you’re in the presence of something special, JUDAS are without doubt the real deal. Meeting the band afterwards they were as nice a bunch of people as they are talented which only adds to the professionalism these guys show. Whoever was in that room will look back in a few years and remember they saw future major festival headliners at Kazoopa.

We then skipped around stages seeing “Where Fires Are” play a very accomplished set whilst Sisteray proved they’re a serious force with Niall’s vocals leading the way. The find of the day however came back in Santiago and Sour Mandy. With a name like that they have no reason at all to be any good, but when they were sound checking it was clear they has something about them. They had swagger, they knew exactly how they wanted things to be and as soon as the opening riff was played, Liam O’Keefe on vocals commanded the stage for the duration of the set. They are a band I need to see again and it’s great that Kazoopa has championed local bands like Sour Mandy as they deserve to be recognised and heard. Their current single China is a tune worthy of main stages at huge festivals let alone Santiago bar in Leeds, but I am very thankful that the opportunity was there.

My day came to an end shorter than anticipated with Atlanta House being the final band I saw. Another exciting local band that have clearly gained a number of fans on their rounds in Leeds recently showed a lot of promise on the back of their first single release back in August. It was a great end to a fantastic day and I am already looking forward to Kazoopa 2017!


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