An overview, of what I witnessed whilst having fun in Croydon.
Ten minutes walk from East Croydon station, is The Landsdowne. Not your typical hotel. You won’t find boring small talk in the lobby, or mindless music in the elevator. Instead, a web of creativity is being given a new refreshing layer.
On the Saturday 6th April 2019, the hotel began a bubbling hub of loud music, joy, fun and the who’s who of the underground music scene. With lots of new faces, and music enthusiasts.
There were three stages, and lots of space to socialise and gander in between sets. Literally, there was something for everyone.
I caught Bugeye on the Town Square main stage. Angela Martin is a powerhouse. Not only is she the co-creator and facilitator of this wondrous festival, but also the leader of the band Bugeye.
Many of us would not be able to execute that level of workload, but Angela did, and may I say, with grace, finesse and a daring attitude and determination.
Bugeye are continuously attracting new fans up and down the country, and CroCroLand was no exception. They bring the disco wherever they play, fusing in their own character and creativity. We certainly found ourselves having a little dance along to the never-ending plethora of cracking tunes. This band, will be taking part in Kick Out the Jams’ final Camden Mix-Up at the Good Mixer on April 20th before the monthly music social moves to a bigger home. If you’re around, definitely worth dropping your head in for a head bop and a beating crowd.
Through the CroCroLand interchange to the Concrete Playground stage, the zeenagers caught Smiley & the Underclass. TheZineUK are big fans of theirs,so it figures! This band put the “F U” in fun. If you don’t want music to raise your hairs, or if you don’t want to be pushed out of your comfort zone, don’t bother seeing this band. However, you will realise you’re missing out on one of the coolest bands around.
They played to a predominantly fairly new crowd, who were very pumped by the end of their set. We were fortunate to hear some old classics, and some very new songs recently recorded in the studio. Check them out as they’ve just wrapped up, supporting The Undercover Hippy on tour. They have more festivals this summer too.
Back to the balcony overlooking Town Square, and it’s time for Bang Bang Romeo to play their set. Their band name is so apt, as they create a bang every time they play.
This is a time where any opportunity to catch them on a smaller stage or a smaller venue, is very much a treat for us all. They’ve been working very hard, evolving to the next vibration of working musicianship. It’s exciting and a blessing to witness.
With their new bassist in tow, BBR definitely brought the “bang for your buck”. So much so, I saw more people coming in AS they were playing, and stayed till the end of the set. An extra bonus for us all, was the cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River”. If JT ever needed a female music companion to do a new duet with, he should definitely knock on the door of Ms A. Walker. Stars made this version her own, and went down a treat. Heartfelt, and full of spirit. The best was saved till last though. Fair to say that “Invitation” is one of the band’s popular songs, particularly as Stars gets interactive with the crowd, and CroCroLand was no exception. Just as we thought the song was finished, Richard began a drum solo, the band extending the instrumental, while the sassy Stars took off her(dynamic) coat, encouraging everyone (and I mean everyone in the room) to clap. She went into the crowd. At this moment, you can see the band treat each other, work with each other like family. Most people aren’t aware, but to extend an instrumental, all musicians must trust each other implicitly and you can see that in BBR.
Two minutes into the extended instrumental, Stars got the crowd to shout back “did you get my invitation?”. The whole room was buzzing, and BBR showed exactly how you leave a crowded room wanting more, just as you’re beginning to get started. And, they are only getting started. More so, when they support P!nk on her Summer UK tour. Get yourselves to one of the shows, if you want to see why so many people have said this band have always been destined for the bigger stages, bigger arenas. Up the BBRMY!!
How do you follow up a cracking set like that? I tell you how. You allow a dynamic pair of ladies to take the stage straight after. The ladies that bring the noise and the magic. The ladies who put the extra “win” in their name: Nova Twins. Some of you, may have seen the classic photos from their gig last year (taken by Keira Anee photography) the Victoria in Dalston when a bunch of us danced on the stage with them. Iconic night that was. I’d be very surprised, if you follow the underground music scene, and have yet to hear about Amy and Georgia. Their gigs are notorious for getting messy, having people moshing on the stage and a level of humidity that brings a metamorphosis to anyone who chooses to sing and dance along to their tunes.
Their tunes are also a statement. If you’re looking for something superficial, I suggest you go elsewhere. Nova Twins want you sit up. They both want you to listen. They both want you to stop ignoring the bull****, take ownership, take action, and bring about the necessary change that is required. I mean, these ladies even make their own clothes. There is nothing manufactured about themselves as people, nor the image they want to project, nor the art that they create. All of it represents their true selves, with zero apologies. Quite right!
Many artists, could take a leaf out of their book. One of the best things I saw throughout their set? These three girls in particular, moshing from beginning to end. No joke. They did not stop moving, till Amy and Georgia finished. When you can grip people like that, you know you have tapped into something sacred. These two are onto bigger things.
For instance, Nova Twins have been announced for Download 2019. If you’re going, that is definitely a set to not miss. Be sure to check out their other live appearances. They’re making quite a storm in Europe particularly France! Win win Nova Twins!
It’s definitely accurate to say, the music scene in Croydon has been reawakened, all thanks to CroCroLand Festival creators; Angela and Julia.
All these photos: Caffy St Luce click the link for the OFFICIAL Cro Cro Land gallery.
Multi-talent Monefa is Caffy’s assistant PR Princess at ArtBeat and a piano playing star. A regular contributor to The Zine UK both online and at our socials.