As record launch parties go, this was always going to be a special one.
GONG-OH Records is an innovative record label and collective of emerging European artists based in the UK. Founded by Victor Marichal, Alessandro de Cominato (Bandini), and Mattia East (The Man and The Lake) who are actively involved on the London and Bristol music scenes, GONG-OH emerged from a shared vision.
The three friends were tired of witnessing the struggle of the talented yet isolated musicians around them. Instead, they envisioned an alternative to the old mechanics of the music industry. They dreamed of a united collective of artists…and GONG-OH was born. The essence of GONG-OH (an Italian take on the Chinese “Gung-Ho”) lies in the simple meaning of its two words: “Work Together”.
The label celebrated its formation with a debut GONG-OH Festival on Saturday 14 July 2018 at Paper Dress Vintage, located in the heart of East London’s Hackney. The venue seamlessly transforms from vintage boutique to live music and events space and so provided the ideal setting to showcase GONG-OH’s versatility.
As well as live music, the all-day festival featured storytelling, performance art and a music photography exhibition by Carlo Polisano which was presented throughout the day.
Carlo is a photographer and video maker who specialises in music photography. He began his career back in 2010 in Milan, documenting the underground music scene and became the main contributor for Rolling Stone Italy, covering shows and festivals across Italy and photographing more than 300 bands including Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Cure and more.
He moved to London in 2014, establishing himself as the in-house photographer for the UK’s largest vinyl manufacturer Key Production. He is also the founder and creative director of Seven/Eight, a creative collective specialising in visual communication and branding for artists and bands of every genre.
With their creative vision, the team presented an eclectic and unique festival lineup. King Cassady kickstarted proceedings with their high energy cocktail of gypsy jazz and flamenco, while the BBQ sizzled in Paper Dress Vintage’s outside garden. Comedic singer-songwriter Huw Joseph took to the decks with a unique disco and funk DJ set that sounded flawless in the afternoon sun.
After a presentation of the label by Victor, an exciting range of bands worked their magic on stage. London-based singer-songwriter Gabriel Kazz took his up-lifting folk rock and joined forces with psychedelic-folk singer-songwriter Jane Silver to perform an enchanting set before their respective full band performances later in the evening.
Bristol four-piece The Man and The Lake treated the crowd to some poetic Adriatic folk-rock, bringing fiery rhythms and dark notes from stories far away, before Victor himself took to the stage to present his unique blend of blues, jazz and story-telling. Victor is an indomitable talent, and it’s always a delight to hear him play live, joined by drummer Adam Hayes and double bass player Luigi Rignanese.
Next up was fellow GONG-OH founder Bandini to showcase his enigmatic musical storytelling, which sits perfectly at the crossroads between gypsy rock, jazz and blues. Bandini has been described as ‘the bastard child of Tom Waits and Cab Calloway” and his sets always bring the house down.
To conclude, London-based alternative disco/soul/jazz-hop fusion collective Lit FM delighted the crowd with extra afrobeat, latin and jungle vibes and brought the festival to an impeccable close.
This was a birthday bash to remember, with Victor, Al and Mattia showcasing a wide range of exciting and inspiring artists. RockShot Mag wish them and the label all the best with their musical adventures ahead.
Nicola Greenbrook was at Gong-Oh Records label launch at Paper Dress Vintage in July. Photos by Sammy Deveille.
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