Gig preview: China Shop Bull at Hyde Park Unity Day, Leeds

China Shop Bull. Picture: David Peltan
China Shop Bull. Picture: David Peltan
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China Shop Bull first careered into view with their blend of punk, ska, hip-hop and rave nearly a decade ago. In 2010 they released their first album, Rave To The Grave, but, as the Leeds band gears up to release a follow-up, Duncan Seaman learns much has changed.

“2013 was the year of all the line-up changes,” explains CSB MC Obi Joe. “I replaced the rapper Tha PCP, later in the year the drummer Joe Wignal left and then the bass player Dave Laine. Half of the band changed in that year.”

Sound-wise the band has evolved. “Without blowing my own trumpet, John [Yates, CSB’s founder, vocalist and guitarist] has described it as much more meaningful lyrics. There are a few songs, like Gravy Train, that have a particular sound that we would not have done before, but there are definitely elements of how it was before – especially Crunch Time.”

The band play at Beatherder festival near Clitheroe tomorrow and at Hyde Park Unity Day on July 25. Their new album Public Disorder Act 1 is out on August 11. They’re planning an extensive tour in October.

A recent date in Poland augured well. “It’s the first time we’ve ever been there as a band,” says Obi Joe. “We played at Mighty Sounds festival – 1,000 people were watching us there, it was really big.

“I left the stage and the first guy waiting backstage said, ‘Here’s my card’. It turned out he was from one of the biggest tour companies in Germany. It was like something out of a movie.”

CSB have been described as ‘the Beastie boys meets Chumabawamba’ and ‘like The Wailers but from outer space’.

“It’s punk style rap,” says Obi Joe. “It’s very energetic, everyone is dancing and having a party. We have played in the middle of raves where dance music is going on around us while we’re setting up. It has a rap element but it’s music to have a good time to as well.”

Public Disroder Act 1 will be released on the band’s own Dojo label. For details visit https://chinashopbull.bandcamp.com/

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