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Luke’s Alphabet Tour – J: The James Cleaver Quintet at London Koko – 6th May 2012

 
By on Monday, 28th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

In the early-afternoon May-time drizzle, the numerous Camden Crawlers are seeking shelter at various pubs and clubs. Some choose a pub to watch the footy, some dive into Burger King but 100-or-so people stroll into Koko for a much-needed dose of angst and adrenaline.

Although Camden Crawl isn’t known for its heavy side, XFM is doing its bit to educate the masses with the skinny jeans wearing noiseniks the James Cleaver Quintet. Merging the anthemic punk rock sounds of Fucked Up with the metalcore stylings of The Devil Wears Prada, it’s enough to ignite the fires inside the bellies of the beasts in attendance, who await their feast with baited breath.

Since releasing their debut album ‘That Was Then, This is Now’ on Hassle Records last year, the Eastbourne hardcore mob have been on a trajectory to rock ‘n’ roll glory. Mixing the savage with the serene, frontman Jack Saunders blends larynx-ripping screams with cleaner, pop-punkier vocals whilst JCQ hurtle around the stage like someone sprinkled ecstasy on their corn flakes.

The high octane performance is boosted with a full-scale light show laden with strobes to please the wide-eyed crowd. Despite Koko not being full, the devotees on the barrier are lapping up every metalcore morsel thrown their way. Blasting out hits including ‘Snakes’ and ‘Think or Swim’, the delightfully deafened audience are treated to Saunders towering over them on the barrier for the big finish.

Yes, the bodies on the floor are primarily static throughout the performance but not every gig is about throwing elbows and kicking imaginary faces. Appreciation is still in the heart of Koko who will no doubt be joining JCQ on their festival travels this summer.

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 2 – Ben’s Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd May 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

There’s something unnerving about turning up to day two of any festival showered, with clean pants on and without the obligatory dried coating of mud. It lacks a sense of escapism, but such is the nature of the modern urban festival scene. Camden Crawl 2012 has so far proved itself to be far removed from these trappings and with today’s line up holding just as much promise as Saturday’s, alongside the odd wild card, it’s time to knock back the last of the Alka-seltzer and hop on the Northern Line for 13 more hours of sound, kicking off with Brighton’s own Tall Ships back at the Wheelbarrow.

It may be that they are reminiscent of such a recent revolution on our great spinning top – counting bands as recent as Battles and Minus the Bear among their contemporaries – that it feels like they’ve been around for years. With this subconscious respect for a band’s longevity that has yet to play itself out, it raises question marks as to why Tall Ships have been given the first slot in one of the smallest venues at the Crawl. Luckily, human nature is as predictable as this nautically minded indie three piece are talented, and the tide rises until the crowd touches the back wall in wide eyed appreciation. The sound is soaked in reverb; the bass is metronomic whilst the drums fly off machine gun paradiddles, back to their dynamic roost.

Evidently, hardcore survivors Rolo Tomassi miss the memo regarding ‘Action on Hearing Loss’ that is pasted across posters, pens, lanyards and loudspeakers, all the way down Camden Road. Koko lights up like the ungodly opener to a Luddite horror spectacular, with an incendiary mix of confusion and beauty played out across instruments subservient to the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ synth and blood curdling hardcore wail. Singer Eva Spence ducks and weaves in an interpretive coil as they blast through tracks such as ‘Takes You’, announcing their return to the studio next month with possible single ‘Romancer’, and finishing with the classic ‘Party Wounds’.

General crowd pleasers Kids in Glass Houses fail to fully ignite as they kick off in the wake of Rolo Tomassi’s set at Koko. There’s something not to be trusted about Welsh bands singing in American accents (cough…Lostprophets), and the crowd seem largely disinterested in this Kerrang! friendly brand of alt-punk, much to the annoyance of frontman Aled Phillips, who cries out for some kind of response. They start with the fist pumping single ‘Sunshine’ and (ironically) ‘The Best is Yet to Come’, before moving on to material from their 2011 album release ‘In Gold Blood’. At the front there are signs of life (mainly from people not old enough to be at the bar) that are seized on as Phillips plunges into the crowd after one stalwart female fan. But, looking like the opening scene from School of Rock, the majority of a baffled crowd parts. It’s a shame for such a critically acclaimed live act to endure a performance where both the crowd and the band have noticeably different expectations from one another.

At the far end of Camden, the hotly tipped art rockers Cymbals take to the stage at the Monarch and, in gluttonous royal fashion, the place is bursting at the seams. There are echoes of Talking Heads and Devo in the plucky syncopation of this sunny East London three-piece, with a Kraftwerk synth and smattering of regional charm. There’s just enough time to catch tracks ‘I Don’t Know Why You Bother’, the infectiously harmonised ‘Summer Escaping’ and ‘Jane’ (the closest this smiling trio will get to a ballad), before the trudge back to Electric Ballroom for some more up-and-comers, Dog Is Dead.

The boys from West Bridgford mix folk tinged indie with anthemic rhythms that, fused with panning lasers and backlit cloud of dry ice, temporarily render the Electric Ballroom otherworldly and limitless. Unlike your typical folk harmony of light intertwining melodies, there is a choral, almost Gregorian simplicity as all five members pitch in on tracks ‘Hands Down’ and ‘River Jordan’. Debut single ‘Glockenspiel Song’ is forged from the Arcade Fire mould, with a brave but complimentary return for the much maligned saxophone, and is received rapturously by the on looking crowd. Having gained national coverage on Huw Stephens’ Radio 1 show, as well as supporting acts such as OK Go and Bombay Bicycle Club (not to mention a cameo on Skins), the band are set for a hectic festival season and should not be missed.

Upstairs at the Enterprise, Zun Zun Egui (pictured at top) form a cheeky interlude before the pinnacle of the night’s proceedings. It may be the claustrophobic setting of this damp attic; the lyrics in English, French, Creole, Japanese and pure nonsense; or the frantic pace with which they kick off, but you can’t help imagining some kind of back story. Were these the Bob Dylans of mariachi, exiled for the electronic hoodoo they now embrace? Or, perhaps they learnt to play as a means to infiltrate a South American drug cartel? The reality – I’m sure – is far more sensible (springing by chance from the Bristolian avante garde scene), but there is an undeniable sense of mystery to this up tempo, energetic four-piece. With a capacity of no more than 100, the modestly gathered crowd are infected with rhythm from the complex sweet picked arpeggios and male/female call and response between guitarist Kushal Gaya, and Yoshino Shigihara on keyboards.

And finally, back in the cavernous surroundings of the Electric Ballroom it’s time for post-rock conquistadors And So I Watch You From Afar to call time on Camden Crawl 2012 with bombastic attack of instrumental progressive metal. As the boys from Belfast blast in to their opener there is the first whiff of an old school mosh, before the crowd begins to settle and chant their riffs as if they were lyrics. There is raw energy to this five piece; stabbing electronic connections like a Tesla Coil to their dedicated fan base on the final night of their tour. Almost fully silhouetted by a blood red glow, they dive in to tracks ‘BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION’ and ‘Set Guitars to Kill’ in triumphant style as word inevitably spreads and the crowd begins to swell. There is something in ASIWYFA that will always desire to be of niche appeal. But, with the room filling ever quicker and compatriots This Will Destroy You and Explosions in the Sky also in the ascendency, it seems that for the moment the fan base they are so thankful for will continue to grow. There is some truth in their track title, ‘A Little Solidarity Goes a Long Way’.

So, there it is. A festival of convenience with an eclectic line up that showcases the benchmark of music today. The skill though, is in keeping that and sense of escapism and adventure that are so integral to the rite of passage that is the ‘festival experience’, but so often lacking at inner city events. Camden Crawl 2012 shows that while the geography of Camden has arguably changed for the worse in recent years; in the tapestry of attics, back rooms, regency theatres and great halls of the borough’s iconic venues, there is still an abstract quality that is spawning our collective musical future.

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 2 – Luke’s Roundup

 
By on Monday, 21st May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

It’s a much slower, hazier start in NW1 today – very much the morning after the night before. But as hard as the hangover may be, London gig-goers crawl on regardless. Sunday starts slightly later than the festivities taking place yesterday, but there’s still a wealth of new acts to discover without letting the on/off showers dampen spirits.

Yet again draught is being poured and shots slammed at the Wheelbarrow as the alternative rockers Tall Ships (pictured at top) take to the stage. There’s a certain buzz in the air as the pub is full from the front to the back before the Brighton trio play a single note…and then the party begins. Launching into a flurry of crunchy riffs, catchy choruses and colossal instrumentals, the indie-tinged three-piece turn one of the smallest venues on the Crawl into their own personal haven. Regardless of what comes out of the speakers during the next half hour, the crowd will lap it up purely based on the beautiful display of quality musicianship. No three chord songs for these boys, it’s a curious but wholly beneficial mash of grunge, post-rock and even a church organ that are played with such passionate gusto the audience are left captivated and enthralled with one of UK’s hottest prospects.

After John Kennedy’s offerings yesterday, XFM are again hosting bands at Koko (today curated by Ian Camfield) but the sound is much heavier. Sheffield’s mathy synth punks Rolo Tomassi enter the realm for a fury-fuelled barrage of screams, electronics and cymbal crashes. Don’t let the angelic demeanour of songstress Eva Spence fool you, though, as her vocal cords hide an unholy force. The guttural snarls and growls emanating from Spence’s tiny frame are just as mesmerising as they are terrifying. Throwing herself around the stage like a demented music box ballerina, the energy on stage can be felt up in the gods. Teasing in elements of doom with ‘Mr. Crowley’ style keys and a disjointed metal breakdown, it’s the beautifully chaotic ‘Party Wounds’ that lifts Rolo Tomassi up and beyond the ‘just another hardcore band’ tag. Stay tuned for the new album.

Outside the heaven’s are contemplating opening but that doesn’t stop 100-ish people venturing to Camden Gardens to witness a band on the cusp of breaking the scene. Akin to Enter Shikari and ‘There Is A Hell…’ era Bring Me The Horizon, Crossfaith look and act the most rock ‘n’ roll of any band at the festival. Hurtling around at 100 mph with Cheshire cat smiles and constant air-grabbing, these Japanese noiseniks are so proficient at their craft it’s a wonder why other bands bother at all. It takes a metal cover of The Prodigy‘s ‘Omen’ to win over the doubters, but once Kenta Koie opens his lungs the focus is solely positive. Ending their metalcore-meets-synth set on ‘Stars Faded In Slow Motion’ the weary crowd is trapped in a crazed mess of windmilling, air-kicking and shape throwing as Crossfaith crowdsurf their way to victory, claiming yet more fans in a journey to mainstream success.

Back at the Wheelbarrow is a local hero. The some-time one man band Beans on Toast is serving up his irreverent social commentaries. In a stark contrast to festival tradition, Beans on Toast aka Jay arrives on stage 5 minutes early treating his loyal fanbase to his upbeat, acoustic tales. Currently in residence at the Wheelbarrow every Tuesday, the cramped pub is packed tighter than a rush hour tube with eager fans queueing out the door. Opening on the crowd-pleasing ‘MDMAmazing’ Jay’s positive stance on drugs is no secret, and neither is his dislike for the Conservative government. He begins ‘I Shot Tupac Shakur and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt’ (an anti-Cameron ode containing the words “Hug a fucking hoodie, and he’ll punch you in the face”) before stopping mid-way – a trait that continues throughout the set. In tribute to his favourite Beastie Boy MCA, Jay leads his band and the crowd in a rendition of ‘Fight For Your Right to Party’ that ends abruptly but keeps the mood high and smiles wide. After a much-craved encore of ‘Rainy Day’ the throngs of music lovers pour back into the streets of Camden for the home stretch of the Crawl.

Down at the bottom end of Camden High Street, the stage at the Purple Turtle is warm for bands at the heavier end of the spectrum. Leeds noisemongers Hawk Eyes are smashing their way through a metric fuckton of metal to a deafened crowd. Hawk Eyes however are an acquired taste (a girl wrote the word ‘Shit!’ on my notepad) and sadly, the crowd thins toward the end of the performance that sees the hardcore-tinged rockers lean on newer material including ‘Kiss This’ and ‘You Deserve A Medal’. Unfortunately despite a stellar performance that sees frontman Paul Astick set up his mic stand in the middle of the crowd and scream bloody murder, there’s a general feeling of ‘meh’ amongst the onlookers.

There’s a lonely mic stand in front of an empty ballroom. A prophetic image and one that can be used for the entire post-rock scene. Tonight, though, the Belfast bruisers And So I Watch You From Afar over half-fill the historic venue with their Mastodon meets This Will Destroy You instrumentals. The supercharged three-piece send wave after wave of hooks and grooves until Camden is drowning in sound. It’s heavy but wholly structured and nothing is out of place, even the tangential breakdowns are a rhythmical masterpiece. Calling on material from their debut LP and latest album ‘Gangs’ the mathy ‘BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION’ and ‘7 Billion People All Alive at Once’ form the most magnificent soundscape of the entire weekend. Come back soon, boys.

Bringing this year’s Crawl to an end are the new masters of metal, Black Moth. Drawing on Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper for influence, the Leeds four-piece have received praise from the likes of Metal Hammer and Artrocker for their groove-laden rawk. Taking elements of Steppenwolf and Motörhead for a slight biker vibe, Black Moth are the new band in metal. It’s stripped back, dirgy, punky and there are no gimmicks. It’s just a four metalheads on stage in band tees and jeans playing some fantastic music that will see the Moth soar ever higher this year. Frontwoman Harriet Hyde stands firmly at the front with her Debbie Harry-esque vocals flowing out of the speakers and into the minds of the metal masses who have appeared out of nowhere.

As the feedback rings out into the Purple Turtle, Camden can rest easy until next year. There’s been over 100 performances in the space of 48 hours in a small corner of town and as the night buses start to fill with tired, drunk faces, the music capital of London has proved again that festivals aren’t about sitting in fields: they’re about music.

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 1 – Ben’s Roundup

 
By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Music is so deeply hewn in to the tapestry of Camden’s past that even if a rogue bulldozer were to somehow escape the Olympic park and flatten the lot, the Camden faithful would still gather on the detritus (like Kevin Costner in the film Field of Dreams) to watch the ghostly echo of gigs passed. Camden Crawl has managed to do away with wrestling the country/city festival debate that plagues the likes of Hard Rock Calling and SW4 – those who assume the hardware set up should remain universal – by setting up in the across the attics, backrooms and great halls of this cultural nucleus. Since 1995 this festival has showcased the best of the new alternative scene, and this year is set to kick off the festival season with more than 100 artists across 27 venues.

If there’s a better way to kick off a festival than staring down the barrel of two trombones and a trumpet, then I don’t want to know about it. North London eight piece ska punks Imperial Leisure bring a touch of Madness to the opening bout of Camden Crawl 2012 shoehorned, like jostling commuters, on to the wooden floorboards of the archetypal Wheelbarrow pub. As afro sporting singer Denis Smith leers over the baying home crowd, they blast through the likes of ‘Bitter and Twisted’, ‘Landlord’s Daughter’ and ‘Man on the Street’ at a frenetic pace and set an almost unsurpassable benchmark for interaction and tempo.

On the way through the assault course that is tourist dodging up Camden Road to the hallowed turf of the Roundhouse, Hip-Hop Shakespeare have taken to the stage in the cool blue oasis of the Jazz Cafe. With razor sharp wit and tongue, MCs and poets alike take to the stage with the house band to recite their works and challenge the stigma surrounding hip hop as an inferior art form.

At the Roundhouse, the enigmatic Sam Lee has taken charge of the mezzanine and roof space to claim in it in the name of folk for the day. He regales the cross legged crowd with old folk tales before introducing the quintessentially English but bright and almost painfully innocent melodies of Magic Lantern. He then returns with his own modest troupe of eclectic musicians to tell stories and sing, choral and otherwise, to the appreciative gathering. It is an achievement that all festivals should strive for, where for a moment or more people experience the universality of musical and social understanding.

The greyish afternoon sun begins to dip towards the rooftops behind the indoor stage as people are ushered out on to the terrace for Melodica, Melody and Me. Close your eyes and this could be the Champs-Élysées, with people milling and reclining on the steps as the melodica strikes up. Tracks like ‘Hold On’, ‘Ode to Victor Jara’ and ‘Plunge’ are lyrically modern but classic in style, given a Hawaiian twist with the omnipresent (so much so that I’ve already missed a few) ukulele, and despite the dropping temperatures the wax jacket parade has turned out in force.

Pint-size French synthpop three piece We Were Evergreen will surely be one to watch this summer and, having come on in place of Atlantics at the Wheelbarrow earlier in the day, anticipation was growing to see how they would manage a full set at the Roundhouse. Band members Fabienne, Michael and William work independently as masters of their instrument sets – be it guitar and vocal loops, ukulele and banjo, or synth and glockenspiel – to produce a sound with the same good time vibe as the Ting Tings on tracks such as ‘Baby Blue’ or the infectious ‘Eggs’.

Back in the centre of Camden at the Black Head, and Antlered Man are laying down their own crunching brand of hypnotic metal through a loudspeaker to a packed upstairs, whilst round the corner at Underworld post rock instrumentalists Brontide are nailing a precision piece of musical hardware to the largest and loudest crowd yet gathered. In this dingy basement layers build on loop pedals in time with a surge in energy levels, driven by the relentless crash of ex-La Roux drummer Will Bowerman’s sticks.

Hindsight is a wondrous thing, a precious commodity that is lacking as band of the moment Big Pink took to the stage as only second headliners under the shimmering beams of Koko’s mammoth mirror ball. The atmosphere has gained a synaesthetic sheen to match the soundscape of this peculiarly appropriate line up; now the sound has the power to reverberate through chest cavities, and there’s enough dry ice to Beadle’s About a house fire. It is their first time in London, and with material from their acclaimed debut ‘A Brief History of Love’, as well as tracks from 2012 release ‘Future This’ such as ‘Hit the Ground’ and ‘Rubbernecking’, had the audience blown away. And, while lead singer Robbie Furze intermittently sounds like Richard Ashcroft in space, floor filler ‘Dominos’ has every pair of hands up.

Rounding off Saturday of Camden Crawl 2012 are a band who stand out on the bill as somewhat mainstream, even slightly ‘one hit wonder’ for a headline slot. It is an absolute joy to find that the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ saying rings true and that ‘Hounds of Love’ was merely a marketable peak the PR team let puncture the surface of the Futureheads’ (pictured at top) early career. Below is a hulking mass of traditional folk music done as nature intended, through multi-layered harmonies and classic acoustic instrumentation. There is the oldest song in the English language, ‘Sumer Is I’cumen In’ (the one Edward Woodward is chargrilled to in ‘The Wickerman’) and ‘The Machem’ before the crowd start to lose their nerve and begin an unfortunate smattering of boos and (ironically) a capella versions of ‘Hounds of Love’. But, with an a capella album of their very own to flog in the coming months, the Futureheads continue unperturbed and round off the Saturday admirably with a more inventive, acoustic version of their biggest hit. This appeases the now swaying crowd, who leave with both cheers, and murmurs of anticipation for what Sunday could hold.

 

Camden Crawl 2012 Interview: Danny Fury and Sam Ray from Antlered Man

 
By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 11:00 am
 

After the release of their debut album and successful European tour, London proto-rockers Antlered Man are gearing up for festival season with a performance at this year’s Camden Crawl. I caught up with Danny Fury (guitar) and Sam Ray (bass) for a chat about Camden, UK music and masturbation.

The last time TGTF saw you guys was supporting Lower Than Atlantis
Danny: Yeah, that gig was tough for me. As soon as we got to sound-check, the sound guy wanted a bit of vocals from me, and I went ‘[croaky cough]’ and my voice just wasn’t there. And I said ‘I can’t sing’ but everyone was like ‘Oh go on, sing you cunt!’. But there was no singing voice there, if I did it would have been like a William Shatner vocal. Spoken word alternative rock.
Sam: Shatner being the word.
Danny: Shat. It was a horrible gig for me, but everyone said it was all right.

What have you been up to since then?
Danny: We did an EP – that was some guy’s bright idea, because apparently people don’t do albums any more(!) [laughs]. It’s like fucking is going out of style. And that didn’t really work out, but on the back of that we got a tour with And So I Watch You From Afar around Germany. All round Europe, actually, and it was unbelievable. We forged a really good bond with those guys and they gave us a lot of advice. We became to realise there’s a lot more outside in the alternative/underground – there is a subculture. We were always pompous enough, but you could afford us that because we locked ourselves away when we first wrote the album, and the only bands we knew were shit ones. Then when we came out we met bands like Exit International, Palehorse, And So I Watch You From Afar, all these cool bands it was like, “Sweet, we’re a part of something”.
Sam: We’ve got quite a bit of touring in the next few months. We’ll be back over in Europe in July, we’ve got a couple of festivals. A few festivals in England around June. But it’s quite sparse so we’ve got a lot of time to do the album, which is good because during festival season you’ve got one gig then a week off, then another gig, so we’ve got time to get some new tracks down.
Danny: The German thing is really exciting, in fact all round Europe. In Poland, we came out of the backstage area onto the stage, and there were three kids moshing at the front to no music. I knew it was going to be good [laughs]. We got offered so much cool stuff from that. To tour Europe is unbelievable because in this country it can be a little bit unforgiving for bands – there aren’t even places to park outside the venues, let alone a rider so you can smash up a fridge up in the backstage area if someone ‘dissed your chorus’.

What do festivals like Camden Crawl say about UK music?
Sam: I think these type of festivals are becoming more popular, rather than the standard music festival thing where people play in a massive field. It’s become more of a thing for journalists and bands to come down to and check out other bands. There’s a massive musical scene happening in one weekend and it gives you the opportunity to go find other bands.
Danny: It gives people the opportunity to see their favourite band, or bands that they’re checking out. I checked out Hawk Eyes like 6 months ago and they were unbelievable. Everyone wants the opportunity to not see those guys in a fucking sterile, big place, they want to go to a little club and see it. I’ve looked at the photos of Camden Crawl from the past 2 years, and I thought there was no fucking way I wanted to go there. I’m just a bit agoraphobic and I don’t really like too many people round me. Ordinarily this place on a Friday or Saturday is fucking nightmare.
Sam: We were going to drive down here but there’s no chance we were going to get anywhere to park and we would probably have been stuck in traffic for hours.
Danny: I’m not sure what it says about the music scene. The scene around Camden has always been thriving, but without wanting to be bitchy, not a lot of it is very good. But there’s the odd gem out there and I think they’ve got a really good line-up this year. I think there is a heavy resurgence that’s definitely occurring with Pulled Apart By Horses, Hawk Eyes, Exit International, all these guys are on the up, and there seems to be a place for it.

There are a lot of heavier bands playing this year…
Danny: I think that’s probably why it seemed like kryptonite to Superman with me for the last 2 years. It was just any old shit and we never really put ourselves forward for it. So when they floated the idea to us, we checked the listings and thought ‘fuck yeah, that looks good’.

What is it you love about Camden then?
Danny: I bitch and moan about the crowds round here, but if ever I am going for a drink I tend to do it round here. I like that there’s more of a laid-back vibe and they’re a little bit more tolerant round here. There’s the young people who come to the gigs who are enthusiastic about everything, and 90% of gigging – if you’re a London band – is done around here. It never used to be like that, about 5 years ago there used to be places in Islington but now it’s primarily here. It’s always good to bop around and sometimes be recognised.

Have you got a favourite venue in Camden?
Danny: The Barfly is cool, especially since they put the new PA in. Never played here [The Black Heart] before but I’ve heard good things about it. But I’d have to say, as far as sound and everything goes, it was always Koko. Then it started getting infiltrated by 15 year olds who are eating off their faces and freaking out, so I stopped going there. So I’d probably say the Barfly.
Sam: I like the size of the Barfly, as it’s good for an intimate crowd as well.
Danny: I would say Proud for the sound but there’s nowhere to park out there and we’ve got about four parking tickets from there and the bar staff just shrug their shoulders when you tell them.

The name of the festival is Camden Crawl, what would you crawl the length of Camden for?
Sam: Hair of the Dog at the moment, I think. It was our drummer’s birthday yesterday so we had quite a few beers.
Danny: We don’t drink before we go on, but we get hammered after. The talent to be able to play arsehole drunk – just to alleviate the hangovers – I would definitely crawl the length of Camden for.
Sam: We got drunk yesterday and tried to play the set but it wasn’t happening.
Danny: That speaks volumes for the intricacies of our parts… we went a bit prog.

You mentioned you’re playing a lot of festivals in Europe, have you got any UK festivals lined up?
Danny: The Great Escape, 2000 Trees… The Great Escape should be really fun.

TGTF’s Editor will be at The Great Escape…
Danny: I remember when we were over in Germany, staying in some fucking rural farmhouse surrounded by deer we read a really good review on There Goes The Fear of our EP. So thanks for that!

That wasn’t long after your Lower Than Atlantis gig TGTF reviewed…
Danny: I remember there being three morbidly obese kids sat outside there drinking from 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And they didn’t have any finesse to their drinking, they had a bottle of blue WKD, a bottle of Bailey’s, and about six cans of Stella. Then a mate would come along with a bottle of [Jamesons] and pour it down his throat and it got to the point where I knew they were going to get nicked, but it was a matter of when. In between playing and losing my voice, I was running outside to see the drama unfold. Then I finally saw the fat little cunt get nicked.
Sam: Hopefully they’ll read this and reassess their life.

Finally, have you heard the world is going to end at the end of the year?
Danny: No.

You missed the Mayan calendar saying the world’s going to end?
Danny: I love reading but it’s such a commitment. One book at a time. And I just don’t have time for the Mayan calendar. I’m too occupied with which badass is going to die next – MCA, man. The world can end as far as I’m concerned, as long as we finish the second album… then fire it into space, so one day we’ll get a demographic.

Well the question is, what’s the last thing you’re going to do before the world ends?
Sam: Record this album because I’d hate to think… wait, no-one would know, would they? Scrap that, it wouldn’t even matter.
Danny: I can’t think of anything quirky. For me it would be something really normal like logging onto violent anal porn and whacking off as much as possible. I’ve got nowhere to be. Might as well watch some poor girl gag for money. I’m not going to come across well, am I?

 

Camden Crawl 2012: Day 1 – Luke’s Roundup

 
By on Tuesday, 15th May 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Camden has always been known for music. From the hallowed venues of The Underworld and Electric Ballroom, to the local legend of Amy Winehouse, music has been the beating heart of the Town for years. To celebrate this heritage, the concept of Camden Crawl was produced. Now in its eleventh year, the annual 2-day festival has invaded no less than 27 venues hosting over 100 artists for 16 hours a day. It’s hectic, intense, and eye-opening; what else would you expect?

Kicking off the Saturday are the London-bred purveyors of Rancid-esque ska-punk Imperial Leisure. Almost filling the Wheelbarrow at the unholy gigging hour of 1 PM is no mean feat, but the skankers – young and old – are supporting some of the finest local music on display today. Managing to cram an eight-piece band on the tiny stage, including a three-piece brass section (which, incidentally, the band hasn’t had fully for years), frontman Denis Smith stands aloft pumping out crowd-pleasers ‘Man on the Street’ and the sing-along favourite ‘Landlord’s Daughter’. After half an hour of early afternoon beer chugging and foot stomping, it’s back into the daylight for another round.

All the way at the other end of Camden High Street is the Roundhouse, that today is showcasing an abundance of calmer musical outfits. Winchester’s This is the Kit‘s serene, ambient acoustics float over the 100 or so people gathered in the upstairs room. Initially the shows at the Roundhouse were scheduled to take place outside, but thanks to the lovely English weather it’s been relocated. Although the band are five-piece, today they’re a duo. The delightfully heartfelt, majestic tones fill the room that is sat on the floor soaking up the banjo and guitar like a hippy commune: if a drum circle were to start, no-one would bat an eyelid. It’s a fantastic juxtaposition to the hustle and bustle of the streets below that are just getting started.

Over at Koko, the biggest venue of the weekend, XFM’s John Kennedy is hosting Xposure, highlighting some of the hottest UK acts today. Headlining the first half of Saturday’s showcase are the incredible instrumentals of Three Trapped Tigers. Described by the Guardian as “A garage band bashing their way through Aphex Twin”, the London trio power their way through an 8-bit tinged, bass heavy assault. Reeking of dubstep dirt undertowed by rib-shaking bass, Three Trapped Tigers blast through 30 minutes of new material before uttering a single word to the pumped crowd. Sounding like the bastard child of Sabrepulse and 65DaysOfStatic, the futuristic noise and blinding strobe lights are reminiscent of the rave scene in The Matrix: Reloaded. As the three-piece keep lashing out on their keys and effects pedals – to the tune of Sonic being bitch-slapped by a subwoofer – the music suddenly stops and the house lights come up. It’s over, leaving Koko in a dazed but wholly satisfied state of deafness.

After a much needed break for food and yet more beer, Camden is ready for the evening. Taking to the stage at the most metal venue in town – The Underworld – Brontide are serving mesmerising post-rock opuses to hundreds of onlookers. The darlings of Holy Roar move seamlessly between twinkly soft sections and ball-busting, heavy breakdowns – they even throw in a few bars of ‘No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn’ during ‘MFBT’ for MCA. Flirting with ideas of metal and prog, the driving force behind the three-piece is the drummer Will Bowerman (who also moonlights for La Roux). The big, pounding drums ricochet off the walls of The Underworld as the guitars drown the audience and prove the London favourites still have more to offer.

Down the road at Dingwalls, one of the most hyped bands of the day are treating the three-quarters’ full room to a half hour of light-hearted, Caribbean vibes. Theme Park‘s dancey tones flow with a summery feel akin to ‘English Riviera’ era Metronomy. Despite having four string-players on stage, the delicate nature of the London quintet sounds as though only one guitar is playing. Combine this with the minimal drums and you’re left with a soft, yet uplifting sound. Strumming their way through the likes of ‘Milk’ and ‘Wax’, set-closer ‘Two Hours’ leaves a smile on everyone’s face.

Ending the first day’s festivities are the Japanese purveyors of psychedelia, Bo Ningen (pictured at top). Since moving to London, the erratic J-rock meets hardcore quartet have been carving a niche for themselves across the city for the past few years. Tonight their domain is a packed-to-the-rafters sweatbox called the Monarch that has bodies crammed into every corner vying for a view. Merging the styles of Deep Purple and The Mars Volta, with hints of everyone else in between, Bo Ningen highlight the versatility of Camden Crawl.

Delayed Japanese vocals echo over the frenzied guitar and drums that are thrashed out with all the intensity of a car crash. The band have a real adoration for their craft and aren’t in it for the fame – it’s a very niche audience. As the ethos of chaos leaks from the stage to the floor, the beer-drenched pit full of shape throwers and party goers get the floor bouncing. The performance culminates in a flurry of free jazz, prog, metal, kraut-rock and funk that transcends into a hypnotic breakdown that never knowingly feels like ending. But for Camden it has come to an end, for Saturday at least. Tomorrow brings on another day of new music from varying ends of the spectrum to devastate venues all over the music capital of London.

Stay tuned for Luke’s review of Sunday at Camden Crawl coming soon.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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