The Camden Crawl is London’s leading music festival and is in fact the first on the calender. Having attended the previous 3 made this something I was rather looking forward to. Unlike previous years the Crawl had been stretched to a 3rd day and this was mainly down to the launch party at Koko which had artists such as Death In Vegas, Icona Pop, Echo Lake and others performing. I didn’t attend that launch mainly because the line up didn’t intrigue me as I was not a massive fan of the headline act. So I therefore opted on attending both Saturday and Sunday. I arrived around about 12pm to collect my wristband and the time tables for both days. On this 1st day I found myself witnessing artists whom I had never seen live before as well as seeing the few favourites I knew I wanted to see. My Crawl started off at The Wheelbarrow as I wanted to see Shuga play at 3pm, also it was raining so being in the shelter was nice.
Ciara Haidar who is a classically train musician and one extremely talented songwriter was Loverproof. Fronted by Haidar, Loverproof was actually a duo. This was the first time I had ever witnessed them play and this is something The Camden Crawl is good at. What was showcased captivated me and basically left me speechless due to the phenomenal vocal range. Things opened with Dalston Salvage, Ciara sang this steady paced song at the top of her lungs and it was slightly spine tingling. This song had superbly written plus there was a tinge of emotion. It was then straight onto Black and Blue which was delivered strongly. This song was slightly up tempo and had wonderful lyrics which gelled perfectly to its melody. “My name’s Loverproof and this is The River” Ciara then said to the intimate audience. At first The River started off as a gentle song then it gains more power throughout. I found its lyrics to be rather smooth. I really liked the lyrics to this number. The following two songs were brand new and are not even on the internet. Learning About Us gets me excited to hear the studio version of this wonderful track. I found this song to be rather upbeat and its verses were sublime. “We’re going to do 1 more for you and it’s called See The Light” Haidar then went onto say before diving into that song. Even though all the other 4 numbers were superb See The Light is the one that gets me excited. The lyrics were delivered strongly and the infectious chorus was the highlight. “We all fall apart, We all break our heart, We all commit the crime, We all do the time”. Seriously check out this girl she’s a lyrical genius with a phenomenal vocal range which makes here belt out tunes at ease.
Black and Blue
Learning About Us
See The Light
30 minutes later it was then onto duo Shuga. I had previously witnessed them support Kate Nash at Colonel Fawcett and The Receeders (Nash’s side project) at the Camden’s Barfly. This duo consisted of both Emma Chitty and Luis Attawalpa. Also playing for the first time on drums and keys was Teta Colamonaco. With only a 20 minute slot this short but sweet 5 song set wetted my appetite for the full length LP. “Hello Wheelbarrow, how’s it going?” Luis then said to the audience. Things then opened up with a brand new song and this being Stay Wild and will hopefully feature on a future release. This song was played at a steady pace and at the same time it felt very chilled out. Both Chitty and Attawalpa were on electric guitars and even though this was slightly powerful the vocals were crystal clear. I really liked the superb lyrics and I am hoping on a studio version in the future. “We’re Shuga by the way and it’s good to be here” Emma said before introducing Teta who was playing with them for the first time. It was then straight into Rocking Chair. Chitty ditched her guitar to play the tambourine. This was yet another promising song which has to feature on a forthcoming release. As only Luis was on guitar and Teta was behind the drums, Rocking Chair showcased Emma’s faultless vocal range. This track was rather gentle and parts were belted out. “This next song is called The Darkness and it’s off our EP that’s coming out in a couple of days” Chitty then said to the audience. She had picked up her electric guitar for this song which made it slightly more powerful. Now I really liked The Darkness despite the melody resonating through my body. This number went down extremely well. It made me look forward to getting a copy of that limited 100 copies EP. “This is Luis by the way, I’m Emma, Teta, Shuga” Emma then said before getting stuck into another track to feature on that EP and this being Farm. I found this song to be rather wonderful. “This is our last song. So thank you all for listening” Chitty said before they signed off with a brand new track Heaven. This song may have been slightly overpowering but the superbly written lyrics were sublime.
Even though début songs Hey Baby or Sugar didn’t feature in the set I was literally AMAZED by what was showcased. I have been a fan of Shuga for a while and seriously you need to check them out.
After having witnessed the talented Shuga at The Wheelbarrow it was then off to Kentish Town to go to the Abbey Tavern. Playing at this pub was a girl that needs no introduction. Bebe Black is one extraordinary artist with a number of cracking songs under her belt. Dead on 5pm her set started. “I’m Bebe Black, I get quite nervous on stage so I thought to avoid having to speak I just wear this number” she said referring to her daring T Shirt which showed a pair of breasts. Things opened up with Three Strikes which sounded amazing and the lyrics were spot on. This song was rather upbeat and the vocals were incredibly distinctive. Both this song and Radio which followed after were my favourite numbers. Radio which was played at a steady pace and had an upbeat/ infectious chorus. Its lyrics were perfect and clear cut. You could clearly picture what was happening in the song in your head. “I should probably make the point of saying that as this is the Camden Crawl all of the songs I think we’re playing this evening are indeed about Camden boys and set around various pubs in the Camden area. That one was about Hawley just in case you’re going there later” Black said after delivering Radio to perfection. Next it was onto Death Wish and this number showcased her outstanding vocal range. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge. There was a hint of soul within this song. The way Black hit the high notes at ease were slightly operatic and reminded me of Catherine Pockson from Alpines. Straight after it was then onto Promises. This number had a steady pace but as the chorus kicked in the song became really smooth. “I’m going to do one more and then I’ll leave you” Bebe said before signing off with I’ll Wait. This was one fantastic song which had up tempo verses and a powerful chorus. I look forward to hearing the full length LP as was was showcased was spine tingling.
There were only two bands that I wanted to see in the evening and this being Echo Lake and Icona Pop who also played slots at the launch at Koko on the 4th May. So I then decided to go to The Monarch straight away. Doing this guaranteed a front row spot for Echo Lake. So opening at The Monarch were 4 piece band Fear Of Men. This group consisted of two guys and 2 girls. The guys being Dan and Mike. The girls being Alex and Jess. At present they have released Ritual Confession/ Spirit House as a limited vinyl on the Italian Beach Babes imprint and 2 cassette tapes (Hannah Schygulla Demos on Brighton’s Sex Is Disgusting and the Alice Munro Demos which was self released). Ritual Confession opened up this fantastic 7 song set. I found this to be rather sleek and the song itself was very easy on the ear despite the fact electric guitars were used throughout. The main vocalist on each song was Alex Fynn O’Neill and I found her vocals to be rather captivating. It was then straight into Phantom Limb. This song was catchy, upbeat, and very sweet. Spirit House was next and this being the backing side to Ritual Confession. This song had wonderful lyrics which were delivered perfectly. The lead single from the Alice Monro Demos Doldrums was next to be played. I found this number to be rather dreamy and entrancing. What followed was a brand new track which offered a lot of promise and this being Out Run Me. I look forward to hearing the studio version of this number as it HAS to feature when the forthcoming LP does come out. What followed on was an unique take of The Chills Pink Frost. They made this song their own and at the same time it sounded ever so beautiful. The Brighton quartet end with forthcoming single Green Sea.
Based on what was showcased Fear Of Men are worth checking out. What was played completely captivated me.
Out Run Me
I have been a fan of Echo Lake since the day I purchased EP Young Silence on a whim last year. This band consists of Thom Hill, Linda Jarvis, Pete, Kier and Steve. Despite me having to miss the launch night at Koko the prior day I was rather excited at the prospect of seeing them play a headline set. “Hi we’re Echo Lake” Jarvis said to the audience that came to watch them play. Opening up was In Dreams. This track featured on the début EP Young Silence. Echo Lake is shoe gaze/ dreamy pop which is the perfect combination. In Dreams didn’t disappoint. This number was up tempo and Linda’s vocals were both soothing and captivating at the same time. Once over Linda then introduced the next song to be the prior AA single and this being the blissful Another Day. Now I rather enjoyed this song the vocals were perfect and luscious as well. “The next song is called Even The Blind, It’s our new single off our new album which is coming out next month” Jarvis then went onto say. The lyrics were perfectly written and the melody gave it more oomph. Even The Blind was indie rock and it makes me look forward to when album Wild Peace is released next month. “Can we burrow a guitar. We don’t need it for this song we need it for the next song” Linda then said as Thom had broken a guitar string. It was then onto the title track of the new album and this being Wild Peace. It actually sounded a lot different compared to the prior songs as there were no guitars. It was just keys, drums and Linda’s faultless vocals. It literally sounded rather gentle and entrancing at the same time. Wild Peace was played at a steady pace and I look forward to hearing the mastered version of this song. “Thanks for coming to watch us play tonight. Hope you’ve had a good festival so far” Jarvis said before launching into yet another new track and this being Last Song Of The Year. This song oozed plenty of energy. “We’ve got one more song left, it’s an old song” Linda said before the band started to play Young Silence. They literally blitzed through this powerful song. The band then signed off with Sunday Evening.
Even The Blind
Last Song Of The Year
Swedish duo Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo are Icona Pop. They are well worth watching out for in 2012 because they have been a firm favourite of mine since last year. Basically when it was announced they were to be playing I knew that I wanted to be there no matter what. I have previously witnessed them play live only twice and I long to hear a longer set. Also it was slightly disappointing that they had to unfortunately pull out of the show at Madame Jojo’s earlier on in the year. After Echo Lake had finished their last song it was then off to Camden Rock. Icona Pop were due to take to the stage at 9.10pm. Once at the venue there were people all gathered round the entrance. They were then adopting a one in one out policy. About a minute later I was inside and it was literally packed. It turned out the last band Jehst were still performing. I managed to get to the front but at the side. With the over running of Jehst and the fact there were technical issues, Icona Pop then took to the small stage nearing 9.50pm. This duo were infectious bubble gum synth pop. Each track was a feel good number and you can’t help but dance to it. The set opened up with Sun Goes Down which featured on the Nights Like This EP. The song had infectious lyrics and wonderful hooks. “Cheers everyone, party with us” the flame haired Hjelt said to the packed audience. What followed was Rocket Science which I had never heard before. This song was very upbeat and was smothered in synth/ electo pop goodness. Also the lyrics were rather memorable. Geled to the ending Rocket Science was the powerful new single I Love It. This track which was written by the one and only Charli XCX has lovely luscious verses which were packed with plenty of energy. It was actually another feel good song which you could easily have a rave to. “We are so happy to be here tonight, We are Icona Pop. I’m dancing my f**king pants off” Caroline then said just as I Love It was approaching its end. It was then straight into the danceable Manners. This was like an electro/ synth pop ballad. I found this tune to be rather smooth with a chorus you feel the need to sing along too. There was in fact a dub step vibe to this song. “Thank you for coming tonight” Hjelt said to the packed audience before they got stuck into the upbeat Nights Like This. This crowd pleasing song makes you want to jump up and down. Its lyrics were sublime and infectious. “How are you? We have two last more songs and then lets party” Aino said to the crowd. “I met some girls in the bathroom and we promised that we were going to do some shots over there. Busted” Caroline then went onto say. The penultimate song being Top Rated which appeared as the AA with Manners. I found Top Rated to be rather contagious and had everything you would expect from a pop song. “Thank you Camden Crawl for having us” they both said before ending with Weekend. The beginning started off as a chant then when the backing track kicked in the energy was turned up a notch. It there is a song that you could go crazy to then it was this one. The energy was full flowing. This song had the words Get Ready For The Weekend and to be honest it did just that. I found it to be one feel good number which was delivered to perfection.
I look forward to the day Icona Pop release the full length LP and the day when I see them live again.
Sun Goes Down
I Love It
Nights Like This