Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Camden Crawl Day 2 - finally the sun came out

Despite the hangovers we made an early start on Camden Crawl Day 2. I would highly recommend dragging yourself out of bed for the daytime programme as it is bloody good fun. There was some brilliant improv comedy at the Theatre Technis and stand-up courtsey of The Fix at the Camden Head. But it was Musical Bingo that really brought us out of our post-alcohol gloom. Big respect to Jess Indeedy and the crew for the lunch time fun.

As the evening drew closer it was time for band action. We headed over to the Electric Ballroom to see Midnight Jungernauts. We were a bit anoyed that the band were late on stage, and even more anoyed when they turned out not to be from Australia, have any guitars, or even be men. Oh dear, we were were at the wrong venue! We decided to stay anyway which probably turned out to be our smartest move of the entire festival.

The band we got to see was Gaggle. They're a 20 piece all girl choir that came on stage dressed like something out of Lord of the Flies. They delighted the crowd with pop songs that were both technically astounding and brilliantly funny. Their cover of Marina and the Diamonds', Mowgli's Road was a definate high, but I Like Cigarettes was a close second. They won Camden Crawl's Emerging Talent Show, and rightly so. The only question I had was why hasn't anyone thought of this before. Girl Power has never been so cool.

Next on the agenda was Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster at Koko. Although it wasn't the sort of music that I would ever buy, or even listen to at home, it was one hell of a gig. Guy McKnight is an amazing front man, working the crowd into a frenzy by crawling around on the stage on all fours and then launching into press ups. The audience were made up of some real die hard fans, and then others, like me, who were just enjoying the spectacle.

Back to The Underworld next for Surfer Blood. For all the joy that Koko brings me as a live music venue, the Underworld comes along and takes away again. Cramped and hot, with a view of the back of someone's head, it wasn't much of a live music experience. It's hard to concentrate on the band performing (somewhere) in front of you in such a miserable environment. Pass on that then and move on to the next.

Gang of Four were on at the Electric Ballroom so despite, not knowing much about the band we decided to give them a try. I'm not sure what to say, except the experience was a bit Spinal Tap. From the dad dancing, to staring out the crowd, the whole thing was a bit comical. Or maybe it was just the end of a long, alcohol influenced day. Either way, I couldn't really take them seriously.

The plan had been to stay on for Dan Le Sac vs Scroubius Pip, but sadly we were too tired, so decided to catch the last tube home. If anyone saw it, let me know what it was like...so long as you reassure me it was rubbish. I wouldn't want to think I'd mised anything!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Camden Crawl 2010 - 2 days of music, rain and too much sake

The annual pilgramage that is Camden Crawl did not get off to a good start this year. The heavens opened as we approached the north London suburb and the queue that greeted us was heart sinking. It is astounding that the Crawl has been running for this many years and still can't get it right (anyone for multiple wrist band collection points perhaps?).

Having said that the queue did move fairly quickly. Once tagged, a few beers in the Enterprise revived us. Then after a scour of the timetable and we decided to make our way to the Electric Ballroom to see Wild Palms.

Wild Plams are a fairly standard four piece. Their drummer is amazing, but their singer really lets them down. Even the one song that could have been good was let down by his shoddy vocals and poor timing. Shame.

Although we were only one band in, a diversion to a Japanese restaurant was scheduled for some much needed sushi snacks. The plan was to go and see Mount Kimbie afterwards, but an inability to read the timetable and too much sake meant we missed them. Oh well, it was off to see Dead Meadow instead.

Dead Meadow hail from California and have great moustaches and can really play guitar. They are slick and professional, nailing that 70s rock/psychedelia vibe like no other. However I did wonder whether we really need yet another band that sounds like Led Zeppelin. It would be nice if they could bring something new to the party.

Next off to Koko for Teenage Fanclub. I was excited at seeing an old teenage favourite of mine and even though I owned Bandwagonesque at some point, I couldn't remember a single tune from it. I was hoping that the gig would awaken some memories, but alas not. It was slightly disappointing to be honest, as although faultless, the performance left me feeling a bit cold. It seemed to go down well with the rest of the crowd though, with some spectacular moshing to some pretty relaxed and melodic music.

After Koko we headed to the Blues Kitchen to see Silver Columns. This was the top pick of my night so I was expecting great things. However, whatever went on in the midnight slot sounded nothing like any of the Silver Columns stuff I'd heard. If anyone else was there and can shed some light on to this I would love to know. Was I the only one to leave disappointed?

So at the end of day one I was left with a slightly bitter taste in the mouth, but day two was still ahead of us with all sorts on offer. Stay tuned for more...