Camden Rocks Festival 2015
Saturday 30th May 2015
It’s always exciting to get the festival experience to the sheltered urban playground as opposed to elements exposed mud filled gatherings. With superior sound, proper beer, great venues and that wildly eclectic vibe, Camden is the perfect host for a day of upcoming and established Rock. We started out in true festival fashion in the Brewdog Pub catching a couple of acoustic song smiths Andy Smith and Danny Wright down in the basement. This only served to amplify the need for amplification and just down the road @ which can only be described as featureless cellar we caught EofE. These pop/rock have a real metallic edge live and engaging youthful angst was nicely served up over rampant riffs.
Heading to different class of venue we upgraded from the basement to the balcony at the Jazz Cafe to catch a trio of promising young bands. Before that however we managed to arrive for the last track of the Broken Witt Rebels, whose sound is akin to early days Kings of Leon strutting with a bluesy swagger. Gravel voiced and wailing guitars aplenty this was a rather cool, albeit brief cameo appearance.
Broken Witt Rebels
The no frills 2 minute fun punk rock of Brawlers were up next. Their brand of carefree power chord pummeling and socially slanted lyrics were both immediate and damn infectious. They seems to be having a blast and their bouncing around spurred on those in the crowd who (just after lunch )were already in advanced states of intoxication.
Next Up were the Graveltones, a heavy blues rock duo that deal in dirty licks and loudness. Most memorable was their thunderclap drumming, splitting eardrums with each hammer blow on the skins. When they ramped up the energy they were free flowing with riffs and grooves galore. When they slowed the pace they did labour somewhat into repetition. Plenty of promise nonetheless.
Now to the one I have been waiting for, underground rock/grunge/pop/punk hero Matt Bigland and his band Dinosaur Pile-Up. With 3 albums of high octance pop, unhinged rock and nirvana-esque vibes I was eagerly anticipating seeing these guys again. I was sadly disappointed though. They clearly suffered from dodgy sound throughout their first 2-3 tracks and Matt was getting more and more agitated with every off colour note. Eventually half way through we left, it was difficult to watch a great band self destruct and we were getting hungry too!
Fed and watered from a variety of camden market vendors the DiR crew strode with purpose to Mr Flowers pick of the day, alt rock legends …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Their brand of energizes prog pulsed rock was in full flow this evening. Huge dynamic shifts, oppressive volumes, walls and layers of guitars all present and correct. Not to everyone’s taste though as the words boring and dull were also uttered.
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.
Recovering from temporary hearing loss, we ventured through the streets and ended up picking a random band out in a smaller bar, this just so happened to be Ducking Punches. We were greeting by a small acoustic gaggle of guitar, drums and the occasional violin fronted by a chap that was telling tales of life in small town Suffolk. It was immediately engaging and relatable through the story telling and singalong chorus’s. The standout moment of the day came from a melancholic muse over a lost friend, beautiful and heart-string tugging.
Most of the gang had now split and only the hardy few were left to check-out the clubthumping dance/dubstep-metal of Modestep. Their huge 8 string guitars were suitably downtuned ready to chug out rapturous melodies that blew off the roof. More Djent than expected they relied more on dub and electro which fitted the time and the club vibe, but didn’t strike any true differentiation from a DJ with a loud guitar.
All in all, one thing that can be agreed was Camden well and truly rocked!