LIVE: Camden Crawl 2012 – Saturday

By Tom Aylott

Marmozets @ Camden Gardens

For the first weekend in May, we decided to brave the mean streets of Camden for an entire weekend to experience first hand the madness that is the Camden Crawl. Spread over about 15 venues in Camden, the Crawl is a great showcase for just how many locations are able to host live music in such a compact bit of London, and despite the usual weekend visitors combined with extra festival attendees making the North London area even more difficult to navigate than usual, we put a few extra layers on for the unusually cold May weekend to experience some musical treats.

After collecting our passes at Holiday Inn / Media centre, we stuck around for a while to watch Clement Marfo [3/5] in action. Though it’s really not the usual thing we’d cover on Punktastic, the rock infused hip hop had enough of an alternative bite to make it worth a mention, and if you enjoy a bit of genre mashing, then you could do much worse than investing a few minutes checking the tunes out. Stylistically a world away but with a similar sentiment, SWN festival’s showcase at the Black Cap drew us to check out Trwbadors [2.5/5], whose synth infused lo fi acoustic indie will have a very precise audience (and not one we’d expect Punktastic readers to be part of by default), and though only the more “assisted” electronic parts of their sounds prevented the band fading into the chatter, they’re probably worth a listen if you’re in the right mood.

Next, a quick stop into the St Michaels for Race Horses [2.5/5] taught us a few things: 1. bars in churches are weird 2. Trash Talk screen prints being sold in churches is a bit weird 3. harps aren’t particularly punk 4. trumpets are still awesome 5. Race Horses aren’t sure what decade they’re in. Still, all good nostalgic alt-pop has its place, and though the ultra hipster approach wasn’t quite to our taste or attention spans, the band are certainly not devoid of talent.

We then ventured over to the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage for a trio of bands, and as the only outside stage of the weekend, it had the highest susceptibility to problems from the weather and sound. The first band we caught there was BIGkids [2.5/5], who carried some London punk sounds with their Ting Tings / classic pop sounds. It’s hard to see just how far the appeal of the band can go, but there’s no doubt that they’re entertaining to watch and given a decent push in the right direction, they’ll do alright for themselves.

Next up at Camden Gardens were Fearless Vampire Killers [2.5/5], and though there’s plenty of scope for bands of their irk to make a strong impression, they’ve got a long way to go before they really start to gain proper traction. The sound didn’t help them out much at all today though. At the end of Fearless Vampires Killers, the Red Bull DJ van had attracted a fairly large group of “standard Camden nutters”, most of which were completely unprepared for the sonic assault Marmozets [3/5] were about to deliver. Today, the sound on the stage let them down a fair bit, but the same energy that makes the band so great to watch still shone through, and it made us even more determined to catch their second set the day after.

We then ventured over to Camden’s Underworld to watch instrumental trio Brontide [4/5] do their thing. They had a fairly impressive crowd in the infamous venue, and produced as magnetic a performance to watch as ever. A few people seemed a bit taken by surprise, but everyone was enjoying themselves thoroughly.

After a brief recharge, we returned to the Underworld to close our evening off with Johnny Foreigner [3/5], who unfortunately did not enjoy a particularly full crowd. It was the first real established act of the weekend that suffered from the somewhat erratic clashes, and it was a real shame to see them have to battle for a crowd reaction. That said, the performance was still great, and they still remain a relatively underappreciated gem of the UK scene.


Brontide @ The Underworld