LIVE: Camden Crawl 2012 – Sunday

By Tom Aylott

Rolo Tomassi @ KoKo

After a thoroughly deserved rest from Saturday’s proceedings, we ventured out for day two of Camden’s multi venue adventure. We got an early start today as it was the “bigger” of the two days for us, and the first act we had in our targets today was over at the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage.

Unfortunately, Throwing Up [1.5/5] really weren’t how we wanted to start of the day. Whether it was the sound giving off a bad impression or the band having a bit of an off-day we’re not sure, but the female led punks went a little too close to the bone on the “female fronted grunge/punk band” clichés and they didn’t really make a favourable impression.

The band up next, however, were a totally different matter all together. The Wheelbarrow was spilling out for Tall Ships [4.5/5] at the This Is Fake DIY showcase, and they put on a typically excellent show. It was a lovely setting for the band, and the excellent work put into the guitar and vocal loops made them one of the highlights of the weekend.

Next up was a long afternoon at KoKo, and there’s no doubt that [me] [2.5/5]were on WAY too early in the day. The crowd for them was sparse and spread out over too many levels, and though their Panic! At The Disco meets Muse combo felt a little outdated, they deserved a much better slot than the graveyard shift.

At this point we were wondering why on earth such a sizable venue was being utilised in the day at all and worried for the next few bands, but thankfully The James Cleaver Quintet [4/5] started to a larger crowd and delivered a solid performance. The band have come a long way in the last few years, and with more performances like this, they’ve got nowhere to go but upwards.

Next up, Rolo Tomassi [3.5/5] delivered more of the same to a swelling crowd, and though the two new additions to the line up haven’t quite found their feet with the band’s older material yet, there’s plenty of promise for their forthcoming material, and Eva is fantastic frontwoman to one of the UK’s finest and weirdest rock bands.

To close off a bit of a surreal afternoon at KoKo is Kids In Glass Houses [4/5], who deliver a range of tracks from their back catalogue with great finesse. Vocalist Aled ends up in the crowd for a bit of a dance at one point, and manages to keep a slightly perplexed crowd entertained for the duration. It’s a bit of a weird set for them because there’s clearly a room with a whole load of people that aren’t their usual fans, but they make the most of it and it’s great to watch.

A short break later and we end up at the Earl of Camden for a sizeable chunk of the evening, with Blaklisters [4.5/5] doing the business with one of the best sets of the weekend. The punk rock contingent certainly isn’t the strongest at Camden Crawl, but the band’s set is fantastic, and capped off by a man in a leather jacket and cowboy hat whooping into the microphone as they close their set. The band’s ‘BLKLSTRS’ album is excellent, and it’s the first time we’ve seen them since release. Expect to hear plenty more from them this weekend.

The weekend took its toll on our feet, as we opted to stick around for 22 [3/5] instead of venturing to watch The JCQ again or Hawk Eyes. In the end we didn’t feel too bad, as the experimental Norwegian rockers are great to watch live, but even the vast energy couldn’t quite get them as connected to the crowd as they would have liked, and we couldn’t help but feel they’d have suited a different bill rather than being stuck between two heavy punk bands, the next of which found themselves in a far more natural environment today.

Marmozets [4.5/5], having fallen a little flat the day before on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam stage, were impossible to turn away from at the Earl Of Camden, making light work of turning it into a floor show and spending half the time on the floor. The sound today lets them let loose much more, and it’s this kind of show that’s garnering them attention everywhere. The combination of technical skill and blatant disregard for their surroundings makes them unmissable in this environment, and despite a few technical hitches, they’re on electric form.

Finally, we venture to the Electric Ballroom to watch And So I Watch You From Afar [5/5] bring things to a close. We missed a few tracks and the venue is nothing like as full as it should be, but the band are just something else. It’s rare that instrumental acts can keep attention as well as ASIWYFA, but there’s no doubting the band’s ability and gratefulness for what they get to do. The band were a fantastic way to round off the festival for us, and all in all, Camden Crawl 2012 was a fantastic weekend. We manage to spend much of our time at “alternative” choices, away from the biggest names most of the time, but for it we saw some excellent moments that should have been witnessed by many more. It’d be great to see the festival prevent a few of the heavier bands clashing next year and avoiding a split in the “rock” fans in attendance, but otherwise it was another great weekend in the calendar that we look forward to being hungover after in 2013.


Blacklisters @ The Earl Of Camden