The Camden Crawl 2012

Sunday, 6th May, 3pm: After our huge day previously, our hangovers were also pretty huge, so we decided to take in some comedy over at The Camden Head. A bunch of fine comedians took the small stage with a excellent compere (who’s name escapes me) in-between. It was the final act, Carey Marx that shined the the most and had the audience in stitches with his dark, somewhat controversial humour and cheeky delivery.

He’s certainly no stranger when it comes to the comedy circuit as he’s appeared on many TV shows and at festivals. He’s also a favourite down-under, winning the best international show at the New Zealand Comedy Festival in 2009 and 2011.

After the fun we popped over to The Good Mixer to check out some of the bands playing there and to decide what course of action we would take for the rest of the festival. A couple of English ciders and a falafel wrap later, then we check our watches.

Devin - Camden Crawl 20127pm: It’s time for Devin playing at Underworld. On arrival, I’m totally surprised to find about 6 people at the venue. I can’t believe this cos according to sources, Devin is the next big thing to come out of the U-S of A. We wait around thinking we’re about to get the most intimate gig of the whole crawl. The baby-faced rock ‘n’ roll assassin takes to the stage and introduces himself and his band in a nasal, tranquilized, New York accent then kicks into his set. Slowly but surely the crowd builds and builds until the room is almost at it’s capacity.

This guy is electrifyingly good with his sharp rock ‘n’ roll that pays homage to 50’s garage and rockabilly. If you like Dan Sartain without the punk, then Mr. Devin should be your cup of tea. Check out his awesome debut single, You’re Mine!

Time, 8:05pm: We had to make a decision. Should be go and see the hip-hop beat, rock ‘n’ roll fusion act, Willy Moon or do we go and see Bellakiss, a psych-rock band who’d recently supported Kasabian? We opted for the later.

So we head over to Dingwalls to find Bellakiss had already started their set. This is the set up: drummer to the rear, guitarist to the left, lead guitarist to the right with the bassist in the centre. Bassist in the centre (I hear you cry), what’s this …a bassist taking centre stage?

There is a reason behind this. The bassist is a sexy young, domineering vixen with all eyes clearly on her. Now of course I don’t have any problems with sexy women, but this was totally distracting. I can’t engage with my music like this. The music wasn’t terrible by any means but not amazing, or perhaps it was, I couldn’t tell because of the beguilement. I couldn’t help thinking that the band had put her there for one reason only – because their songs weren’t strong enough! Quite frankly, without sounding too disrespectful, the bassist wouldn’t have looked out of place at a pole-dancing club. I bet Willy Moon was out of this world.

The time’s now 9:10pm: It seems that Heroes are having further technical problems so Cashier No.9 are delayed. So we pop over the road to The Abbey Tavern to see at least some of Liz Green. The Tavern is in a rambunctious mood as Liz is setting up with her band. Obviously aware of the noise, she speaks to her drummer, “Shall we start? Well, I guess we’re here now!”. She opens with an a-capella number and abruptly the noise ceases. I kid you not, you could’ve heard a pin drop.

Green’s voice is astonishingly beautiful. If I had to make a comparison I would say Billie Holiday. The song finishes and the whole tavern erupted with applause. Liz looks completely shocked by the attention which is all together endearing. We hear another angelic song but then regrettably move on. This is the nature of the crawl, it’s impossible to see everything. With those two songs by Liz Green, it’s enough for me to go and watch her again and buy her album, O, Devotion!

Cashier No.9 finally finish their sound check. This is another band that I find hard to believe aren’t massive. Their music is a blend of 60’s Americana, with psychedelic folk. Each song they blast out sounds like a bona fide classic – tracks such as Goldstar and Lost At Sea. Most bands would find it hard to write songs this good in their whole career.

The Cribs - Camden Crawl

10:45pm: We’re at Camden’s most impressive venue, Koko to witness our final act of the festival, The Cribs (pictured above).

The Cribs are an English three-piece indie rock band from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. The band consists of twins Gary and Ryan Jarman and their younger brother Ross. Ex-The Smiths guitar legend Johnny Marr was in the group from 2008 until 2011. So this was the first outing for the Jarman bros since his departure. Judging by the amount of people that turned up, I don’t think Marr was greatly missed.

I’ve been to Koko loads of times and I’ve never seen it this packed before. The Cribs played out many new songs from their latest album, In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull – which I think is an excellent name for an album. These new tracks including the latest single, Come On, Be A No-One – a fist thumping in the air, riot of a track. It went down really well with the awaiting crowd.

They are at times out of tune but this doesn’t really matter as that’s over shadowed by the twins charisma. By far the best moments for me are the classics, Cheat On Me, and the anthem, Men’s Needs.

We leave Koko after the gig very tired, a bit tipsy and slightly deafened, but safe in the knowledge of experiencing another fantastic crawl. Phew! Here’s to 2013!