30 May 2015 (gig)
02 June 2015
The organisers of this years Camden Rocks festival certainly didn't spare any punches pulling the line up together. 200 bands playing over 20 venues, providing a mind boggling choice of gigs. Naturally, with so many bands on the schedule, decisions had to be made and some sort of plan put in place to get the most out of the day. So, we drew up our list of most wanted and headed out into the sunny, vibrant streets of Camden Town.
Grabbing the end of Love Zombies at Proud, we sneaked out for a quick coffee at the Stables Market, catching the busy vibe of a Saturday afternoon. Thinking we could jump straight back in to see singer songwriter Ginger Wildheart do his thing we hit our first queue of the day. As the minutes ticked by it soon became clear that we weren't getting back in. Foolish really, considering the man's reputation! So, admitting defeat we mused on catching Funeral for a Friend at the Black Heart, but that was already well underway. So, we tried the Cuban - packed out. A lesson learned which left us re-thinking our plan.
Hailing from sunny Huddersfield, true independent rockers Scaramanga Six were on in 20 minutes at the Good Mixer, so we decided on that and a pint of Guiness. Great, our first full set. Another Guiness and the munchies set in so off to Tortilla for a burrito. Then what next? Already the day was slipping away!
Little Comets were on at 8pm followed by Bradford rockers New Model Army, both at The Jazz Cafe. We'd already decided that both bands were a definite (ahead of Sonic Boom Six and Bullet For My Valentine who were already on at similar times at other venues) and we didn't want to be turned away for that. So, we took the easy option and headed straight to the Jazz Cafe earlier than planned to catch the Norfolk 5 piece, Vanilla Pod. A burly bunch of punk rockers, they knocked out a partly drunken set (that wasn't in the least bit jazz!) They were having fun, and confidently owned the stage, but by now we wanted something more engaging.
Little Comets didn't disappoint. They provided an elegant set, showcasing some of the best from their 3 albums. Lilting melodies, Caribbean-esq guitar riffs underpinned by a solid and creative drummer. Songs such as the poignant 'Violence Out Tonight' and 'Waiting in the Shadows' suggest a bright future for these musicians from the North of England.
Half the audience was already made up of black t-shirt clad middle aged NMA fans eagerly waiting (some all day) to catch the post-punk band play such a small venue. Little Comets flew right over some of their heads. Chalk and cheese it may have been, but NMA squeezed an energetic and angry hours worth of music that was worth the wait. Having thirty-plus years worth of tunes to choose from, they forwent any ballads and (save for a couple of songs) stuck mainly to recent material. Justin Sullivan seemed even more angry than usual at such close proximity and was riding high in the spirit of it when they had to call time to allow for an 'f-ing DJ' - as he put it - to take over.
So that was that. We didn't have tickets for the aftershow party so we meandered home. 4 and a bit gigs from 200 sounds rather pants. I'm guessing that next year we'll start earlier in the day. Still, a fun day out. The concept is great, though you almost wish it ran the same line-up over 2 days so that you can get a better taster of the variety. Not a bad idea, me thinks!