Camden Rocks Festival festival started in 2009 as a much smaller affair, covering just a few venues and a few bands. Last year it was a much bigger deal and this year it was even bigger with over 20 venues and over 200 bands.
Camden is known as the rock and roll haven, so it’s the perfect location which a rich and vibrant music scene to chuck a load of bands on and allow the audience to wander around freely.
Which we certainly did and we caught as much as we could, but venues would reach capacity very quick in some cases and it’s almost impossible to see every band on the bill. There’s also the inevitability of bumping into old friends in Camden and spending some of your day have a good natter about who you’ve already seen, or making friends with a complete stranger outside The Monarch much like we did later in the evening.
Exit_International: We stayed at the Purple Turtle despite the slight lateness that was now running in the venue. Exit International dived from their van, tuned up and began rocking a set that was half picked by the crowd. I’ve seen this band play a few times before, but this was definitely their best performance yet with it’s unplanned nature and just sheer ‘this is all about the music’ vibe. The band of the day for me.
Blitz Kids: Had a huge crowd in the Electric Ballroom and a huge amount of sing-a-long vibe. Vocalist Joe James played to the crowd 110% and the girls down the front absolutely lapped up the attention they were being lavished with poses and winks. The band played incredibly well and there was a really happy vibe for early in the day.
Devil Sold His Soul: Camden Rocks requires a bit of diving around, but the short trip from the Ballroom to the Underworld is a perfect quick trip to dive in and catch some of Devil Sold His Soul. The only downside to the Underworld is it seems to swallow up the vocals a little as the rest of the instruments bounce of the ceiling and reverberate off the walls. We was also slightly surprised that there was not more of a crowd for DSHS, but it was clear to see the early part of the day was more for a younger audience and therefore left a few bands like DSHS out in the cold. They performed well for the small crowd however, just a shame about the acoustics of the venue
The Xcerts: They’re at the Jazz Café today, which seems a bit funny. The Xcerts are certainly not jazz, but they do have beautiful melodic tones and as ever they do play really well. You can’t really beat the Scots for a good echoing accent when singing.
The Hell: You either know who these guys are or you don’t, although today’s line up is relatively hidden as ever with The Hell. We thought they’d draw a bigger crowd for their humorous nature, but the venue is not as packed as we’d anticipated. However a top laugh was had by all there.
Fearless Vampire Killers: Been given an unusually high billing for a band whose set is shorter than the band that played before them. But they played well and the crowd was entertained with the make up gimmick/nature of the band. You know exactly what you’re getting with a band like FVK and they definitely delivered.
We was hoping to check out some more bands throughout the day, but we was collared by friends at various intervals throughout the day which meant we missed a couple bands on walk down to a venue. We also really wanted to check out a few others and they just filled up super quickly. Orange Goblin was totally filled, Ginger Wildheart too, The Blackout and Sam Duckworth to name a few. It’s a great way to find new music and check out some old, but it’s also a really sad way to realise you can’t see some of the bands you wanted to most without missing someone previous. I love the concept of an all dayer in Camden, it just maybe needs a tad of tweaking to give 15 minute breaks between some venues to allow you the chance to get down there. So if one starts at 4, the next at 4.10 or 4.15 and so on. That way you might at least get 2 halves of a set and still make it in to the venue. But either way it’s a fantastic day out and great value for money, a lot of fun!