Monday, 7 May 2012

Camden Crawl 2012

Sunday at the Camden Crawl. Only a 10 minutes bus ride from home commuting wise and pretty much hassle free.

The day started at the Press Room at Camden's Holiday Inn, where we got ourselves geared up for the day.

James Allan from Glasvegas happened to be around for a bit. All dress in black in his also black leather jacket. With a (yes, again) black guitar (like mine!) probably 20 times more expensive than mine, decided to grab a chair, accompanied by his cousin Rab sat down and played a couple of tunes in acoustic. Nice start. Needless to say, Rab was also wearing black. I liked James sunnies, now that I remembered.

With Regent's canal at the back, the press room was warming up for the last night of the Festival.

By 5 or 6 pm the bands were hungrily waiting at The Diner's door, queueing to grab a bite before the event. We made it on time to the restaurant avoiding all queues. Perfect timing. 

For you information, this was the set menu for lunch from the winners, I mean, the bands, and the roadies. True story.

Due to our lack of knowledge about most of the bands listed on the line up, we decided to gamble and play by venues. We had the risk of going for the worse bands, but at least we could cross out from our personal list venues that we hadn't been on before. We decided on the starting point to be The Jazz Cafe, so we crawled into the rest of the venues on the way to the Lock Market, in a very optimised number of them optimising the number of venues per hour.

Binary. When we arrived it had already started. I liked the first tune that I heard but the rest resulted a bit much for me though. They had energy, must admit. The crowd was not helping much either, we were probably 20-25 in the floor. Post-punk stuff.

As it finished, the lead singer, angrily threw away the microphone, not sure if he was making a statement, he was clumsy or he just fancied doing so. Anyways, after Binary, we headed to the Electric Ballroom, in which I had the opportunity to see a couple of months ago Sleigh Bells. I visited the Ballroom a couple of hours before for undisclosed reasons. Quite funny actually. 

On the advertising wall next to Camden Road I found this VERY disturbing ad to prevent hearing loss with loud music.

Yes. It was a mega big nail.

Ghetts. When we arrived at the EB, there were just two songs left. A very overpowered bass and speakers left us a bit like the ad above but still, we did enjoyed the performance. Chaps from East London apparently. Not my immediate type of thing but made us dance.

After chatting in the Press Room with some people and realising about the hype from the fact that Supergrass' Gaz Coombes was playing at The Cuban and how tiny was the venue, we decided not to care much about the gig but to go to the venue itself just for the sake of our curiosity. While having the conversation, I wasn't really realising who were we talking about until it suddenly hit me. Funny was that I am pretty sure that I bumped into Gaz him self minutes before, on my way back from the Barfly and thought: 'isn't this guy the chap from Supergrass?'. Turns out yes, he was.

Random Impulse. Funny thing is that before entering the venue, our friend C hinted us with the permanent 'sick' smell that The Cuban has at all times. It certainly remained yesterday. It was indeed a very small venue, and again, we played for the location more than for the band. Turned out to be quite a good gamble. A very unusual lineup of musicians turned up on the stage of the cuban themed pub. Main singer Jover Walker, which I just read to be named the Black Ed Sheeran (!!!) from North London. A very energetic bloke surrounded by the rest of the band to play their 'Britraprocker' music show (yes, first time I heard this word myself, but it is the right denomination according to The Guardian).

Mr Walker himself made all introductions accompanied at all times by his classical black Fender Stratocaster. On this left, 'Baby Face', that in other context would look like the typical 20 year-old IT friend that everybody has, but in this case, he was kitted up with an electric guitar too and which by they way, was not a bad guitarist at all. At the back of Walker, 'Delicious Bob', a funny action guy in the drums and finally 'Uni', the newbie of the band and certainly the youngest (and I wouldn't be surprised if somebody asked for his ID before being allowed into the venue). The first thing that really shocked me was the size of the 6-string bass that 'Uni' was carrying, that apparently was an *googles it* IbaƱez SR506. The poor thing looked pretty shy on stage in spite of the size of his instrument (sorry for the very obvious pun). But certainly, the very disturbing thing was imagining the story behind that mix'n'matched lineup, how it turned out to be together.

Jover made his homework quite well encouraging all of us in the crowd, unaware of their existence a few minutes ago, to engage with their songs and he certainly achieved it. 'Come on, some sing along with me guys. It's easy, just LALALALALA with me and you guys can pretend you heard the song before'. The lyrics talked about everyday issues 'like having no money and going overdraft' and all sorts, with melodies very clearly influenced by the Arctic Monkeys, but nevertheless, they all made us had a really good time. 

Yeah, some random and not necessarily exciting Street Art that I found on the way to the venues. 

Look! Naughty Queeny!!

Two Wounded Birds. Under my preferred list, I had jotted down the presence of 'Angry Birds' (nickname given by my friend C), in one of the probably dodgiest venues of the night, the Dingwalls. As it happens when booze is involved in any activity, a group of 18 year-old spent the whole gig dancing inebriatedly right in front of the band, putting them and the rest of the crowd in not a very good mood. 'Marry me Johnny (the main singer)' were screaming constantly. Nevertheless, their american vintage shirts from the guys and the fog machine diverted our thoughts from the disturbing group of kins after all. I sort of felt bad for the band as they were not officially listed on the program and they were just announced on Twitter a couple of ours before the event. Despite of all disruptions, the show was pretty good and the played a bunch of what I suppose are going to be, the tracks of their new LP.

As C wanted desperately to see The Cribs, we ran downhill to Koko (well, we didn't run that much), to try to get in as soon as possible before all the crowds filled the venues. As I had suspected, I had the feeling that this year's CC2012 was not as crowded as the previous one (most probably because of the HORRIBLE WEATHER), so I knew we were not going to have any problem to get it. In fact, we could even get the chance to be there halfway through Glasvegas show (win! 2x1). It was certainly a big contrast, seeing them a couple of ours before sitting down with their acoustic guitars and a couple of ours after with their full lineup and their standing-up drummer girl. 

Once the Scottish had finished, we feared for our lifes for a couple of minutes as Koko was dangerously crowded close to the bar and the toilets, which by the way, everytime I see them, I think they used to be secret war tunnels or something like that. They are certainly narrow and confusing. After the masses cleared at some degree, we placed ourselves closer to the stage to have a better view.

And The Cribs started their show.

Just in case anybody had any doubt, they ARE from Wakefield.

Even though all the hype around them and the fact that they appear in every single issue of the NME, they couldn't beat my physical exhaustion. Taking on account that I had just slept 2 hours the day before because unfortunately I had my phone stolen, their 15-song show appeared to me painfully long. After 3 of the songs, I refused get showered by flying pints of beer and moved to the side to a covered place. The views were fantastic and I was almost witness of the potential death of a drunk woman certainly excited dancing amusingly exited from one of the balconies in front. Fortunately, the night turned out safe as the husband hopessly holding her by her belt for safety.

While hiding from the pushing crowd and while easing my pain from my sore neck, I found out a furry creature on the corner of the little cave. After minutes of paranoia, it turned out to be a very tacky handbag from the lady besides me.

After 5 more songs, I couldn't the energy of the band, but for some reason all the songs sounded the same to me. By the time they were playing the 13th song, non-stop between each, I decided that I had had enough, and headed home for a much needed rest.

It might be a fact that we didn't make the wisest choice of bands at the beginning of the day, or at least the most interesting, but it certainly turned out to be extremely funny.

I forgot to say that in our way back, that resulted not as short as the way in, we witnessed a non-programmed last gig in the bus itself, performed by a very stoned Rastafari. 

Oh, and I high-five-ed with a walking Banana.

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