It really is something spectacular. A sight to behold as you walk through Camden the day of the infamous Camden Rocks festival takes place. Its not your usual London hustle and bustle for those people have probably opted to avoid the place on this day. Instead its buzzing with music fans weaving in and out of each other with pieces of paper in their hands informing them of the times the 250 bands are playing across the 25 different venues in the area. Just like every year, this is Camden Rocks Festival and on this day, it has taken over. Its holding your Camden town hostage and its all for the cause of great live music.
It’s a very long day filled with so many bands its hard to know where to even begin. The good news is we were given a few recommendations on bands to check out that just so happen to be early on in the day and without clashes so we make our way to the first venue of the day, The Lyttleton Arms for Tiny Giant as they take to the stage to make anything but a tiny noise. Having played last years Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds Festival, its easy to see why the band have been gaining a lot of following as of late. We have to admit, they were a new on for us but their sound was bursting with catchy hooks with little slices of electronic planted nicely that fills the room and could even pass as slightly 80's sounding. We liked this a lot!
No rest for the wicked though as it already feels like time is getting away from us as we head to The Fiddlers Elbow for yet another recommendation that proved to be wonderful. This time Daxx & Roxanne who's high energy rock and roll fills the tiny space nicely. Both guitarist and bassist possibly pick up the award for looking as if they're having the most fun throughout the set. And the added harmonica into the music was a nice addition giving their pure rock vibe a rather southern sound even if it was for just a moment.
Over to a new addition for the festival this year. A venue we have loved for quite some time making its debut and hosting some of the days great bands. The party at the Koko for us gets started with Bad Touch another band getting a lot of attention right now. Needless to say there is a hell of a lot of hair on the stage when the band makes their entrance. Songs such as '99%' fill the Koko with delight in a rocking frenzy that almost sounds rather country at times. It’s the feel good moment of the day as the fans really start to pack out all of the venues at this point and the beers are really starting to flow. Its here the real festival atmosphere really starts to make an appearance.
The Electric Ballroom is our home for the next few bands which is good because at this point we are already getting tired and the walk back from the Koko was painful. A quick stop at Sainsburys ensures we have access to a cheeky red bull which gives us a much needed energy boost. That being said, we question if we ever needed it after witnessing The King Blues tear the roof off the venue. Having been no stranger to the festival, the band are back on a bigger and better stage. Bodies are moving, and the constant urge to nod your head to the music is apparent. The die hard fans are singing and its just the pick me up we needed. Was it the red bull? Or was it The King Blues? Fuck it, we'll go with the latter.
By the time Pulled Apart By Horses are finished, we all feel like...well...we have been pulled apart by horses! It’s a band name that complete sums up the feeling after they leave the stage. It’s a good thing. It’s a wonderfully chaotic live show that for some, will make them tremble at the knees. Moments of harsh noisy goodness intertwined with moments of calm all make for a great live experience and Pulled Apart By Horses leave nothing behind as they give everything to those in attendance at the ballroom. One of the standout performances of the day.
The Professionals who rose from the ashes of The Sex Pistols are one of the most anticipated bands on the bill for the day. Their old school punk vibes do well to keep the interest of those familiar with the scene. Its exciting and old school but at times had us checking the stage times for other bands towards the end of the set. Regardless, it’s a great throwback to the days of punk and the fans in the crowed more than agreed as they jumped and sang along.
Where everything feels like its centred around the stoner rock genre these days, its Orange Goblin that stick out slightly on this line-up. It’s a nice change from all of the shows and festivals out there right now heavily featuring bands of the genre and whilst there aren't many bands quite like them on the line-up, they pull a great crowd that frontman Ben Ward asks everyone to "Get Sweaty" in the ballroom. And we can tell you, they did just that.
As the slay is drawing to a close, most venues are operating at full capacity now. The Damned are the first of what feels like a double headliner and boy did they put on a show like one. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of punk and maintaining the general feel of this years Camden Rocks festival, The Damned keep thinks fast and loud. Fans old and new in the crowed giving back to the band some great sing a longs and with everyone in the room moving some part of their body to the music especially to 'Nasty' which was always going to be a stand out track in the set list.
Feeder are the ones that end out day as we walk the dreaded walk back to the Koko. It’s not who we would have had pegged as the festivals headliner but in all fairness, they drew a great crowd who were treated to quite the setlist forcing huge crowd sing a longs. 'Seven Days In The Sun' in particular forced most to sing " She's like heaven" at the top of their voice whether they wanted to or not! Bodies were jumping around like lunatics and the vibe inside the Koko is infections with feel good hits that defined Feeders sound back in the day. 'Just A Day' is another track in the set list that gains huge reactions from the crowed proving that after all these years people do indeed care about Feeder.