Day 2 of my 2011 Gaymers Camden Crawl experience. Day 1 went pretty well and I managed to catch eight or so bands that I'd never seen before in amongst some minor japery. I was determined on Day 2 to go one step further and check out even more new bands. I'm pleased to report that I managed that feat.
First up on Sunday were The History Of Apple Pie, one of the bands I'd recommended in part two of my Camden Crawl preview. They were showcasing their shoegaze-meets-C86 upstairs in the Lock Tavern. I think they're still finding their feet in the live environment but when speaking to them briefly afterward, they seemed genuinely excited about their forthcoming NME Emerge tour.
DOWNLOAD: Tug by The History Of Apple Pie
I popped across the road to the Roundhouse Terrace (probably my favourite venue of the whole weekend) to catch the dark, moody 2:54 in an unfamiliar setting of sunshine. Despite my reservations, they delivered their "sinister lo-fi" impeccably. This was soon followed by a brief impromptu chat with the the founder of a website that rhymes with Frowned In Sound. The blank look on his face as I introduced myself was pretty awkward/hilarious. But we got past that. I hope anyway.
STREAM: 2:54 - Creeping
Anyway, back to the live music and I managed to catch a smidgen of the tropical soul of Martyna Baker, including an actually enjoyable Kesha cover. Martyna and her musician pals were one of the few acts who actually looked like they were having fun. And I think that carried over into the audience.
DOWNLOAD: Don't Take My Eyes by Martyna Baker
I took the plunge and headed over to see Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All next at the rather spacious outdoor stage area. Multi-point bonus to Red Bull as they'd given a boatload of free tickets away for their stage. As for Odd Future, unlike much of the rest of the crowd, I wasn't blown away. They're undoubtedly energetic, charismatic performers but I didn't have much of a connection with their music or their anarchy.
Instead of going through the motions and hanging round till the end of the Odd Future set, I left early in the naive attempt to get on the Ray Ban Routemaster bus to see an intimate Let's Buy Happiness set. With only 15 people allowed on, I just missed out. And that meant I also missed out on the crazed end to the Odd Future set, with stage invasions and all that. Sucks to be me.
But then my luck came in. I guess it came in on the Saturday too, when I caught one of the few surprises of the weekend when Mark Ronson joined MNDR onstage to perform 'Bang Bang Bang'. But on the Sunday, I was one of a handful of people to see a secret unannounced Spector acoustic set on the bus that I'd failed to get on earlier in the day.
STREAM: Spector - Never Fade Away by Luv Luv Luv
Having to play your songs acoustically is often an acid test to see if they're any good. Spector passed their test with ease, although only actually played three of their yearning, romantic pop tracks - one of them repeated twice. Bigger tests are to come, as they told me of their upcoming support date for Hurts at Somerset House - which I'd normally have kept under wraps but I told Nadia from Gigwise...and well, she's already spilled the beans.
After a brief and unexpected experience of Giggs singing about "punani", I headed up to Kentish Town's Bull & Gate for Dutch Uncles. I've been on the fence a bit with their experimental indie-pop but they delivered a fascinating live performance, led by the hypnotic David Byrne-esque dancing of frontman, Duncan Wallis.
STREAM: Face In by Dutch Uncles
The next few bands proved to be a little bit disappointing - most likely due to my lack of familiarity with their bodies of work. The Phantom Band were far from a live spectacle while Guillemots ended up being ridiculously shoegazey, rather than quietly magical as I'd hoped. Most disappointingly, one of the weekend's headliners, British Sea Power failed to impress me despite their impressively arborial set.
In between all that disappointment came the joy of Young Dreams, who I hope it wouldn't be a disservice to call a Norwegian Animal Collective. It's a real shame that more people weren't around to witness their glorious set of tropical dream pop. Still, very deserving of my recommendation, to these biased eyes anyway.
STREAM: Young Dreams by Young Dreams
With next to no interest in seeing The Johnny Borrell Experience (aka Razorlight), I decided to finish off the evening by seeing the band I'd missed earlier, Let's Buy Happiness - one of my tips for 2011. As endearing live ("cheers m'dears", thanked frontwoman Sarah Hall at one point) as on record, their eighties-inspired indie soundscapes entranced the Kentish Town audience.
STREAM: Let's Buy Happiness - Woodrings
That was the end to my first ever Camden Crawl, which was an extremely enjoyable experience. Unless I was dealing with the staff at the Electric Ballroom. There were very few queues throughout the weekend so credit to the organisers - although more staggered stage times across venues would be most welcome. And even more brilliant bands during the day. Either way, see you next year.
Visit thecamdencrawl.com for more info. Check out the review of Saturday too.