Camden Crawl (4-6 May 2012) // Words: Saam Das
Last year, I somehow managed to see twenty bands across two days of the Camden Crawl. This year, I didn't quite get that far but came surprisingly close. Here's something of a chronological splurge of my wanderings around Camden on the Saturday of the festival (which followed the opening night's Koko event, somewhat separate from the Crawl itself).
I began my Crawl comparatively late on, making my way down for Three Trapped Tigers in the late afternoon/early evening slot at Koko. Their thrilling instrumental sonic assault opened the curtains in the most visceral way I could have imagined. Hints of 65 Days Of Static and an awe-inspiring drumming spectacle from Adam Betts, also of Emperor Yes.
From there I popped across the road for Trophy Wife and their hypnotic, pulsating indie at the Purple Turtle - a venue of the same name also exists in the band's hometown of Oxford, which they claimed was "shit" and "smells of soap". I'm not sure about all that but they brought their Blessing Force A-game for this show.
The Jazz Cafe was next on the list, with an unexpected (but short) queue. A lady asked me whether I was looking forward to seeing Clement Marfo. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have told her that they'd almost definitely finished, seeing as their stage time was an hour ago. She looked devastated. A lesson to all future Crawl-ers, pay attention to set times. (n.b this doesn't always guarantee Crawl success - Heroes Bar, for example, occasionally ran over an hour late.)
Anyway, I had popped into the Jazz Cafe for Admiral Fallow, who largely impressed with their folk leaning offerings, reminiscent of fellow countrymen Frightened Rabbit. The level of chatter was a disappointment, although I was later told that it was nothing in comparison to the drunken din for The Futureheads, who headlined Koko with their newly found acapella talents but were a mismatch for their inebriated foes/audience.
Unfortunately, Admiral Fallow took their jolly time causing the Jazz Cafe to run a bit late. I'd really wanted to catch Chew Lips but after hanging around in relative boredom for a while, ran down to the road to the Earl Of Camden to catch another of our suggested bands for the 2012 Camden Crawl, Swiss Lips. Playing the now traditional five song Swiss Lips set, I only actually saw one of their tracks - the hit-in-waiting 'Grow' but it was worth it, despite the venue's awkward lack of stage.
For some reason, I decided that going to see The Big Pink at Koko might be advisable instead of returning to the Jazz Cafe. I was sorely disappointed with their "lad-rock"-esque demeanour yet impressed at the manner in which they galvanised the crowd. (Admittedly, a crowd full of people happy to barge past fellow punters and pour beer all over them.) Regardless, their live sound really needs work, with even the smash hit 'Dominos' sounding flat.
I hadn't held out much hope to see BASTILLE at one of the Crawl's smaller venues, the upstairs room at The Enterprise, yet I got in with relative ease. A triumphant set ensued in intimate surroundings, complete with the trademark Enterprise bouncy floor. Any potential naysayers in the crowd were won over by 'What Would You Do?' and 'Of The Night', both off the free 'Other People's Heartache' mixtape. A splendid pop act, and a splendid way to finish the evening.
Find more info at thecamdencrawl.com. Click to read our review of the Sunday at Camden Crawl 2012.
Festival Review: Camden Crawl 2012 [Saturday 5 May]
Posted by Saam Das at 08:30 on Tuesday, May 08, 2012