by Lee Hazell
CC14 – formerly known as The Camden Crawl – has always been known as one of the best indie festivals on the planet. Mostly featuring bands far too good to be played on any mainstream music radio station, this year’s Camden Crawl played host to the likes of ABC, Of Montreal and Atari Teenage Riot.
I started off my time in Camden slowly, by checking out the quizzes in The Black Cap, Camden’s legendary LGBT pub. There to start off my night was Geeks Inc, a genius couple of events organizers that saw the staggering potential of combining the two things geeks cherish more than anything else; ridiculous fanboy obsession and proving you know more about something than anyone else. I’m amazed no one has tried to make money like this before. You can see these guys at The Monarch in Camden, The Forum in Sheffield or the Belgrade Music Hall and Canteen in Leeds, but you need to visit the website for details. The next takes place on the 8th of July and is based around that little known Sci-fi show about the nice man in the blue telephone box.
Did I win? Of course I didn’t, I didn’t even participate. It wouldn’t have been fair on everybody else. Then there was the Sounds Familiar Music Quiz, a quiz so awesome you don’t need to know any of the answers to be able to enjoy. They play a bunch of great remixes and you have to guess what their made up of. Some of these tunes are better than the originals.
After that I felt like a laugh, so I headed down to the Camden Head to take in some comedy. Instead I got some erotic poetry from Lou Sanders, a trade I was happy to make. She’s bonkers that one and very funny.
Right so we’re warmed up, let’s get some music in us. I headed off to see Dry the River at the Electric Ballroom. Like a British Fleet Foxes – British in every sense of the word, not just in style but in attitude; there is a modesty to them, a shyness in the face of all the attention – they are all harmonic falsetto and gentle guitar. There is an element of myth in their lyrics, the stories they tell would sound mundane if not infused with the Biblical lore that elevates and enriches them.
Gnarwolves were next and this was a hell of a change of pace; like exiting Kew Gardens to run straight into the London Riots. They sound like Weezer would have done later on if they got more angry and less shit. Short songs mean if you don’t like this one, you don’t have long to wait for another. It adds a punk rock kick to the set, each song sounds like a statement, a point to be made; and when it’s done they move on to the next with an unwavering determination, never looking back.
You remember how At the Drive In used to start off as loud and fast as you thought it could possibly get, only to blow the already straining speakers with an explosion of noise that made the rest sound like Greensleeves in comparison? Yeah well I get the feeling Relashionship of Command got a fair few plays on Johnny Foreigners teenage high fi. A band in a constant state of acceleration, the last couple of tracks were played with such speed and ferocity the guitarist’s wrist looked like it was literally whipping up the crowd into a frenzy.
The last band I saw of the night was Big Deal back where it all began at the Black Cap. If listening to the last two bands was like falling through the sky, this was like landing on a soft, luxurious pillow. The vocals gently lull you along, while the distorted guitars are just heavy enough to keep you on your feet, but ethereal enough to keep your buzz going. Great end. Great night.