Britain needs more festivals like this. Festivals that aren’t affected by rain, wind or mud. Festivals that have venues with four walls and a ceiling, an easy to reach bar and toilets that are more than mere holes in the ground. So me and my (very hung over) editor headed over to the streets of Camden Town to see what bands we could see in some of the best bars London has to offer.
I can’t tell you how great it was to see a band like our first contenders, Sonic Boom Six, in an environment where the acoustics didn’t get lost to the atmosphere. This is great for a band like this too because Sonic Boom Six have bass so booming it could make your drink go flat. It runs through the floor like current electrifying the crowd. The energetic performances from the band members was infectious, whipping the crowd into a frenzy proving to be a stage setter for the rest of the evening. This is how you want all your gigs to go.
Turbowolf was next and they upped the anti in both energy and eccentricity. Turbowolf are an old school rock band with 21st century advancements. Frontman Chris Georgiadis both looks and sounds like he just came out of a time machine and the future has blown his mind. The guitars pulsate like blood rushing through your veins and the songs sound like the score to the most epic high of your life.
Word of warning to anyone going to a festival of this nature though. Bar rooms are not fields, they don’t go on for miles and you can’t park yourself on a hill to catch some tunes from a safe distance. If you find yourself late getting to a venue, you may just want to get to your next venue early. Some of the bars fill up quick and the only way you’re finding room is if you get there in-between bands. We tried to get into some of the smaller acoustic stages to find our way blocked by bouncers managing capacity and no amount of queue jump passes were going to get us in.
We finally decided on getting back to the Electric Ballroom for Dinosaur Pile Up. This band are extremely evocative of Ash and Silverchair. Those kinds of post 90’s alternative troopers that were made up from the remnants of Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Mudhoney. The feather like lightness of the leads voice contrasts nicely with the heavy overdrive of the guitars, some of these riffs hit like a truck.
Nine Black Alps at Dingwalls were my most anticipated of the day, I was a huge fan of their first album Everything Is and seeing them here brought back welcome memories of the old Astoria on Charing Cross Road. Whereas bands like Dinosaur Pile Up sound inspired by the Seattle giants Nine Black Alps sound like they could have been one of their number. Melodius riffs with a sharp tone that cuts like a razor blade and frontman Sam Forrest’s voice is so course it could rip up concrete. You’re throat gets saw just listening to him.
The final act we saw on this glorious night was The Virginmarys. For a band named after a non-alcoholic cocktail, they’ve got a kick like a single-malt. They have great biblical, apocalyptic lyrics and songs thick in dirty, sleazy, rock & roll. There is nothing clean cut, polished or sterile about them, they have more life than a tramps vest and a sound just as dirty.
So our trip to Camden was a rousing success. I can’t wait to do it next year.