Live Reviews

The Camden Crawl 2008

Fri 18th- Sat 19th April
Camden, London

The Camden Crawl is becoming a bit of an indie marathon. Now stretched over 2 days, it’s 48 hours of musical mayhem. This indie festival is jam packed with bands, beer and blagging your way into after parties – as well as hauling arse up and down Camden High Street to get to the right bar. With 28 venues hosting gigs, alongside countless other guerrilla gigs (Future of the Left reportedly playing a great set in someone’s flat on Friday night!), it’s become the annual Mecca for indie kids, and this year proved no exception, even without the big names of 2007.

The Crawl kicked off in style on Friday afternoon and kudos to Enter Shikari who stole the show by picking up their fans in an old Route master bus for a MySpace secret show at the Bull & Gate. InnerPartySystem proved they’re the musical equivalent to a strong Bloody Mary for some, by blowing out the cobwebs with an opening set at The Good Mixer whilst Bombay Bicycle Club impressed all with a set on the outdoors stage, proving they are well deserving of the hype that’s surrounding them. Hadouken! bought their nu-rave sensibilities to the Crawl with a set at Bar Vinyl and another in the bracing outdoors, whilst Sam Sparro made the most of his chart success with a popular set at The Electric Ballroom..

Saturday dawned bright and breezy – with Camden scattered with some very hungover faces ready to face the music on Day 2 of the Camden Crawl. To start things off, still clutching coffees, we caught Boy Kill Boy’s set at the Electric Ballroom, which was a little underwhelming. Maybe they’re hungover, or maybe they’re all played out – but their set is wholly uninspiring…and so we meander down Camden High Street to see what we can see (which turns out to be a lot of scene hair cuts and some very skinny jeans.) Rumours are abounding that Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong (worst band name in history – Z-ed) have not only pulled out of their Dingwalls show, but have actually broken up. Having been flouted by all and sundry as the next big thing, could it be that it’s all going horribly wrong already? Whatever the reason for the no-show, the crowd are instead treated to Drew McConnell of Babyshambles, playing solo whilst Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty cools his heels in Pentonville.

Australians darlings Operator Please almost lift the roof off the Barfly with their evening slot, and it’s worth being elbowed and crushed whilst Amandah Wilkinson proving just what a talented and exciting vocalist she is – their set is one a definite highlight of the day, and probably one of the last times they’ll be playing a venue this small.

With so many bands stretched out over 2 miles square of Camden, it’s impossible to get to every show you want to see, and it’s frustrating racing from Chalk Farm down to the market to catch the last chords of a band you really wanted to see. One thing is guaranteed – you won’t see all the bands you hoped to see, no matter how hard you try. If you get into a venue it’s almost worth staying there all day to catch the headliners, instead of leaving and having the huge queues to face. And so while Crystal Castles take to the stage at Dingwalls we’re still pawing at the doors to get in. With all the hype surrounding this two piece from Toronto it seems to be the hot ticket of the day – to be honest, any band that’s named after She-Ra’s castle deserves recognition! But therein lies the charm of the Crawl – it takes planning and some dedicated queuing skills to get into the right gigs, and if you fail – you can just pretend you’re on a normal Camden night out, with a quick a drink in the Worlds End and a burger from Metro before getting the last bus home..

Dee Massey