Monday 27 April 2009

Camden Crawl Day Two - Saturday 25th April 2009


Back again for Day Two of the 2009 Camden Crawl. There are more folk about than yesterday, what with it being a Saturday and all, and it is gloriously sunny.

So best to get inside quick. Starting off in the World’s End once more, we catch the end of a set from Bleech, who are just as much fun as they were yesterday.

A venue we have not been to yet is The Constitution, a pub set alone along the Camden canal. Upon arriving, the bad news is V V Brown getting into a car and driving off. The good news is that a band is set up and about to play.

This is Innerpartysystem, a metal/emo dance act who are officially slated to play the midnight slot at one of the bigger venues. In this tiny space they are little short of incandescent. To say the band are full-on would be an understatement, they scream and roar and pound their vast banks of equipment so hard that a roadie has to hold onto it throughout to stop everything from flying everywhere.

An unusual feature of this act is that their sound engineer is equipped with a microphone and can be seen hollering along in the background. The band are pouring sweat, and the guitarist cadges drinks from the crowd, before spraying beer all over the ceiling and diving into the throng. Subtle they ain’t, great fun they are.

Deafened and cheerful we head into the Electric Ballroom to catch a routine set from General Fiasco. Others with me enjoy them more than I do, but I get distracted by a vintage pinball machine and shamefully spend the time playing that.

Next we squeeze into the long, humid corridor that is the Black Cap to watch The XX. This lot are very interesting, being almost the complete antithesis of the sort of act that you would associate with this venue. They are spindly and intense and quiet, recalling nothing so much as an electronic take on Young Marble Giants. Those at the back can’t see them, and their calls threaten to drown the band out. Definitely ones to watch.

Across the road we find Hexes in full flow. They are pretty much exact copies of The Computers from yesterday. Hardcore, screaming etc. OK in small doses.

At this stage of the evening, something strange happens. The venues on the Crawl stop letting people in, and make them queue outside instead. This is not because the places are busy – The Electric Ballroom is barely half full. It seems to be a ploy to make a venue look attractive because of a line of bodies outside. After a brief hiatus its into the Earl of Camden for The Laurel Collective.

This band are jolly sorts, if rather underpowered. They have gathered comparisons with TV On The Radio, but this seems more to do with the personnel in the band rather than any specific musical similarity. The crowd likes them, and this small space suits their handheld percussion and twitchy rhythms.

In the Jazz Café, we find Xrabit & DMG$ stripped to the waist and leading a tiny but enthusiastic audience in a call and response routine. We’re a bit too late to make much sense of this, but everyone is sweating profusely and having a ball.

We’ve come for the next act, Goldielocks, aka the Queen of UK grime. When she comes onstage, the DJ has been playing a set of cheesy House bangers and the vibe is more like a hen night than an urban club. However, Goldielocks is a real pro and works the crowd with tracks such as ‘Smash & Grab’ and ‘Kids’. She can’t quite keep the exasperation and annoyance off her face –this is not her usual crowd and they don’t really know what is expected of them. It’s an enjoyable set, even if she isn’t enjoying it much herself.

So, that’s the Crawl for another year. The organisers will doubtless point to the success of the Roundhouse enormo gigs, but the rest of the venues seem to be losing out. I’ve seen some very good acts and doubtless missed many more. Roll on next year.

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