Camden has long been a musical hot spot. Whether it’s Britpop or punk rock, it’s been key to more than one musical revolution. So a one day festival encompassing a whole host of venues makes perfect sense. Enter Camden Rocks, which features over two hundred bands, ranging from Bullet for My Valentine to competition winners. There was also beer, oh so much beer.
Before we get to that though, Dirty Thrills are my first band of the day and their Zeppelin infused rock and roll soon gets the still sluggish crowd on side. In fact, they draw in a pretty impressive group for a band on at 12 o’clock in the afternoon. They may well look old school, it’s all tight jeans and open chested shirts, but their blues filled rock has enough of a dirty edge to prevent this feeling dated. It’s a great dollop of rock and roll and it gets the day off to a great start.
Talking about rock and roll, The Amorettes are slowly making a name for themselves and they’re up next on the Proud stage. They manage to keep the crowd Dirty Thrills attracted and even add to it as they keep the good times coming. These Scottish ladies know what they are doing and half an hour of riff filled rock and roll, which is positively dripping in attitude, leaves everyone happy.
Following that, The Turning are just a bit bland. It doesn’t help that most of the crowd have evaporated in order to grab some lunch, but there is something lacking in their indie rock. After the first two bands they seriously lack a bit of balls and until they find an edge, their music will ultimately fail to linger long in the memory.
Thankfully, that’s not a statement that can be aimed at Love Zombies. Nothing this fun should be good for you and yet here it is. With the biggest crowd of the day so far, probably helped by the announcement lead singer Hollis will be joining Ginger Wildheart in Hey! Hello!, they take full advantage of the eyes on them. Their hook filled rock and roll has a huge seam of pop running through it and gets even the most miserable of attendants dancing. The aforementioned Hollis is destined to be a star and even manages to pull off a keytar without seeming ridiculous. With a debut album set for sometime in the future, these guys could well be the future.
Which brings us nicely to a man who is both the past and very much the future. Coming off of his Songs and Words tour, Ginger Wildheart is very obviously having a blast and as he rocks through a 45 minute medley that takes in most of his career, the crowd is coming right along with him. Joined by Jase Edwards of Wolfsbane and two acoustic guitars, everything is stripped right back and in many ways that serves to show just how good these songs are. They are so infectiously catchy and a look around the room shows more than one person caught up in their own little world, arms in the air and shouting along with glee.
Following that it feels time to move on and I reckoned I could handle a little bit more rock and roll. So go and see Black Spiders do their thing. I first saw this band with around ten people in Aberdeen and in the years since then they have slowly become one of the best rock and roll groups we have. When you can drop tracks like ‘Balls’, the brilliant ‘What Good’s a Rock Without a Roll’ and the epic sing along that is ‘Kiss Tried to Kill Me’, you are always going to be onto a good thing and the crowd is more than happy to sing along with every word. When lead singer Pete Sidby asks the audience to shout ‘fuck off Black Spiders’, they gladly join in. However it is safe to say the more we see of this band the better.
After all that I have to be honest and say I was rather drunk. Therefore, I find myself a seat to watch …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead. They’re a band that are far too good to watch in such a state and as they blast through a set of alternative rock I couldn’t help but wish I’d had one or two less drinks. From what I was able to comprehend though, this was good and I probably owe these guys one somewhere down the road. However, I was far too drunk to give an accurate review, so look elsewhere for that.
The break does mean I am more alive when While She Sleeps hit the stage, which can only be a good thing. After being taken out of action for a year, there were worries as to what would have changed when Sleeps came back. They were needless. All the changes have been for the better and following the release of Brainwashed they have a song catalogue that makes them perfect for these kinds of shows. Everything from ‘This is the Six’ to ‘Brainwashed’ sounds great. Meanwhile, Loz Taylor’s voice sounds like nothing has ever been wrong and he’s a frontman that gets the crowd onside. These guys have been given a lot of hype in the last few years and there are those that call them the future of British metal. If they can keep doing shows like this, they might just live up to that promise.
After Sleeps I see the queue for Skindred stretching round the block and decide it is time to call it a day. Despite this, Camden Rocks was more than a good day out. A fantastic mix of both the old and the new led to a day that involved copious beer, good people and good music. It really doesn’t get better than that.