Sunday At The Camden Crawl

by AlanAshtonSmith
AlanAshtonSmith
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on 07 May 2012 in Features

It’s Sunday afternoon at the Camden Crawl, and there are plenty of folk staggering from venue to venue as they recover from Saturday. I wander into The Monarch and discover plenty more folk who’ve obviously recovered already and are well on their way to getting battered. And battered seems to be the right frame of mind for Karauke. If you’re thinking that sounds like a combination of karaoke and ukulele then you’re right: this is just like karaoke, except instead of a backing track you have a ten-piece ukulele band accompanying you.

We head over to the outdoor arena in Camden Gardens to see what’s going on there, and find Japanese electro-metallers Crossfaith taking to the stage. Their music is absolutely monstrous stuff, and a few minutes is more than enough for fragile heads to take. A quiet pint in the Hawley Arms seems like a good idea: fortunately this doesn’t preclude us from catching some more music, as local post-punk band Juliettes are playing a gig there as part of the Crawl’s fringe.

Saturday ended up being less of a crawl and more of a wander, so I decide to plot a rough route that takes us through the market to Chalk Farm, then back into the centre of Camden Town and finally down to Mornington Crescent. We begin with a swift synth-rock double bill. Jape are on at The Cuban in Camden Market, while over the road in The Monarch, Cymbals are under way. The highly percussive Jape might be more established and more acclaimed, but Cymbals seem to have the edge, mashing sharp-edged guitars with hyperactive synths.

Down the road in The Enterprise, Fanzine turn in a very fine set (click here to read the full review of this show). We stick around to see maniacal Bristolian avant-garde rockers Zun Zun Egui, whose blend of danceable rhythms, complex vocal harmonies and bursts of unclassifiable noise proves to be a winning combination (click here to read the full review of this show). There’s plenty of breathing space in the Enterprise – perhaps because it’s located at the extreme West of the Camden Crawl’s territory – which makes for a pleasant change, but it’s a shame these two shows didn’t seem to be more of a draw.

On our way back down to Camden Town we stick our heads into the Barfly to see what’s happening, and discover Clement Marfo & The Frontline, a south-west London rock/rap crossover act who seem more intent on acting as evangelists for a good time than anyone else I’ve seen at the Crawl so far (click here to read the full review of this show). Down in the centre of Camden, And So I Watch You From Afar are midway through their gig at the Electric Ballroom and the mosh is in full flow. The Belfast rockers seem to have the place transfixed by their instrumental heaviness, and by the time they conclude their set with the amped-up post-rock goodness of ‘The Voiceless’ it’s not hard to see why.

Down the High Street in the Wheelbarrow, Cornish folk-punks Crowns have no trouble in getting the place jumping. They claim that the Wheelbarrow is one of their favourite venues: I can’t say I’m in agreement here, as the fact that the toilets are located behind the stage means that you’re constantly being barged past by people desperate to offload their beer. Still, Crowns’ mandolin-driven tunes are peppy enough to keep me in place until to end of the set. Across the street in the sticky-floored Purple Turtle, Black Moth, just hours away from the release of their debut album, bring the festival to a triumphant close with their sludgy metal. The album is superb, and I’m pleased to discover that their live capabilities match up to its promise. Rattling through ten gigs in less than seven hours might make for a fine Sunday night but it takes it’s toll, and collapsing onto a nightbus, ears ringing, now seems like a smart move.

Click here to read our feature on Saturday at the Camden Crawl.

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