Camden Rocks is a festival I’ve had my eye on for a couple of years. Taking over numerous venues in Camden, London, for one day a year, a myriad of bands play one of the best value for money tickets you’ll ever see in your life.
This year’s madness takes place on 4th June whilst across the river, AC/DC will also be in town. And given that Axl Rose won’t be at Camden, it’s a no-brainer. Should you follow enough bands, there’ll be a name on the poster you recognise. For me, there’s about a dozen and I’m hoping to make a new discovery or two alongside seeing some familiar bands and catching bands I’m already a fan of but I’ve not had the chance to witness yet.
First and foremost is The Virginmarys. The reason I bought my ticket. If it had been them and 200 Nickelback tribute acts, I would have still gone. The last time they appeared they played three sets (a feat Ginger Wildheart is set to do this time around). If there’s one band you have to see at Camden Rocks; this is it. Either make the jump and make the new discovery or as myself and various others will be; ensuring we’re there to see the Macclesfield power trio. Their honest and raw rock will ensure the sweat and beer is flowing freely that day. With their most refined work to date with new album Divides, the band are gearing up to go back out on the road and this set will be a nice taster before the tour begins the following week in Glasgow.
If I could only see two bands at Camden, it would have to be the afore-mentioned Macclesfield trio and the Devonshire trio Reigning Days. I’ve had my eye on this lot for the last six months or so as they remind me of The Virginmarys with the indie influence turned way up. I happened to catch them open for Wilson back in February and they were nothing short of fantastic, a well-oiled machine. Their debut EP is due out the same week and I’m very much looking forward to it. Something like Camden is perfect for the guys.
Next up on the “must see” list is The Lounge Kittens. We’ve covered these talented girls before when the opened for Steel Panther and when they opened the Zippo Encore stage at last year’s Download Festival. If you don’t know who they are yet, it’s three girls and a piano singing all your favourite rock, metal and punk songs with no monitors. In perfect harmony. Endorsed by many figures in the rock and metal community, the girls bring a sense of freshness by twisting well-known songs into something brand new. And it’s damn good, to boot.
Swapping lounge-style for thrash metal, I’ll be watching Evil Scarecrow. Having heard the same phrase go around “They make Steel Panther look tame”, this had to witnessed at Download last year. When you see Evil Scarecrow in a live setting, it’s not just a band you’ll be seeing but an experience as songs like “Robototron” will have people doing the robot and “Crabulon” will have people shuffling from side to side and their arms reaching the heavens in a crab-like arrangement.
Headlining one of the venues is the mighty Black Spiders, crammed full with massive riffs with various flavours like blues, grunge and stoner against the backdrop of hard rock. They’ll also have their tongues planted firmly in their cheek with songs like “Balls” and “KISS Tried to Kill Me”. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Black Spiders and they’re always great in a live setting, somehow they maker three guitars work and their off-colour sense of humour only endears them more.
There’s a whole lot of more bands in amongst the 200 or so that I want to see but as always, especially in a setting like this, clashes will come into play and personal preference. Having a look over the bands I’ve recommended, it’s pretty much representative of my musical taste and it’ll be in the company of some of my favourite people so to have all that in one day should make my first time in London a memorable.
Electric Ballroom * Underworld * Proud * Barfly * Barfly Downstairs * Dingwalls * Black Heart * Hawley Arms * Monarch * The Good Mixer * The Cuban * Brew-Dog * Dingwalls Canalside * The Forge * The Crowndale * Dublin Castle * Bloc Bar * Camden Cavern @ Belushis * Fifty Five