Camden town, the hot bed of rock music hosted its annual celebration of all things rock the other weekend. Camden Rocks took over the place for one day, putting over 200 acts onto more than 20 stages all across London’s musical borough.
Basking in glorious sunshine the festival had the weather gods on its side, when it showcased the hottest new acts from the broad rock and metal genre alongside some well loved favourites.
First gig of the day was at the cool Dr. Martens Boot Room, as I popped in mid day to catch Kid Kapichi on stage. Seeing the Hastings outfit rock out on stage between musical tokens of the past, the Dr Martens Boot Room doubles as a little museum for Camden’s rock music heritage, set the the tone right for the entire day.
Hailing from Hastings the alt rockers gave their all on stage as they performed a string of songs from their recent EP ‘Lucozade Dreams‘. ‘Puppet Strings‘ shows Kid Kapichi at their best, blending dirty riffs, indie elements and the rawness of alt rock into an epic musical explosion.
Despite the early hours of the day, the small venue was packed with fans, so much that even the band was surprised about the big turnout. Rattling through their riff laden set Kid Kapichi treat the crowd to a new song named ‘Revolver‘, which is an instant rock banger!
Wrapping up their loud set, Kid Kapichi finish of with ‘Cinderella‘ which has the fans bopping their heads one more time, as they are now well primed with a good dose of rock, ready to face the rest of the day!
Across Camden Market, Manchester’s very own Findlay is up next at the Fest Camden (formerly known as Proud). The room is nicely filled with eager punters, ready to witness the musical wunderkind that is Natalie Findlay. With her unique mix of indie pop, electronica and psychedelic rock, Findlay is so much more than just another girl with a microphone!
Swishing across the stage with so much power and ease at the same time, completely devoted to her art Findlay captivates the crowd right from the start. Releasing a wave of incredible tunes from her debut album ‘Forgotten Pleasures‘, Findlay has the crowd in the palm of her hand.
Showing off her versatile musical style in the poppy ‘Monomania‘ one minute only to surprise with the harsh contrast, the rock anthem of ‘Greasy Love‘ in the next. The cleverly crafted songs and incredible storytelling skills of Findlay make her stand out from all the noise in the musical landscape these days.
Seeing a Findlay gig is a bit like a lucky dip, you never know what comes next, but one thing is certain, her songs will always blow your mind!
On the other side of Camden Market, the lads of Press To Meco were gearing up for their Camden Rocks performance down at Dingwalls. First things first, if you haven’t heard of Press To Meco before, you better listen carefully now!
The London based trio, has just delivered their incredible second album ‘Here’s To The Fatigue‘, and the three lads were more than ready to take it in front of their fans. Dingwalls was a boiling mosh pit, with band ans fans celebrating the new music alike. Having seen Press To Meco a few times by now, I can assure you that these lads are on to something, as their live performance keeps getting better gig per gig.
Having found their musical ground somewhere between rock and alternative sounds blended with a pinch of pop, which can probably be best describe as happy hardcore at times, Press To Meco have nailed it with the new record. Performing the louder harder, ‘A Quick Fix‘ alongside the beautiful rock ballad ‘A Place In It All’ simply shows of the wide spectrum of Press To Meco’s musical roots.
The fans were singing along to ‘A Place In It All‘ which created an incredible moment of togetherness and true passion. I think it’s fair to say Press To Meco very much enjoyed their set at Camden Rocks, tearing that place apart with a smile on their face, leaving their showering their fans in one of their best live sets ever!
Hopping back to Fest Camden, it was now time for my favourite rock duo, REWS! Shauna and Collette drew quite the crowd at their Camden Rocks set, treating the fans to a rocking set. Unleashing their full power to ‘Miss You In The Dark‘ and ‘Violins‘, it will always amaze me how only two people can make so much noise on stage!
‘It’s great to see so many girls in the room today and also on this festivals line up! Can we get all the girls to the front for the next song?’ Collette challenges the crowd, and the girls fight their way to the front, some ladies more successful than others but that didn’t stop them from singing along to ‘Death Yawn‘. Continuing their powerful set REWS play an array of hits from their debut album ‘PYRO‘, which has clearly some fans in the crowd, as a few punters won’t hold back as they sing their hearts out to every single song!
Rocking out as the total rock stars REWS prove once more that they totally know a thing or to about crafting anthemic rock songs that will make you shake – shake! The power duo finish their festival slot with the ultimate rock banger ‘Shine‘, that not only makes the two of them shine but also the crowd as they rock out in unison.
Over at Camden’s The Monarch, California’s Black Map were taking to stage, ready to show the crowd how they do it in the US. The post hardcore trio have come equipped with a collection of their musical talent, flooding the Monarch with loud and heavy riffs, topped off with the raw voice of singer Ben Flanagan.
Having only stumbled upon this set by chance, I am immediately glued and determined to find out what else Black Map have to offer. Their song ‘No Color‘ is the epitome for Black Map’s sound, their songs come across quite dark and moody, yet they are full of power as you expect a perfect rock song to be.
Turning it down a notch, Black Map surprise with the delightful rock ballad ‘White Fence‘, this song surely caused some goose bumps across the room. Finishing up their glorious festival set, Black Map give their biggest hit ‘Run Rabbit Run‘ the live treatment, which went down extremely well with the fans. Gigs like this are what make festivals great, sometimes you stumble upon a band that catches you completely off guard and will instantly become a staple in your new music collection.
Further down Camden High Street at the infamous Electric Ballroom, German rockers Beatsteaks were about to come on stage. Hailing from Berlin, the German band usually doesn’t need an introduction, so just buckle up and enjoy the ride. Beatsteaks are no newbie’s to London, having played the holy grounds of Camden Town before, but tonight it is a first at the Electric Ballroom.
The entire venue is packed, the first few rows crowded with eager fans that can’t wait to get up close and personal with the Beatsteaks. Kicking off their hit filled set, the German five piece start the party with ‘Break Down‘ from their eight studio album ‘Yours‘ and right away carnage ensues. The moshpit is kicking off and when front man Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß jumps into the crowd during ‘Let Me In‘, the Electric Ballroom is on fire. There are moshpits galore and the whole place is simply going crazy to the sweet punk rock tunes that trickle down from the stage.
It’s a massive party, in front of the stage and on stage too! There is a constant exchange of energy and happiness between the band and fans, which results in happy faces all around. And what is better than seeing the band on stage truly having the time of their lives? Beatsteaks continue with their energetic set, giving the fans no time to breathe as they bash out hit after hit. ‘What do you wanna her next?’, lead singer Arnim adresses the crowd. Cue everyone shouting their favourite Beatsteaks song at the same time. Magically, someone managed to scream louder than everyone else and seconds later Beatsteaks launch into ‘Cheap Comments‘ happily fulfilling the fan’s wish.
Beatsteaks seemed to be having the time of their lives as they finish their raucous set with ‘Hand In Hand‘, that song that pretty much kicked it all off for them, all these years ago. It was an absolute pleasure to rock out with the musical masterminds that are the Beatsteaks, come back to London Town soon, will ya?
What a day it has been… so much good music, so much walking, so many new bands discovered. Camden Rocks, it has been a blast!
See you next year for a two day shenanigan in Camden Town!