Camden Crawl 2010 - Saturday

North London’s favourite musical pilgrimage.

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Date: 1 May 2010 | By Greg Inglis | Rating: 4
Alex Metric

Come rain or shine you can pretty much guarantee that the streets of Camden will be heaving come North London’s favourite musical pilgrimage. Shaking up the venues and format year on year helps to keep things fresh but it’s the quality of the bands that pulls in the punters time and time again, a mixture of the legendary and achingly hip with a generous smattering of soon to be knowns thrown into the cauldron.

Having retrieved passes, programme and wristbands it was the perfect moment to take shelter in the laid back surroundings of the Roundhouse Café which played host to NME Radio and interviews with host of guests including Summer Camp, the new Jeremy Warmsley vehicle whose announcement of a mid-afternoon set at the Barfly drew a sizeable crowd. Their wistful boy-girl pop may have been a jolt to the system for fans of the folk troubadour but the likes of current single 'Ghost Train' manage to hit the right note for those who were organised enough to make the trip.

After a quick dash down the High Street to the iconic Camden Eye there was just time to catch the end of a short set from the mesmeric Evi Vine whose haunting voice gave added weight to her gorgeous self penned material. Backed by a pair of guitarists sporting a death metal band look but playing acoustic guitars seemed like a giant paradox but the music was altogether inviting. Over the road at vintage clothes shop Rockit the grit and bluster of Your Kids was pleasant enough in a Rolling Stones tribute way but the sight of a pensioner grooving along as if he was playing Rock Bandon acid provided adequate distraction from such abject mediocrity.

Whilst the bill was heavily weighted towards the traditional blokes with guitars end of the musical spectrum there was a refreshing electronic invasion with the frivolous yet explosive Art vs. Science tearing down the overcrowded Black Cap. Their Soulwax influenced freakout electro had the room at their mercy with pounding synths taking centre stage. Any band who can get a whole crowd of people screaming “parlez-vous francais? oui”, have the nerve to cover Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince then blow you away with a song containing the most epic guitar breakdown this side of Daft Punk 'Aerodynamic' deserves all the plaudits it receives and more.

With The Villagers failing to turn up for their set it was back to the sweat and glitz of the Cap for a much anticipated set from dj/remixer turned musician Alex Metric whose live show is still in it’s infancy yet is surprisingly fully formed. Mr Metric has clearly learned a thing or two from the likes of Bloc Party as he appears to be a confident frontman who commands both the mic and the crowd with the swagger of someone whose held this role for years. The likes of 'Bang The Drum' and 'In Your Machine' compelling you to throw your body around as if you were in a nightclub which is surely the aim of the exercise.

After a short wait and some much needed recovery time the hugely talented boy/girl duo Slow Club took the stage at the Jazz Café. Rebecca proceeding to bash ever living and dead thing that she could lay her hands on as if it were the one thing in the world which gave her greatest joy whilst Charles is a more laid back figure content to play guitar and contribute vocals. The familiar 'Because We’re Dead' was given a rawer makeover complete with deranged banshee wailing and a touching moment saw them share the microphone on 'Giving Up On Love' whose naked rawness draw whispers from the noisier section of the crowd to be quiet. New song 'Gold Mountain' with it’s refrain of “you’re the only one that counts” was quite possibly the highlight of a short but eventful set in which a bizarre stage invasion left the band in confusion and laughter, none more so when he feigned to kiss the male band member before dashing off and upstairs to disparaging looks from security. All that and a whole day still to go!

Camden Crawl 2010 - Sunday