May 18, 2012
Various Venues, London, May 5 - 6
Camden used to be a Mecca for the wonderfully weird, the Crawl the place to discover them, but today’s sparse line-up and crappy crowd hints at a loss of mojo. Veronica Falls pack the Barfly with a load of people who, it seems, have never heard of Veronica Falls; The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze flings himself around the stage, doing an admirable job of whipping a host of largely apathetic ‘Dominos’ fans into something resembling enthusiasm. Then comes an ill-advised headline set. With recent a cappella LP ‘Rant’ passing many by, it’s to a sea of confusion that The Futureheads emerge with a banjo and four microphones.
The reaction veers from uncomfortable to depressing to gross. Tackling ‘Hounds Of Love’ and Kelis’ ‘Acapella’ with note-perfect vocals and suitable wit, the Mackem boys are on form, but no-one cares. Pissed up lads yell “fuck off”, someone lobs a pint, people leave in droves. At the end we’re happy with the idea of never coming back to Camden.
Fifteen hours later we’re back, and Sunday kicks off with psych-purveyors Toy filling a picturesque side room of St Michael’s Church. Niki And The Dove are impressive with their meatier-played-live electro-pop nuggets, but it’s Peace that prove the weekend’s biggest find. In the dinge of the Underworld the four-piece are a filthy, fur-coated Suede gone grunge revelation. With just two tracks available it’s obscene how confident and fully-formed this lot are.
Back on the big stages Spector do the Spector thing of massive gob vs medium-sized tunes. Glasvegas enjoy a football terrace singalong, and headliners The Cribs end proceedings in KOKO the day before the release of fifth album ‘In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull’. Its cuts ‘Jaded Youth’ and ‘Chi-Town’ sound ready to take on the world, while old favourites ‘Hey Scenesters!’ and ‘Men’s Needs’ provide giddy kicks to keep the pissed-up lads happy. Camden, you got there in the end.
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