Camden Crawl – Weekend

A weekend of musical mayhem...

Friday April 18


So here we are for another year of Camden Crawling and the streets are paved with festival goers. There’s a mile long queue for wristbands and its bloody freezing. Thankfully we’re in and out within 15 minutes and its straight over to the Camden Underworld for a quick beer before tonight’s shenanigans get under way.


With wristbands neatly strapped on, pretty much everyone descends on the Camden Electric Ballroom to catch hotly tipped electro funkster Sam Sparro. TV cameras are out on the streets and one punter even has a fake camcorder strapped to his shades.


The place is rammed with scenesters, industry types and the odd curious festival crawler for Sparro’s first ever gig in London. Unfortunately when he finally arrives his performance is about as soulless as a Sony board meeting. Donning giant white Buggles glasses, a black and turquoise poncho and leather pants, Sparro’s slew of disco pop is as disastrous as his fashion taste. Yes he sounds tight, yes he’s likely to circumvent Calvin Harris over the next year and yes he’ll probably be Number One before you know it. But he’s so goddamn irritating and his tunes come on like a second rate Prince or even worse that twat in the hat Jamiroquai. His one saving grace is current radio hogging hit single ‘Black And Gold’, a stabbing Goldfrapp-esque slab of disco pop that brings yelps of delight from all quarters as he struts across the stage.


We quickly zip over to the Bullet to catch London scuzz rockers The Haunts. Spluttering throat cutting guitar lines, these unsigned ghoul rockers show The Horrors up for the shambolic disaster they really are as they spit out the frenetic ‘Throw Down Your Guns’ to huge cheers.


Back over at Koko the much hyped nu-ravers Does It Offend You, Yeah? attract the biggest crowd of the Crawl so far with a queue Boy Kill Boy would give their right hand for. Unfortunately we only get to see two songs, one being the brilliant ‘We Are Rockstars’.


While two drunken students bicker behind us over which is the better, McDonalds or Burger King, we head up to the NW1 to try and catch a bit of Operator Please. With an hour queue ahead of us and the band well into their short set, we quickly duck out and head straight down Camden High Street to the Purple Turtle in good time for the electro-duo everyone’s talking about, Crystal Castles. Two hours before they’re even due to hit the stage, we get there early knowing that in an hour’s time hordes of crawlers will be snaking past the venue.


Sadly we have to endure that two hour gap listening to the awful Let’s Wrestle. Their name is bad and they look even worse. Like those scruffy kids in your bottom science class, this lo-fi trio come on like a poor man’s Cribs. And as the mosh pit descends into a beer drenched massacre down the front, scream’s of ‘Let’s wrestle/Let’s fucking wrestle’ from the band’s title track are enough to make you wanna put a gun to your head.


The moment has arrived and the place goes mental as goth vixen Alice Glass, knob twiddler Ethan Kay and a backing drummer who looks the spit of Interpol’s Carlos D arrive to wild cheers and a flashing strobe light. Like a Klaxons convention minus the glowsticks, Crystal Castles turn the Purple Turtle into an underground rave as Alice writhes around the stage breathing seductively into her mic one minute before shrieking out wild yelps of ecstasy the next.

Named after a He-Man spin off, this Toronto collective sound more like the 80s Atari video game of the same name as Ethan busts out nostalgic 8-bit beeps over drum clicks that’d have Super Mario moonwalking.


As Camden crawlers party into the night we head over to the Barfly for a bit of Chik Budo (think a saxed up Foals minus Yannis Philippakis) who rock the top floor before we hit the bottom for all things Manchester as New Order, Joy Division and The Smiths see us into the early hours.

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