Camden Rocks Festival is always magical. As a music fan, I find it amazing to spend the day wandering from venue to venue and watching different bands. This year was the first time the festival became a 2-day event. It’s usually held on a Saturday at the beginning of June. Last weekend, we were treated to two whole days of rock and roll. 400 bands played in 20 venues over the weekend. The magic, for me, is that it’s the perfect way to discover new favourite bands. I usually go to the festival with a list of bands I want to see. Inevitably, due to the way the gigs are planned in lots of different venues, there are clashes. This year, for example, at one point there were 3 of my favourite bands playing at the same time in different venues.
I managed to see 15 bands over the two days. The weather was beautiful, and the sun added to the chill-out feel of the event. Some of the venues are quite far apart, so it involves quite a lot of walking – or running, if you’re trying to make your way through the crowds of tourists and shoppers in Camden to get to see your favourite band! 🙂
I’d recommend this annual event to anyone who likes rock/punk/indie music.
I’ve posted a few video clips I filmed at the event, on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RockAndRollMusicBlog/
I started the Saturday by going to see Katalina Kicks at Music & Beans. That was a new venue for me; I’d never been there before. I arrived a bit early and the band were still doing their sound check in the downstairs venue. Upstairs is a cafe. I sat there waiting, and because the music was so loud I was able to hear the sound check. It added to the anticipation of seeing the band and brought a smile to my face.
As I’ve been to many gigs over the past few years, I’ve met lots of wonderful regular gig-goers. I met up with one of them unexpectedly at Music & Beans, the lovely Sonia – who does a lot of great promotion for bands along with her husband Eric Duvet (photographer); she was also looking forward to the Katalina Kicks gig, having heard great things about them.
I saw Katalina Kicks for the first time at last year’s Camden Rocks Festival . Before that event I’d only heard a couple of their songs, and I think I heard about them from another band I follow. That gig was so good that I was looking forward to seeing them again. The band usually has three members; they were missing one band member last Saturday, but their gig was fantastic. I was a bit disappointed with the venue because it was tiny and there were large tables taking up most of the space, limiting the amount of people who could have enjoyed the music. If this venue is going to be used again, I think the tables should be removed before the festival.
Katalina Kicks have a punk sound, but they are very versatile, ranging from funky to slower songs. They made a lot of noise for a 2-piece! It was the perfect start to the day; a real buzz of high energy rock.
In their 30-minute gig they played:
CBomb/ Fixed Up/ I Want the World/ Me /Higher/ Angel /Yeah Yeah Yeah/ Forever Young
As Sirens Fall
The next band I chose to catch was a last-minute pick, I hadn’t heard any of their music before. There was a gap between Katalina Kicks’ gig and the next one I’d planned to see, so I looked up a few bands on YouTube the night before who were scheduled to play the 1-1:30 p.m. slots. I watched As Sirens Fall’s video for “She Runs With The Wolves” and made up my mind that this would be the band I’d see. It’s such a fantastic song, and it was just as brilliant live.
By coincidence, Sonia was also going to see them, so we walked up the venue, Kolis, together. On our walk there, she told me that this band has been played a lot by Guy B’s Rockshow on Meridian FM. If you haven’t heard of the Friday rock show, you should definitely check it out. It’s usually at 5 p.m. on Fridays and always showcases some amazing up-and-coming rock bands, with interviews and other features. Well worth listening to.
Kolis club was quite full when we arrived, so I could tell this band were popular.
It was a great performance. The whole band show a real passion for what they do. They had the crowd jumping up and down on quite a few occasions, and people were singing along.
For some reason, their music reminds me of The Killers. The singer has a real showman quality. The drummer stood out to me too as being intensely driven by the music.
Definitely a band to watch.
Next up for me was the brilliant Cavalcade. I absolutely love this band. I think they are one of the best new bands out there. I first saw them at last year’s Camden Rocks Festival and have been following them since on social media.
They’ve released some awesome songs this year, a couple of which I’ve featured on my slot on the Ignite Rocks Show. Their gig at Dingwalls Canalside was a highlight of the day for me.
The band brought so much energy to the show. I found myself singing and dancing along. Among others, in their 30 minute set, they played their new songs “Kathmandu Kid” and “Alkaline”, along with an old favourite of mine, “Anita”.
Cavalcade will be playing at The Dublin Castle on 20th June. Get down there if you can! Tickets: https://www.facebook.com/events/2116533091746794/
I discovered The Soapgirls via a Twitter friend who is a big fan of the band. I love their song “One Way Street”, which was the first one of their songs I heard; it was great to hear it played live at the festival. Camden Rocks Festival was the first time I’d seen the band live. They played Fest. I arrived a bit early and sat at the back where there was air conditioning. It was so refreshing to have some cool air. The temperature in London had reached the high 20s by that time and it was so hot in some of the venues. I was tempted to stay at Fest all day just because it was cool!
The SoapGirls played for an hour. I really enjoyed the show and had to tear myself away before the end because I wanted to catch Thunder On The Left, who were due to play Dingwalls Canalside.
I managed to watch about 45 minutes of The SoapGirls’ gig. It was another highlight of the day for me. They played some new songs from their upcoming album. There were a couple of quite heavy tracks, which sounded amazing. They have a really eclectic style. Some of the songs have a garage rock sound, others are punky, and others are more traditional rock ‘n’ roll. One thing that comes across is how much the sisters enjoy what they’re doing. They are always smiling 🙂
The band are known for wearing bare minimum costumes when performing. Camille expressed the sisters’ frustration about the way they are treated because they choose to expose their skin, quite rightly saying that skin is just skin and shouldn’t be seen always in a sexual way. These girls are good at what they do; they are awesome artists and it’s sad that they have to deal with so much hate when all they are really doing is expressing themselves and entertaining. Camille told the audience that a man in the music industry had threatened them with violence if they played Camden Rocks Festival. 😦
I read on their Facebook page that their previous page, which they had spent years building up with thousands of followers, had been closed down.
You can show your support for them by liking their new Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSoapGirls
Thunder On The Left
Thunder On The Left’s debut album was one of my favourite releases of last year. The band used to have three members, but late last year announced that they would be continuing with Thunder On The Left as a 2-piece.
I met briefly with Carla, the band’s singer/songwriter before the gig at Camden Rocks. She explained that the old songs, released on their debut, are now only available online and that the set for Camden Rocks would be all new songs. She said that the songs she’d written recently were all very personal to her.
The half-hour set went by way too quickly. This band have a mesmerising stage presence. They both really seem to be entranced by the music as they play, and there is a lot of passion in its delivery.
I enjoyed the new songs. One of them was familiar to me, “Eternal Conflict”, as I’d seen a live video of it on YouTube. I think this band have evolved musically since the debut album. The style is similar and still recognisable as Thunder On The Left, but there is a marked intensity to these songs.
I’m looking forward to an EP or album release from them. Catch them live if you can.
I only found out about Dig Lazarus fairly recently; they’ve started to make waves on the rock scene. Their two recent singles have caught the attention of the music media. I’ve featured them on my slot on the Ignite Rocks Show.
I missed the start of their show at Camden Rocks as I was running there from the Thunder On The Left gig, which was all the way up the other end of Camden!
Luckily, I was able to catch the last 20 minutes or so of the Dig Lazarus gig.
They played at Music & Beans, which was where I’d seen Katalina Kicks earlier in the day. I was wondering whether I would even be able to get into the tiny venue as I arrived late. In the end, I managed to squeeze in and had a good view from the staircase. 🙂
I saw them play, among other songs, “Joker” and “Tell Me Why”, which were the two songs I was most familiar with. The audience were dancing along to the songs. This band are an energetic live band and have an awesome rock ‘n’ roll sound. They seem very at home on stage, and know how to entertain the crowd!
My headliner of the first day was Rascalton. I didn’t know much about this band, but I knew that Neil Schiller, my fellow Rock and Roll blogger, has featured them on the blog a few times. He has great taste in music, so I had a feeling the band would be worth seeing!
The Monarch was already crowded by the time I arrived for the show, just before Rascalton took to the stage.
These guys have a punk sound, playing music that is fun and catchy. The songs are short and full of rock ‘n’ roll attitude. There were a lot of fans in the audience, singing along.
The lead singer has star quality and charismatic stage presence. During the last song they played he stepped off the stage into the audience starting a bit of a mosh pit before closing the show!
I enjoyed the gig. It was a great way to end what had been a wonderful day full of awesome bands and great music.
Follow the bands:
As Sirens Fall
Thunder On The Left
I’ll post a review of Day 2 of the festival soon!
Remember to head over to our Facebook Page if you want to have a look at some live videos of the bands I watched: https://www.facebook.com/RockAndRollMusicBlog/