Camden Crawl 2012

camden crawl logo 2012
camden crawl logo 2012 Image credit:

Judging by the term ‘Been a good week, but I’m cream crakered’ which we overheard in Camden’s KOKO on Sunday evening one assumes the young chap using the urinal next to use had been on the Camden Crawl all weekend and was very tired...and a cockney!

Mind you, the ABLE2UK team were pretty shattered as well, our crawl around Camden began on one the balconies situated inside the Holiday Inn early Saturday afternoon which housed the control room and media centre for this year’s event. Resting on the rail we overlooked one of the many exclusive sessions which were taking place over the next two days just for people like us, the humble press. The band in question, Clock Opera are perfect thieves, snatching beats from bands such as Everything Everything, Metronomy and The Drums and remixing their stolen goods in a unique and individual angle and playing unusual instruments such as a tin can and a basketball.

After our intimate show we made our way over to Camden’s most famous watering hole, The Hawley Arms, the pub used to be an old favourite with Winehouse, Docherty pays a visit between his rehab programmes and there’s a picture of Razorlight hanging from the wall from the time Borell and co. performed on the roof in 2008. The live music this weekend could be found upstairs in a jam packed sweaty room which seemed packed to capacity.

The Camden Crawl isn’t just about live music, during the day time guests can visit an interactive music exhibition, pit their musical knowledge in brain stretching quizzes (more of that later) and catch some up and coming comedians such as Chris Coltrane who sells his act in the disguise of a Tory MP. Don’t worry, Chris isn’t really a thief stealing bully, he pokes fun of our current government – which although gives him a whole weekend of material he condenses his political humour down top fifteen minutes. There was even a disabled joke thrown in which goes along the lines of him not being able to relate to his son anymore as handicapped, he now has to refer to him as his daughter.

Before the LBGT start bombarding our Twitter account let’s continue down Camden High Street towards KOKO where the headline acts are playing in a few hours time. Closing today’s proceedings will be The Futureheads with their new a capella direction, before the Sunderland lads leave their instruments behind new starlets such as The Milk whet our appetites.

As you might expect with the festivals title those in attendance can ‘crawl’ between venues as they please, so taking a break from KOKO we sacrificed watching The Big Pink to catch Michele Stoddart, if you don’t recognise the name you would certainly recognise the voice as Michelle’s other musical outlet is being co-vocal singer with The Magic Numbers alongside her brother, Romeo.

Day Two kicked off in the same place, same scenario as the one before, although our Sunday afternoon was opened from an established band playing at the Holiday Inn. Kids in Glass Houses have already made it onto the Radio 1 playlist with their 2010 track ‘Matters At All’ however the Cardiff guys have yet to break into the top 50. Sadly despite being a fairly stable band with harmless tracks we think their dreams for making it to mainstream success could be shattered. Shattered. Glass? Oh, please your bloody selves!

Whilst more comedy was going on across town we opted to pay a visit to the Grand Union pub and participate in the Who Killed Bambi Music Quiz. The contest regularly takes place at London’s Boogaloo bar on Tuesday nights and holds the prize for being the capitals longest running music quiz. We personally feel it should also hold the record for being the most obscure; For instance, the picture round. One clue, which relates to an artist showed a picture of athlete Jonathan Edwards, see if you can guess which band this related to before you finish reading this article.

After coming seventh out of a possible ten places and winning the CD soundtrack to ‘FAST 2 FURIOUS’ (If you want it, it’s still on the pubs table!) we made our way straight to KOKO and caught Niki and the Dove. There’s no polite way of saying this but...and bear with us here...If Florence + The Machine is a second rate version of Kate Bush then Niki and her flapping bird of peace are a poor rip off of Florence Welsh.

Then, they came on stage; The most impressive band of the whole weekend. The next big thing and already our favourite new act of 2012...Spector. We can’t give this band enough credit. Fred Macpherson is one of the most characteristic, liveliest and entertaining frontman since Liam and Noel. Even falling head over arse and banging himself on the mic stand couldn’t dampen his charisma, in fact this shambolic accident even added to his stage presence. If things work out the way they should tracks such as ‘Celestine’ and the incredible ‘Chevy Thunder’ will go down in music history. You HAVE to catch this London band out this summer.

After all that energy it was left to Glasgow’s Glasvegas (try saying that after a few pints) to settle the mood in their dreary yet enticing mould. Despite publications giving James Allan and his troop’s extensive coverage Columbia Records dropped them after their second record, Euphoric Heartbreak failed to match the success of their debut self-titled album. With just two releases bothering the top twenty, ‘Daddy’s Gone’ and ‘Geraldine’ their bland music may appeal to some, yet cannot stretch to a mass appeal. One band who are working themselves towards success are The Cribs. Their new album ( In the Belly of the Brazen Bull) which was released yesterday ( 7 May) has received critical acclaim making the Jarmen brothers the perfect way to round off this year’s Camden Crawl which was exhilarating fun, although walking around Camden for two days? We can understand how our friend felt in the gents that evening. Cream Crakered? We were Barb Wired!

Disabled Access at the Camden Crawl was pretty good, although as you can appreciate a few buildings weren’t assessable for wheelchair users such as the upstairs to old venues e.g. The Hawley Arms. KOKO has a fantastic disabled area giving guests their own balcony area and public connivances. The club has also earned recognition from Attitude is Everything. For more info on disabled access around the bars of Camden click here .

Still stuck on that Jonathan Edwards teaser? The athlete used to believe in God, then he didn’t so the answer was ‘Faith No More’ for the whole picture round quiz go to our Facebook page . Good luck – you will need it!