With hundreds of bands playing in almost two dozen venues along Camden High Street, often choosing who are you are going to see at events like the Camden Crawl is a bit of an overwhelming prospect.
First up are Arrows Of Love at the Electric Ballroom, who serve as a wake-up call to the rest of the festival with their grungy, lo-fi sound. The sheer noise they make can probably be heard down the road at The Underworld, where Girls Names are playing. A Joy Division-esque vocal protrudes over a new romantic rhythm section, with hints of Editors providing an entertaining opening to affairs.
Over at Proud Galleries, Tall Ships are bringing their majestic noise to a room full of dry ice, which while atmospheric, is perhaps a little overdone. The trio are glorious nevertheless, a band at the peak of their power.
Back at The Underworld, the superb PINS pull in a huge crowd for their performance. Their ethereal, swooning style translates to a really tight live show with plenty of presence.
KOKO is one of the biggest venues on the Crawl, so it is disappointing to see eighties new romantics ABC only half fill the room. Frontman Martin Fry has ditched his trademark golden suit somewhere through the years and today sports a more traditional number. The dapper front man does not let that dampen his spirits, dutifully reeling off the hits like ‘Poison Arrow’ and closer ‘Look of Love,’ as well as newer material, proving that perhaps you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Closing festivities are Atari Teenage Riot at the Electric Ballroom. Arriving on stage, strobe lights blaring, their fusion of techno and punk connects instantly with a crowd wanting to have a good time on a Friday night. The blaring techno mixed with punk vocals and sampled riffs whips the crowd into a frenzy and has them dancing to the small hours of the morning.
First up on day two are Dry The River, fresh out the studio and ready to deliver new songs and old favourites alike to a packed Electric Ballroom, which is impressive in the middle of the afternoon. Their wholly likeable indie-rock warms the crowd up nicely. It is unpretentious and above all a fun start to the afternoon.
It feels weird emerging from a dark venue into bright sunshine, but like a mole reaching the surface, we crawl (ahem) our way over to the Underworld to see the much hyped Gnarwolves perform the first of two sets today. They mix from past EP’s including the incendiary ‘Tongue Surfer’ and ‘Community, Stability, Identity’ with new tracks and prove why everyone is raving about them.
Up next in The Underworld are God Damn, an insanely loud guitarist and drummer duo. Their main objective seems to be to make as much noise as possible, and with one audience member either having a seizure or really enjoying himself throughout, they seem to achieve their goal. Slaves, another duo, are next on the bill at The Underworld, sharply dressed with sharp tunes to match, while over at the Electric Ballroom, Of Montreal impress. They really know how to put on a live show and accompanied by a psychedelic video backdrop, bathe the audience in their gorgeous Sixties-inspired tunes.
Johnny Foreigner provide a triumphant closing to proceedings in The Underworld with their gorgeous melodic indie-pop. They woo with their normal aesthetic of quiet, quiet, loud taking the audience through hits from across their back catalogue. A generous distribution of free drink tokens from band to audience also helps their reception. Johnny Foreigner are a perfectly joyous way to close Camden Crawl 2014 and provide songs that are sung long into the night wandering down Camden High Street, kebab in hand.