Camden Rocks is one of the most diverse and popular day music festivals going, with 250 artists on offer at 25 different venues around Camden. I’ve already spoken about five bands worth checking out on the day, and now I’m here with my follow up post to let you know how the festival panned out.
As every year, Camden was ridiculously busy with music fans swarming the streets for the festival but although it was busy, it was a great site to see so many different people conversing together from old school punks to youngsters who looked like they were attending their first ever music festival – which is a good thing, of course. Spirits were high, despite the recent attacks in Manchester, just once more proving the fact that we will not let fear win.
I grabbed my wristband and headed off to check out some artists recommended to me by my friends – I had a few bands in mind I wanted to check out but generally I was free to check out whoever I pleased in the day, so I let my friends lead the way to introduce me to some new artists. The first band was MassMaticks – a grime meets indie band who impressed me to no end.
They reminded me just a little of twenty one pilots, in the way they mixed rock music and rapping so effortlessly well, with a pinch of attitude that could be taken directly from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Their performance at The Crowndale was hot and crowded in a good way and it was obvious that they’ve already got a large fan following. Their set was raw and indulging and had all audience members singing, stamping and clapping – including me, despite the fact that I didn’t know the words to any of their songs. 4am was a particular crowd pleaser and I have since listened to it religiously. The live performance was entirely different from the actual track, being much more raw and stripped down without additional studio effects, but it worked so well.
We then headed over to Be At One to check out Aaron Buchanan & the Cult Classics. I thought the last performance was small and intimate, but this was nothing compared to this set. Packed together in a tiny space at the front of the pub, we cheered and clapped along with what little space we had to move, whereas I found myself particularly entranced by Aaron Buchanan’s performance. The vocalist, I found, just has something about him and his stage presence is raw, electric and extremely charismatic. When I went on to do some research and discover that the band often cites Freddie Mercury of Queen as an inspiration, I wasn’t surprised – Aaron has him almost down to a tee, but adds his own personality to the bands sets. I was thoroughly impressed.
The next few hours were spent dipping in and out of as many venues as possible in a bid to see a varied line up of artists. Along the way, we caught brief sets from The Soapgirls, The Dirty Youth (who lived up to my expectations!), Damn Dice and This Year’s Ghost.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see The Coral as we didn’t anticipate how busy it would be, but I was told their performance was worth lining up early for those who did. Luckily, we managed to squeeze in for main headliner Feeder, and they did not disappoint. Although they played a mixture of recent songs from All Bright Electric and some older ones, they did, of course, manage to throw in the anthems such as Buck Rogers (of course), Just A Day and Just the Way I’m Feeling, which actually managed to make me a little bit emotional..!
Feeder were of course the right choice for main headliner, being a perfect reflection of the diversity of music on offer throughout the day. They are legends, and yet have so much to offer musically and it was great that they played some songs everybody knew from their youth, as well as songs that introduced the audience to new music. Their set was amazing and one I won’t forget in a hurry, and vocalist Grant Nicholas sounds just as talented as he always has done – despite the band being around for so long.
Overall, Camden Rocks was a roaring success once more and my only qualms are that I didn’t get to see all the bands I wanted to! I must mention that it’s also a good music festival to discover independent music venues and some lovely pubs around Camden that I didn’t know existed otherwise. It’s always great when independent music venues are supported as well as unsigned bands, and overall it was a great outcome for Camden’s music scene.
Another successful year for Camden Rocks; a real mix of varied artists across the area, culminating in a stand-out performance by headliners, Feeder.