As the old saying goes, throw a rock in the air in Camden and it is likely to bounce off three guitarists, two vocalists, a leaky bong and a knockoff Ramones t-shirt before it hits the ground. Already teeming with hopefuls, there is one day in the year when the already high concentration of musical talents is upped substantially in the Camden area, when bands flock in to perform at the annual Camden Rocks festival.
Falling on 4th June this year, Camden Rocks ties together access to no fewer than twenty venues, hosting a headbending 200 acts with just one single £35 ticket. Blimey.
Obviously, it would be an exercise in futility and an express trip to madness to attempt to see them all, but the coupling of a vast choice of potential entertainment at a relatively low cost means that music fans from right across the rock music spectrum should be able to find enough to warrant spending the day tearing between the clutch of venues south of Chalk Farm and north of Mornington Crescent tube station to catch them.
With that many names on the poster, even studying it can induce a minor bout of vertigo – but never fear, as we have picked carefully though them all to pluck out the bands that we will be marking out in bold on the clash-finder as we make military-style plans to absorb as much as possible.
Chris has already plucked out five bands from the pile to check out, and now here are mine. If you want to find me in Camden on the day, then I will most reliably be located watching the following:
Photo: Rachael Griffiths, Black Lotus Photography
Playing: 2:00pm @ The Underworld
With a surprisingly early stage time, Monolith favourites Zoax will be setting the tone for the day – and we expect that tone to be fiery and passionate. Their recently released eponymous debut full-length is one of our favourites of the year so far, delivering on the tantalising promise of their preceding pair of EPs.
Fresh from a prestigious support slot on Funeral For A Friend’s farewell tour last month, we’re sure that Zoax will hit the stage hard – and that charismatic frontman Adam will be adventuring off the stage as far as his microphone cable will allow.
Playing: 3:00pm @ The Underworld
As we’ve often said, as much fun as The Algorithm are on record, it is onstage where it really comes alive. The added heft of a venue-sized PA to shove the bass through, and the addition of live drums – performed by Jean Ferry – takes Rémi Gallego’s tech-influenced glitchy electronica to new heights.
With Brute Force having been released just a couple of months ago, The Algorithm have a whole new batch of songs to draw from. We’ve watched Remi’s live show gradually introduce more and more elements over the years, so we’re eager to see what they bring to the Underworld stage this time around.
Playing: 4:45pm @ The Barfly (Upstairs)
Some bands are practically purpose built for the festival environment, and one prime example is Brightonian crossover experts The Qemists. Their long-awaited album Warrior Sound is packed solid with high-octane stompers, all but guaranteed to get a festival crowd jumping with their rock/drum n’ bass hybrid.
Through a combination of bad luck and unavoidable clashes, this show will also represent my first opportunity to catch them performing since vocalist Olly Simmons joined the ranks following the untimely demise of Monolith favourites Collisions. Be sure to keep a little bit of energy in reserve, and break out your dancing shoes.
The Lounge Kittens
Playing: 6:30pm @ 55 Bar & 23:30pm @ Brewdog
Since opening Limp Bizkit’s set at Sonisphere 2014 with their lounge styled reworking of “Rollin”, The Lounge Kittens have been going from strength to strength. Debut EP Just The Tip and a tour supporting Steel Panther under their (leopardskin) belts, as well as a full-length album (Sequins and C-Bombs) and the opening slot on Status Quo’s latest farewell tour to look forward to later in the year. Exciting times. Their covers may well be light-hearted and amusing, but there’s some serious talent in their carefully arranged three-part harmonies.
One of a handful of bands playing two sets on the day, The Lounge Kittens will be there to offer either some early evening respite at 55 Bar, or a way to wind down at the end of a long day at Brewdog, presumably with an exotic beverage or two.
Photo: Katie Croft, KT Croft Photography
Playing: 9:15pm @ The Underworld
Twenty stages means, effectively, twenty headliners. Despite some very stiff competition, there is really only one place I want to be for that last set of the night, and that is watching Tech Metal godfathers SikTh.
Representing the most intimate London show they will have played since reactivating in 2014, their set is likely to be both my personal grand finale to the day, and something of a throwback to the chaotic shows the band were playing in the early noughties.
Regular readers will already know how important SikTh are to us and a goodly proportion of the bands we write about on a regular basis, so whatever else happens, you can be sure that we’ll have found a corner of The Underworld to squeeze ourselves into ready for their set.
Expect to hear a pit-friendly collection of their classic material, with a few choice cuts from last year’s comeback EP Opacities for flavour. The event will also have an extra dash of unique flavouring, as Aliases vocalist Joe Rosser will be standing in for an absent Justin Hill.
Camden Rocks hits…er, Camden…this Saturday 4th June. The full line-up, venue information and time slots is below. Tickets are available via the Camden Rocks website, and you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more information as it’s available.