Highlights: Red Stripe's Camden Crawl 2008

Alison Kerry | Monday, 21 April 2008

Highlights: Red Stripe's Camden Crawl 2008

Hanging out in a beer soak pub in Camden hoping to catch a good band is not unusual for a music aficionado. Hanging out in Camden for 48 hours trying to catch 130 bands in 30 different venues, however, is an endurance test of a marathon proportions. The Camden Crawl is an indie paradise dream come true.

There’s no obvious big name headliner, which is part of the charm.

It’s impossible to catch every band, but with all the venues in such a small area you end up witnessing bands you’ve never heard of - and end up being glad you did!

The Good Mixer played host to Winners early on Friday afternoon. Ironic, because we felt like the winners for being in the right place at just the right time.

Bar Vinyl turned into a full on rave for Hadouken! at 5:00pm. The stage was so small the guitarist had to squeeze in at the edge behind the speaker stack.

Proud’s first artist of the night was Californian ironic disco rapper Kennedy, whose pimp-daddy appearance and songs of all things white-trash left a smile on everyone’s face.

Johnny Flynn at the Underworld on Friday night was an amazing display of blue grass indie folk that's sure to land him at the top of the 'one’s to watch’ lists very soon.

Crystal Castles drew one of the biggest queues of Friday night at the Purple Turtle. It seemed to be style over substance at this gig, but apparently their set on Saturday was better.

Saturday afternoon saw SixNationState play their second outstanding set of the Crawl at the jam packed Tommy Flynn’s. Their raucous DIY rock n roll is as infectious as it is original. This was definitely one of the highlights of the weekend.

Fox Cub at the Good Mixer Saturday was heaving, but a few lucky bodies peered through the window to catch a glimpse. It wasn’t much better with the fantastic American alt-rockers Eastern Conference Champions playing straight after either, but at least a few more did managed to squeeze in.

Ironic rockers The Wave Pictures packed out N.W.1. bar at 6.45pm and even managed to get a sing-along going. Rumour has it their set on Friday was even better.

An unexpected star was discovered at the Underworld when Sweden’s Lykke Li took to the stage. Her soulful voice and street attitude twist into an electro pop dream. She’ll be an indie darling before long.

Throughout the two days, you see musicians walking up Camden High Street with their equipment trying to get to their next gig. You over hear conversations between punters about who they just saw and who they’re rushing off to see next. You intend to head to one venue, and then get distracted by the noise coming from another so stop to have a look just so you don’t miss anything.

The Camden Crawl is one of the UK’s best inner-city music festivals, not only because it’s a taste-maker showcase of emerging talent, but because it creates a brilliant and remarkably chilled out atmosphere for fans to discover great music.

To keep the indie vibe flowing long after the Crawl has ended, each ticket holder was given a free download code through 7 Digital, allowing punters to download a 32-track compilation album from the weekend's performing artists.

With tracks from The Bookhouse Boys, Fanfarlo, Tellison, Does It Offend You Yeah?, Operator Please and Metronomy, just to name a few, you get another opportunity to discover the bands you missed.