Review: Camden Crawl 2011

Laura Davis

OFWGKTA Red Bull Peter Maxw 300x200 Review: Camden Crawl 2011The Camden Crawl has come a long way since its arrival in 1995, when tickets were a mere £5 to see 20 bands playing gigs across five venues. This year it saw over 300 acts grace 50 venues across the trendy North London area, and it didn’t disappoint.

Although the festival’s main draw is to introduce lesser known acts, there are always a handful of big names with this year seeing Razorlight, The Lemonheads, The View, Saint Etienne and Hadouken!.

Razorlight closed the proceedings on Sunday at the Electric Ballroom, as the freshly renewed band reintroduced themselves onto the festival circuit for the summer with a new guitarist and bassist in tow, dipping into their popular back catalogue with “In The Morning”, “Golden Touch” and ending with their hit “America”.

The musical genres have also diversified across the years, as this year brought Tinchy Stryder to the stage at the Jazz Café. Naturally his performance appealed to a slightly different crowd to a lot of the punkier bands of the weekend, but even few sceptics who went along to see what he had to offer ended up with their hands in the air. Yasmin seduced the crowd in advance with “On My Own”, covering Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” and ending her set with new single “Finish Line”.

Odd Future have racked up some more press inches as leader Tyler, The Creator dived into the crowd of the outdoor Gaymers stage on their opening song “Sandwitches”. The crowd then invaded the stage at the end, after the group tormented the security guards and photographers and told the audience to smash down the barriers and join them. Another band who succeeded in animating the crowd were the relatively unknown The Computers, whose Blues/punk mix was unexpectedly infectious, especially as lead singer Alex joined various parts of the audience throughout their lively gig.

For the more popular names, it’s best to anticipate a queue; Graham Coxon’s gig at Proud led to some disappointment as the venue was packed, leaving many hoping for an very unlikely surge of people exiting the venue.

The Crawl was voted Best Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards, and Best Small Festival by NME last year so it’s still offering a lot for the money. Having become a little more commercial than it once was is to the dismay of some, but ultimately this means more acts, more venues and a better mix of entertainment as 2011 mixed it up with a new comedy circuit, hop hop karaoke, magic shows and quizzes. It’s still very much a scene for underground music fans, and the best thing about it is you’ll undoubtedly leave Camden a fan of bands you hadn’t even heard of on the way in.

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