Camden Rocks Festival – 4th June 2016 – Preview

Camden Rocks Festival, Saturday 4th June 2016 – Preview

It’s not quite an annual event, with the first Camden Rocks taking place in 2009 and the second five years later in 2013, but it seems to have become an annual event since then, with this being the fifth. Unlike many festivals which are held in a muddy field somewhere, and involve wellies and camping this event takes place in Camden Town with twenty music venues hosting over 200 bands which, if you do your maths correctly, works out at ten per venue so there’s a lot going on in Camden that day. As well as the bands Camden has plenty of bars, eateries, a fabulous market and good transport links to the rest of Greater London and hopefully some proper toilets with toilet roll!

I toyed with the idea of going but didn’t make any firm plans until Reckless Love were announced as playing (see here). I immediately booked a room at my brother’s pub, The Queens Head or rather told him I’d be visiting (that’s what brother’s are for – right?), booked advance rails tickets and am now looking forward to my first visit to Camden Rocks in three weeks time.

This year’s festival headliners, who will be closing the event at the Electric Ballroom are indie pop trio The Cribs, who last played Camden in 2015 when they played a sold out show at Camden Roadhouse. Many bigs names are returning having played the festival before – Ginger Wildheart, Black Spiders, Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols), Carl Barât (before as a DJ this time) & The Jackals.

Other well known names include Billy Bragg, Sikth, Young Guns, Zebrahead and Inme. With two hundred bands there is bound to be something for everyone. I can’t pretend that I have heard, let alone even heard of, all two hundred. There are some I have seen before, indeed reviewed before including: –

Evil Scarecrow, a heavy metal band from Nottingham who dress like a cross between Frankenstein and Worzel Gummidge they even have their own Aunt Sally in Princess Luxury! They are tremendous fun and if you haven’t done The ‘Crabulon’ then now’s your chance!

The Amorettes, a hard rocking female three-piece rock band from Scotland who have toured relentlessly supporting some big names such as Europe, Thunder and Black Stone Cherry. Take the Bull by The Horns and catch them in Camden!

The Dirty Youth an alternative/rock band from South Wales fronted by the glamorous Danni Monroe, who have played several festivals including Download and their back catalogue includes songs about drinking and fighting! I’m sure the former will be encouraged more than a real Fight!

Matty James a versatile young Irish singer songwriter, who as well as his own band plays bass in The Tyla J Pallas Band. Matty also has a few songs about drinking and fighting. I don’t know which venue he’ll be playing yet The Underworld? Or maybe just A World Away?

I’m obviously feeling patriotic as I’ve managed to cover one each from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I can’t possibly miss out Reckless Love who I’ve reviewed on more than one occasion (there’s a surprise!). Four rather attractive flamboyant Finns who always put on a great show and leave me, if not, the crowd feeling rather Hot!

Other artists/bands I’ve seen and can recommend include Sky Valley Mistress, Louise Distras and Hands off Gretel.

Out of the bands I haven’t seen before I’m hoping to catch the following: –

Asylums who describe themselves as ‘seaside sewage’ on their facebook page, are a young four piece from Southend-on-Sea. They do a good line in shorty punchy songs like The Death Of Television with it’s sock puppets video stars like a ‘Punch and Judy‘ show for Punks!

The DeRellas a ‘glam tinged sleazy punk’n’roll’ band from London with a look and sound which nods to The Ramones and we stay at the seaside for a Rock n Rollercoaster!

Dirty Thrills a Dirty Blues Rock band from London. I’ve posted a few press releases about them which is how I’ve come to know a few of their songs, reminscent of Brighton’s Colour of Noise I’d love to catch a bit of their Dirty Rock n Roll

JOANovARC a female melodic rock band from London, and another band I’ve discovered from posting press releases for. They site Joan Jett as an artist they like, and bassist and vocalist Sam Walker has a passing resemblence to the said Ms Jett as they Live Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Main Grains a fairly new Punk n Roll band, having formed only last year, are fronted by former The Wildhearts bass player Danny McCormack with former members of Spill Sixteen, Psychobabylon and Modern Day Dukes completing the four piece band. I don’t intend to come Unscrewed as, even if I don’t get chance to see them at the festival itself, there’s always the gig where they support Warrior Soul the night before! (See here).

The Peckham Cowboys a trash blues rock’n’roll band from, well Peckham I assume! I’ve heard lots of good reports about these, and with former members of The Quireboys having been in their ranks, and with them having a similar look and style and a cracking line in hats then, when in London I need to do the South London Thing!

The Virgin Marys a three piece rock band from the home of The Macc Lads, Macclesfield, of course. I like The Macc Lads so there’s no reason why I wouldn’t like these, although to be fair, they have more of a Manc than a Macc sound! Whatever! I want to remember what I’ve seen or it will just be a Lost Weekend!

Warrior Soul formed in New York back in 1987 I remember seeing videos on Headbangers Ball and being envious of front man Kory Clarke‘s amazing waist length blonde hair! Never got to see them and whilst Kory still has a good head of blonde hair it’s a bit shorter these days. I should finally get to see them, after all it’s Camden Rocks, not The Wasteland! In any event, as mentioned before, they are playing a gig in Camden on the eve of the Festival.

As I said, I haven’t even heard of some of the bands, these are just a few on my own ‘would like to see’ list. Until I get the schedule I can’t make any firm plans, although I fully intend to see Reckless Love! Other than that, I don’t want to go with any rigid plans other than to have fun, take in as much as I can on the day, and I’m looking forward to finally getting the chance to go to a few of the legendary venues I’ve heard about but not yet had the pleasure of attending such as Electric Ballroom, Purple Turtle and The Barfly. I have been to The Underworld and it’s definitely worth a revisist, indeed it’s hosting the after party. All I can say is I hope I’m still standing…….

For more information see: –

Buy tickets here


About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!
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