Camden Rocks 2017: Carl Barat and Pulled Apart by Horses lead the afternoon billCultureMusicLive music
Camden Lock is one of the most glorious locations to spend a day when the sun is shining. As such, it takes a very good event to get people indoors on a day like this. Camden Rocks manged to fill Koko and The Electric Ballroom – heavyweights of Camden’s famous nightlife – while the sun was still out. It may have been hot outside, and it was hot and heavy inside. Camden Rocks celebrated the punk-rockers and anarchists who have come to be our national icons.
The King Blues at the Electric Ballroom
As early as 3pm, The King Blues asked if anyone was drunk yet, and the response was a slurred, enthusiastic “YES”. Frontman Johnny “Itch” Fox dripped in charisma (and sweat – it was, after all, a very hot day). The heady combination of punk and ska – and the ease with which the band switched between the two kept the crowd dancing. At one point, a ukulele was produced so that the band could treat us to their new, timely, single – Tory Is a Four Letter Word.
Pulled Apart by Horses at the Electric Ballroom
Pulled Apart by Horses turned the Electric Ballroom into a huge mosh pit. The Leeds four-piece began their show with The Haze, from their last album, as moshers threw themselves around to slamming chords and tenacious basslines. On stage the band embodied rock’n’roll by headbanging, getting shirtless and swigging from cans of Red Stripe.
Carl Barat and the Jackals at Koko
Carl Barat and the Jackals were outstanding. Performing at Koko – one of Camden’s most classic music venues, featuring glamorous interior – this band’s show was an indisputable highlight of the day. Carl Barat is a formidable frontman; not only is he desperately cool, but he is a supremely talented musician. Playing a mix of personal and The Libertines’s classics, the Basingstoke singer-songwriter got the crowd dancing and screaming along while making them do the impossible: shut up and listen. This is no small feat when everyone has been drinking since before noon but when Barat performed some more lyrical material the audience were captivated by his brooding drawl.
The Professionals at the Electric Ballroom
These punk veterans are releasing new music this year for the first time since 1981. That level of experience meant that they were capable performers, their showmanship choreographed to perfection. The Professionals – originally consisting of 2/5 of the Sex Pistols line-up – failed to energise the crowds in the same way that bands before them had, but they seemed content with performing to each other without taking much notice of the Camden gig-goers.
With tens of shows playing simultaneously we went to check out other acts including Tokyo Taboo at the Monarch, Longy and the Gospel Trash at Camden Market, and Duke of Wolves at Hawley Arms. Here’s a selection of images.
Read our evening coverage of Camden Rocks 2017 here.
Photos: Mike Garnell