Camden Crawl 2014 day two: Of Montreal, Dry the River, FEMME and many more
Camden is the perfect place for the light chaos that is the Camden Crawl 2014. With the performances scattered around its music venues, from Electric Ballroom to a selection of small pubs, it takes a lot of walking and planning to see all the bands you want to hear. Those accepting the challenge will not be disappointed though, as the second day of the festival supplies an abundance of good gigs.
Jeffrey Lewis & the Jrams take the floor as a warm-up act and deliver a show of pure summery rock at Camden Town Brewery’s outdoor stage. They mix an array of different influences and styles, accompanied by heavy guitar and later a quiet duet. It’s a pleasant mix for a crowd who are looking to start their day with an exciting buzz.
A little while later in St Michael’s Church, Ed Dowie sits down at his synth and delivers the most intimate gig of the day. With his keyboard he manages to create melodies that take you back to magical fairgrounds and childhood toy shops. Looping a toy drum and melodica, Dowie sets up an amazing ambience in the small space, a sound that suits the venue perfectly. With the audience sitting on the stone floor, the atmosphere is rapt, like a narrator telling a story to a room full of eager children hanging onto every word.
At the Electric Ballroom, Dry the River have attracted a big crowd and the London folk-rockers are showcasing their beautifully-written songs to the audience; their exquisite ability to alternate between quiet and wild expression in the same track truly captures the listener’s interest.
The Monarch offers a cosy environment with vintage sofas and a classic pub look, whilst Kinner the Explorer gather a crowd, giving out free vinyls as they play for their fans. A bit further down the road Hot Feet perform in the studio space in The Roundhouse with their folk-pop. Also playing folk-inspired music are family band Cuttle and Cane, who entertain at The Good Mixer, somewhat stuffed into a corner. The place is tightly filled with people but its snug atmosphere only adds to the familiar feeling of the band.
Au Revoir Simone and FEMME bring some much-needed pop to the festival. The former is a Brooklyn-based all-girls three piece sporting the same haircut. They delight the crowd with their hit song Somebody Who. A true dance party is brought to the stage by FEMME, who stands as the most entertaining show on Saturday. Dressed in an all-black outfit covered in heavy layers of gold jewellery accompanied by a short, pink hairstyle, FEMME is the energy pill that keeps the festival from getting a bit stale. Joined onstage by dancers with pink pom poms and 80s-inspired songs, the show quickly becomes a party to remember.
Later in the evening, Electric Ballroom is visited by Of Montreal and their experimental rock-pop. Dressed in disco-style clothing from different parts of the world (such as a foot-long silver tunic and a blue costume with China-inspired buttons) they play in front of a screen that fascinates the audience with psychedelic patterns; the three piece seem perfect on the Camden stage.
One of the late gigs of the night is Cymbals at The Black Heart, close to Camden Town station. There is a line of attendees outside the club waiting to enter; it becomes clear that Cymbals are a band to look out for with their hit songs and charming manners.
The Camden Crawl is over for 2014, but as ever, the venues will soar with up-and-coming-bands to be discovered in the closest years to come, and hopefully for a long time thereafter.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina (1-35), Johanna Eliasson (36-44)
For further information about Camden Crawl 2014 and future events, visit here.