Camden Rocks 2017 ends on a high with Feeder
Camden Town, but as it should be; on a sweltering Saturday afternoon on 3rd June, Camden Rocks festival seduced music lovers to its hub of over 20 venues showcasing a wad of 250 bands. Among the usual tourists, the iconic North London neighbourhood began to roar at noon, growing louder throughout the day and into the night when queues prolonged but the vibe remained magnetised towards the glory of rock ‘n’ roll.
Reverend and the Makers at Koko
Amid a sea of empty plastic cups stood the elated fans of indie rock’s charming five-piece. Frontman and founder, Jon McClure, strut on stage and bought with him the dazzle of Northern English wit, engaging the entire venue to sway, raise palms, jump and bounce their knees like The Specials during their debut single Heavyweight Champion of the World and Basslines. All the while proving they are beyond genre restrictions, vamping a psychedelic style at parts where power-chords loudly grooved with fazer and distortion peddles to create an elite twang reminiscent of the 90s neo-hippie movement.
The Coral at Koko
After a necessary break to guzzle down refreshments and catch the last of the day’s rays on the balcony, swarms of music patrons fleeted back to witness a band many others have dedicated their musical careers to. The Coral’s velvety opening, kneaded by the smooth knack of the lead guitarist’s whammy bar, remained consistent throughout. The vigorous drummer was matched by a percussionist whacking the tambourine and a floor tom to deliver a powerful display unfailing of changing tempos and the dynamic rhythms off their latest album Distance Inbetween. Ian Shelly’s full-toned voice was nonetheless booming and distinctive when singing two of their most successful singles: Pass It On and In The Morning Sun.
The Virginmarys at the Underworld
At the other end of Camden Town, a heavier ensemble beckoned punk rock fans underground in a venue no less unknown than the Koko. Space already brimmed with raised arms holding and spilling beer around them, by the time they played I Wanna Take You Home, they exceeded their loud reputation. The dexterity of drumming fillers, wailing riffs and the grandiose of the singer’s screams quarrelled with the modern notion that punk is dead. With the genre obviously alive, kicking and screaming, the band unified the crowd into a respectable jumping frenzy, beyond moshing into a salute towards punk culture.
Feeder at Koko
The moment the partition screen lifted, a deafening cheer belted from the audience making the first note to Universe of Life inaudible. Their set was evocative to their earlier material where 90s grunge flourished in heavy drone noise and distortion. The venue chants together “Feeder! Feeder!” unable to contain the excitement as much as the drummer who had already broken his kit after a few songs. Vocals that have matured since their top 10-debut single Buck Rogers verified Grant Nicholas’’s proficiency to maintain new keys on old songs such as Just the Way I’m Feeling – who he dedicated to his friend, ex-drummer and fan of Camden Town, Jon Lee who tragically passed away in 2002.
Electric Child House at the Hawley Arms
Upstairs away from the hum of conversation, a mob of head bangers bent their necks to the band’s intimate floor level clamour. Trippy feed back loop peddles heavy drumming and a frontman zapped from 1960s bohemia howled into the mic to top off the powerhouse set. The flailing of their long hair embellished the band’s chaotic aesthetics and stuck, like their fans before them, to any skin that came its way. Ending their set with their wig-blasting psychedelic single Soul Sucker, singer Matt Hookings bundled on top of the drummer to end the night’s rampageous finale.
At the same time, London indie-rockers The Rifles were playing at the Dingwalls what was described as “the swetiest shows of the day”, igniting the crowd with song such as Minute Mile and Local Boy.
Photos: Mike Garnell
Read our afternoon coverage of Camden Rocks 2017 here.