Camden Rocks Festival – London, UK (2nd June 2018)

For those who don’t know Camden Rocks festival has taken place around the first Saturday of June for 7 years now. There are over 20 venues and over 200 bands playing today.

The weather is set fair for the day which means a crowded Camden and hot venues throughout.

The first act kicking things off at midday were Dirty Thrills at The Underworld. Their infectious blues tinged rock gets the day off to a great start in a reasonably full venue for the time of day. You can catch them again at the Stone Free Festival on June 16th at the O2.

Moving on to a packed Dublin Castle to see Tequila Mockingbyrd. This straight up rock n roll band from down under suffered the misfortune to have their gear stolen in Spain earlier in May. Thankfully many generous contributors raised £7k to enable them to continue their tour which lasts in to August. Their track “I Smell Rock n Roll” could be the soundtrack of this very hot day. A great set and certainly a band to check out if you can.

For those who remember them in the mid to late noughties punk rockers Towers of London had a reputation for being obnoxious drunkards intent on living the rock n roll dream to the max. It is often forgotten they had some great tunes. At the packed Monarch they played a few of those old songs “I’m A Rat”, “F*** It Up” and “On A Noose” went down a treat. They also showcased a few new songs. It was like watching two different bands. The good thing was both bands were really good. Stand out new tracks were “Green Eyes” and “Shot In The Dark”. The band have obviously matured in attitude and sound.

Swiftly on up the road to The Fiddlers Elbow to watch Hightown Parade. Led by vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist Chris Payn this band are just starting out but have a lot of variety already to offer. They start with latest single “Silhouette” which is catchy from the off. Another standout track was “Choose”. The vocal style is reminiscent of The Struts and even a bit of Sean Harris from Diamond Head (70’s/80’s NWOBHM). Absolutely one to watch out for.

Back to The Monarch for Scottish rockers The Amorettes. This is the third time they have played Camden Rocks and the second time at The Monarch. Just like last time there are queues outside of people who cannot get in. The venue is so hot by now and the reception every song the band play gets turns up the temperature a notch more. New songs from the latest album including title track “Born to Break” and “Everything I Learned, I Learned From Rock n Roll” fit seamlessly in to the set. They finish with the very apt “Hot n Heavy”. Simply one request….put The Amorettes in a bigger venue next time.

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Over at Fest (was Proud) are Hands Off Gretel. Fronted by the charismatic Lauren Tate, this grunge band have an energy and aura about them live which demands your attention. Judging by the number of people inside Fest, this band is capable of going places. Drawing songs mainly from their album “Burn The Beauty Queen” and EP “My Size” the set flew by and the songs are delivered with an element of dark humour sometimes lacking in this sub-genre of rock.

At The Assembly The Main Grains led by the re-invigorated Danny McCormack (Wildhearts / YoYo’s) showcase their simple yet catchy rock n roll. Danny has had his well documented health issues resulting in him being seated for the set after a life saving amputation of one leg. He looks well and is on top form as are the band. The crack from the stage supplements the cracking songs. The Main Grains play many of their own tracks but also chuck in at the end The Yo Yo’s “Keeping On Keeping On” and The Wildhearts “Anthem”

Finally on to Dingwalls for Urban Voodoo Machine. The multi-instrumentalists are led by Paul-Ronney Angel. The band are great fun live and get everyone involved. They class themselves as Bourbon Soaked Gypsy Blues Bop n Stroll. They are unique and a great way to end the day at Camden Rocks Festival 2018.