A journey through London’s iconic Rock Festival

Camden, London’s picturesque, canal-side hub of music packed out with world-class venues, famed by an illustrious history of some of the most culturally significant artists -both music and visual – and a whole host of creatives. 

There’s no place better to hold Camden Rocks festival, a weekend to coast around venue to venue, discovering all bands established and new.

A favourite dark and dingy stomping-ground, Dingwalls is where we caught Strange Bones and The Blinders. The pair being heavy on the touring scene, both having been supported by the brilliant Calva Louise on their recent tours.

Strange Bones gave out a full on, no-surrender set. Bobby had been ruthless with his adventures into the mosh pits, adding to his creepy, melodramatic stage presence with the addition of a gothic gas mask.  Though their vocals were hard to hear to say the least, Strange Bones made up for it in their performance.

The Blinders, with their debut album causing a ruckus in the music world, their live sets do nothing but strengthen the quality of their debut album, ‘Columbia’. Thomas continuously loses himself in his own world, the crowd basking in his gritty guitar tones and heavy melodies, which fuel the sweaty and gyrating bodies of the particularly savage moshes. 

Gotta Get Through’ had grabbed me by the scruff and thrusted me unwillingly into a creepy rock-filled trance. They carried the vibe through with songs like ‘Et Tu’, of which I found myself rescuing fallen victims of the sweaty mosh pits. Throwing in ‘Rat in a Cage’ left me feeling content, confirming my ticket to every next one of their gigs.

False Head’s full head-banging set visually reminded me of Towers of London, each song keeping up the momentum. Although I’d keep the stage jumping to a crowd which is ready for it. Great set though.

Sunday we are see artists like the sultry electronic and poetic stylings of Roe, before rushing to catch The Pearl Harts show at The Monarch. Their set is feast of sound, with the raw blues style offering and call and response lyrics. We walk into the sound of L.A.R.A their track about artist, Lara Smiles, who we are off to catch at the next venue.  The venue is packed to the rafters and security has to clear people off the stairs as they try to fit into this small and intimate show, while Kirsty Lowery invites the entire crowd for a drink afterwards.

We get to the Camden Eye just in time to see Lara Smiles, she racks up the energy factor even more, with her powerful Beth Ditto like vocals, in this energetic and exhilarating set, her tracks performed perfectly and with precision as she storms though, almost matching the raucous intensity of Saint Agnes. Lara cruised through her debut album, ‘All For You’, as if she completely reconstructs it at every performance. Stand out tracks make an impression ‘Save Yourself’, ‘And It Hurts’, and she bounces into ‘Dictate Peace’, with a hint of glam.  

While Bugeye add more to the bling and glitz already provided by Lara Smiles in her all in one Barbarella style lyrcra cat suit, the three Bugeye girls get the glitter on, with full-on sequins as indie-glam combines with disco guitars and electro punk.

Camden Rocks yet again brings together the best of London’s rock scene and more. If you want a true taste of new and established artists all in one historic arena, look no further.

Pics Luca Viola

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