It's been quite a few months for Camden: firstly Amy Winehouse's favourite boozer goes up in flames and then April comes and instead of showers they get snow. And all before the indie-Mecca trekker returns with another cracking line-up...
The hallowed North London borough, seen by many as the capital's guitar-music hub, is ready to once again throw open its venues to thousands of punters vying to see the acts on the verge of making it big.
With queuing as much the part of the festival as the music its essential to know which bands you want to watch. So while local residents get ready to be invaded by the hype and hairspray you can have a cuppa and a biscuit and peruse this preview for the bands to look out for…
The Wave Pictures – Friday and Saturday
As synthesisers and electronic drums tried to single handily destroy all music forever in the 80's, it was down to a certain miserable Morrissey to kick the casket over and revive the sounds that would save lives again. If he was born ten years later Sam Fox would've been PM and a baggy trousered Morrissey would be fronting this band somewhere in a dusty antiques shop. With the acoustic tendencies of The Coral and turn of phrase of The Smiths frontman The Wave Pictures are a delightful balance between books and hooks.
Florence and the Machine – Friday and Saturday
Lets admit it – we've all had enough of Adele Duffyhouse filling more column inches than they have potential this year. So please hold back from ramming your vinyl copy of 'Rockferry' through the computer screen when we recommend another golden-voiced chanteuse. Florence's rasp warbles towards a forties blues singer like Liz Green, but with more of a soul edge, while her Machine (her acoustic guitar) provides anti-folk flavourings leaning the right side of the gentler blues genre. Plus she'll probably throw in a Girls Aloud cover quicker than Cheryl Cole throws her husband.
Natty – Friday only
Britain has never been good at roots, reggae or ska. In fact it's never really come close to even being average. The faux reggae of UB40 and Aswad would've been laughed out of Studio One studios, while Duke Reid himself would've snapped Madness' Price Buster crud-plates. Natty is a refreshing mix of off-beat acoustic guitars and roots-rap-reggae words covering the common place Jamaican lyrical subjects in a authentic British context. Sorry, tings got a bit heavy there!
Wiley – Saturday only
We've all been caught doing the 'Macarena' at the school reunion or even wobbling the 'Las Ketchup' dance after too many Breezers in Salou, but finally – FINALLY! There's a dance move that's backed by a heavy humping rave anthem with cockney rhyming slang to boot. Wiley's 'Wearing My Rolex' may be the tune most will wait to hear, but the grime prince and esteemed performer will show you exactly why how he paved the way for a certain D. Rascal.
Thecocknbullkid – Friday and Saturday
Thecocknbullkid's music gives you as much breathing space as her name, but finally the quintessential RnB star Britain should've produced years ago has arrived, not only to rival Rihanna or Beyonce, but to smash their gold discs off their mansion walls after an afternoon on the Mad Dog 20/20. With pumping old-rave playground synths like MIA, beats half-inched from Kano and Peaches-eque lyrics, this urban princess is less even regal than the Queen's Corgis.
Screaming Tea Party – Saturday only
As their name doth suggests it's like popping over to see the Mad Hatter for a quick cuppa before a drunken Edvard Munch sneaks around to line the cha with Absinth and mushrooms. Their gentler songs sound like The Strokes covering Leonard Cohen while Hammond Jr is unplugged, but their heavier stuff is Sonic Youth-infused fuzz punk that will leave you with gromits in your ears, vomit down your top and a smile on your toothless mouth.
Ida Maria – Friday and Saturday
With the gravel-swallowing grumble of Cerys Matthews and the infectious indie pop-rock that would get The Wombats battered at a Machine Head gig, this young Scandinavian scamp has already started to make waves with 'Stella' and the throat burning 'Oh My God'. But catch her live to see her relentless and mainly needless destruction the stage and more blood than a Gallows concert.
Lets Wrestle – Friday and Saturday
"Let’s wrestle, let's fucking wrestle," this trio sing, well stumble through, like a pubescent Franz Ferdinand in front of their music class. A mash of quick Dan Sartain sixties guitar riffs, trembling solos and lazy mumbled lyrics may sound like a Babyshambles early recording session, but these lads are simply pulling off the indolent and sluggish traits of every teenage boy through the medium of song.
Dead Kids – Saturday only
Dead Kids are probably not the first thing you'd like to find when you walk into a bar. But this East London four-piece are an aural GHB of electro stabs, breathless beats and trundling punk basslines. Like Custer, the quartet are taking a last stand for nu-rave and kicking their contemporaries in the balls. Pull the fad to shreds and you'll be left with this lot and The Sunshine Underground.
Rosie Oddie and the Odd Squad – Saturday only
Bill Oddie likes bad jokes and bad t-shirts and you're thinking, two wrongs don't make a right, but the bird man's daughter comes unscathed. Get your binoculars at the ready and scout out the acoustic styling's of this young songstress. Originally she plied her trade alone but the odd squad has created a off-beat delight, with songs of 'Cat Murders' and 'Dead Sisters'. Oddie has a voice is not unlike Macy Gray and refreshingly her imagination is just as wild.