The Big One: Camden Crawl 2010

We look ahead to this week's biggest festival draw: Camden Crawl in London.

What is it?

A weekend featuring some of the most highly-rated groups, both new and established, performing throughout a plethora of venues in London’s most famous town, Camden.

When and where?

The action takes place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 May, which, of course, is a Bank Holiday weekend. No excuses for not over-indulging then as you can sleep it all off on Monday (unless your job requires you to work on Bank Holidays, in which case, that’s just too bad).

Pretty much every single Camden venue will be hosting gigs, including KOKO, the Roundhouse, the Barfly, Dingwalls and the Underworld, to name but a few.

Who to watch:

Anyone who’s ever been to a UK nightclub in the last few years will almost definitely have heard a Pendulum song in one form or another, be it the ultra-catchy ‘Slam’ or their fine remix of The Prodigy’s ‘Voodoo People’.  The Australian crew’s irresistible blend of dance, drum n’ bass and rock, as well as an impressive live show, has established them as one of the most sought after acts on the festival circuit.  Their Camden Crawl appearance should provide a win-win start to the summer’s antics.

Roots Manuva

Rodney Smith, aka Roots Manuva, is one the most important UK hip-hop artists of the last decade and this hometown appearance is sure to go down a storm (die-hard and pedantic Londoners would probably point out here that he’s from south of the river, so technically it’s not quite a proper hometown gig, but we’ll choose to ignore all that).  Well-known hits like ‘Witness (1 Hope)’ and ‘Dreamy Days’ will certainly get the crowds going.

The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

This rip-roaring Brighton mob will undoubtedly deliver a full-on, frantic display that will instantly grab you by the jaffers.  Having come through the departure of lead guitarist Rich Fownes unscathed, and with Tristan Mclenahan now grinding the axe in his place, Eighties Matchbox are all set for the release of album number three in May.  This should make their Camden Crawl appearance all the more exciting.

Plan B

This East London lad, known to his mother as Ben Drew, has recently gone from strength to unstoppable strength with his second album, ‘The Defamation of Strickland Banks’, having just hit the number one spot in the UK charts.  As a guitar-playing rapper, as well as boasting an impressive singing voice, Plan B is a man of many talents.  He’s even made his name lately as an actor, appearing in the film ‘Harry Brown’ alongside none other than Sir Michael Caine (which was a much more impressive feat before the latter’s recent smooching up to David Cameron – yep, that’s right, we just provided some topical, hard-hitting political satire!).

One to miss:

The Drums
Possibly a controversial choice here as The Drums have been widely tipped by many so-called experts.  Anyone though who has ever dared to judge a band by what they hear rather than what they see or read will instantly realise that this New York quartet is nothing more than another uninspiring and unoriginal ensemble of boring indie dribble.

Inside tip:

Drums of Death
Popular rumour has it that Scottish musician Colin Bailey, who goes by the stage name Drums of Death, was cursed by a voodoo spell in Haiti and had his heart replaced by a drum machine.  Whether you believe in black magic shenanigans or not, it should be well worth checking out the techno grime stylings that have endeared this mysterious face-painted fellow to the London club scene.

Be at Camden Crawl if you like…

…showing off to people that you go to Camden all the time as well as knowing all of the latest up and coming bands that are being talked about. If this is you, then this is your dream weekend.

Avoid if you…

… are expecting to catch loads and loads of sun based purely on the premise that this is a festival in what is generally considered to be a summer month. It’s all indoors, stupid.

Festival Tactics

Get to Camden early and check out the comedy, pub quizzes and alternative entertainment on offer and enjoy an afternoon pint. Then, if you really have to see a band, get there early as the most popular acts will fill venues very quickly. For the more adventurous, ditch the programme and join any old line and see what you discover – even if it turns out that you’re queuing for the cash machine.

Fashionista or folky?

Definitely fashionista.  With the famous Camden market on its doorstep, expect to see plenty of people dressed up to within an inch of ridiculousness. There could well be a few people present who you know are only there to be seen and would probably give you a confused, patronising grunt if you asked them what bands they were there to watch.

Alcohol of choice

The festival is sponsored by Gaymer’s, so said cider will probably be freely available (not literally alas). If there are two places where alcohol seems to be excessively priced though, then it has to be festivals and London.  Camden Crawl is both of these.  If money’s tight, then you could do worse than buying a bottle of White Lightning from an offy and polishing it off by Camden Lock in between bands.

Take your mum score – 2/10

The Sugababes may be playing, but the chances are she won’t know any of other the bands at all. She’ll probably find Camden a bit too smelly and over-crowded too.

Can I still get a ticket?

Yes, yes you can.  Weekend tickets are on sale for £57 (plus booking fee) and day tickets are £35.50 (plus booking fee).

Click here to buy Camden Crawl tickets.