So I did indeed spend my bank holiday weekend in small sweaty venues amongst mostly male muso types and consequently headed into the following week with a stinking cold. It was an odd weekend and the Crawl as a whole a pretty subdued affair, as any venue bigger than a pub backroom was probably 3/4 empty until the Sunday night slots and the Camden streets themselves seemed eerily quiet.
Anyway, highlights, as outlined below, were by far Eugene, Baxter and Hawk Eyes, who we saw by default; we actually went to see Nzca/Lines in the Black Cap first, but since it smelled all kinds of wrong and all we could see were the backs of heads, we defected to the Purple Turtle for a belter; it was mental in that one. I’ve been following Hawk Eyes on Twitter, and it would appear that they’ve been collaborating with Napalm Death and Mark E Smith (Yep, him)… Wow, and I’m glad, cos they’re rad. Not that I know them personally, but its a big thumbs up from me. Certainly lifted my spirits after a damp day.
Outlined below are the best fings what happened at Camden Crawl. Full report over on No Fun.
Despite a subdued three quarters empty Koko (perhaps because people were saving themselves for his set later on at Dingwalls that same day), a very slight, sharply dressed Eugene Mcguinness emerged triumphant to provide a sharp set full of big pop hits from his latest high energy album The Invitation (with a cover of Ian Brown’s Dolphins and Monkeys thrown in for fun) Provocative hip thrusting motions and a tambourine add emphasis to the playful flamboyance of his latest album, notably when crooning through bond theme resembling Shotgun, bold in its cinematic percussion; and unleashing some highly charged, primal energy during ‘Lion’. Catchy, slightly camp and neurotically charged, this is high octane, intelligent pop, just the way it should be. CW
Keen to make sure we’re not flagging, Dury insists on checking in with us after each song with a geezerish ‘You alright, you sexy beasts?’ Ever the dapper gent in a three pice suit, Ian’s lad appears tonight backed by a scarily young band, with an atmospheric set which has the feel of a backroom gig in the late 70s. He opts to stand on the floor rather than the small stage to get among the crowd, who are threatening to burst the seams of the boozer and are being forced to stand on chairs to get some room. With a cheeky grin he gives each song a small synopsis by way of introduction ‘This song is about cocaine. Any of you do cocaine? It’s bad.’ (Cocaine Man) and ‘This one’s about trying to get out of a place you don’t wanna be, ya know?’ (Leak at the Disco) Perhaps unsurprisingly considering that Dury is now several albums deep into this career, Happy Soup is reigned back compared to its predecessors. However, songs like ‘Isabelle’, with celestial coos provided by keyboardist Madeliene Hart, express sharp, witty observational anecdotes from a charming man who’s lead a colourful life and has mellowed out enough to tell the tale. A rough diamond, if you will. CW
Nikki and the Dove
‘Just like a white winged dove…’
Judging by their production arrangement and Malin’s vocal style, Nikki and the Dove spent their formative long winters in Sweden twirling around with Bella Donna on repeat until their cassette players imploded. There are also traces of fellow swedes The Knife and even the likes of T’Pau in their sound, and even the most jaded synth addict would have found plenty to revel in during their blistering set. The thunderous use of tribal drum rhythms and sweltering korg patterns melt perfectly into Malin’s sweetly mystical vocals. As the screen behind them magnifies and reflects both the audience and stage, creating an other worldly, cinematic experience, it becomes clear that the band’s epic tidal wave of reverb could sound just as immense headlining venues with a far greater capacity. A career path that follows the trajectory of Florence and the Machine seems nothing short of a sure thing. CW
Having previously duetted with none other than Frank Bruno in former guise Chickenhawk, the band have shifted a gear in terms of their sound while still keeping their essence – punishing riffs. As the set progresses any barrier between band and audience is given the kicking it deserves as loyal fans (or friends of the band) wrestle for the mic to sing along, and lead singer Paul Astick ventures deeper into the writhing crowd, jutting his guitar around the heads of the assembled. The set ends with Astick mounting the bar to bust out the final chords of the amusingly titled ‘You Deserve A Medal’. Nothing like a good ear pummelling on a drizzly day. CW