After seven years away the Camden Crawl returned to….well Camden mostly. A chance for only 15 english pounds to catch 40 of the hottest upcoming bands at ten venues spread across NW1, or to look it another way, your unique opportunity to miss 35 of the hottest upcoming bands in one fun filled evening.
The Crawl ignored the unwritten gig laws of putting all the crap on early, and kicked off at 7pm sharp with Art Brut, 80’s MatchBox, Departure, The Others and Hot Chip. This is unfortunate as we rocked up fashionably late at 7.30.
After collecting our wrist bands, the slightly unwise choice to see Hot Chip was made, and after much walking a steady realisation came over us that the Camden Crawl was a fairly loose label, and that “The Camden and almost all the way to Kentish Town tube crawl” would have been a more accurate if slightly unwieldy title. Anyway we arrived at Bullet just in time to see Hot Chip announce….

“and this is our last number…thank you”

From what i heard I wish I’d caught the rest of the set as they sounded much like they do on record only with added man on moogtastic duty turning as many ancient synthlike knobs as fast as is humanly possible with only two hands.

For the 8pm slot we headed back into Camden, initially to see Sons & Daughters, but after seeing the size of the queue made the decision to check out Maximo Park at KoKo, and perhaps stick our heads round the door of a few other venues on the way. I’d never heard of “Drive like you stole it” before but based on the proximity of the door to the pavement we ambled in.

Drive Like You Stole It - Mel in full poseI think I moved?Small but perfectly formed

DLYSI certainly injecting a bit of Rawk into an otherwise indiefied atmosphere reaching a creshendo when having whipped up a “mighty storm of rock”, the venues electricity supply took a strop and deceided that frankly it didnt need this kind of hassle and could just as easily have a quiet night in providing the sophorific Magic Numbers with 40 volts. The venue was plunged into darkness to the delight of the crowd.
Mel & Simon Young who together witha drummer I didnt notice on the night, obviously abandoned an early ploy to pretend to be brother/sister/husband/wife on the grounds that such a dull ruse would never get them any publicity, concentrating instead on creating a Foo Fighters-esque noise with tunes thrown in for good measure. At five foot nought, lead singer Mel produces a sound with tardis like qualities…that is to say hidden behind in her case a beautiful yet bonsi like figure lies a sound “powerful enough to knock God off his throne in the sky and send him tumbling earthwards” http://www.drivelikeyoustoleit.co.uk/.
Simon is also gifted with the ability to create a noise that makes it appear that his head retracts back at the jawline, like somekind of crazed rock sunroof, with his words free to propel out unfetered by the restrictions of the upper part of his head…..but perhaps I’m exaggerating a little!?
Anyway they were a pleasant surprise, and caused us to arrive at KoKo just in time to hear the catch phrase of the evening “Thank you, this is our final number”. Again from the sound of just one number Maximo Park seemed pretty good live but who can tell with only one track.

Realising that the beer to walking ratio was badly out of kilter we decieded to stay at KoKo and catch The Magic Numbers followed by headliners Goldie Looking Chain, not to mention taking in what is a beautiful old venue. A couple of songs into The Magic Numbers however we realised that they were really quite dull, and an attempt to get to see Graham Coxon was the only option. To be fair i’ve liked the few bits of Magic Numbers i’ve heard before, but on stage they seemed a bit like the Polyphonic Spree only stripped of their capes, numbers, joy, and most impotantly the tunes. The only point of interest seemed to be that all four members had long hair, but ZZ Top tried that with beards and even they shaved them off eventually, and at least their tunes had legs!

We're hairy..please clap

In all honestly I didnt rate our chances of getting in to see Graham Coxon given that the Dublin Castle is just a pub, and as expected the 4000 plus punters that had been milling around Camden, had by 10:15 made the decision to form an orderly queue outside. Gutted at not seeing Coxon but determined to miss the rest of The Magic Numbers we tried to catch the end of “The Black Velvets” at the Bull&Gate. We joined the queue, and could just about hear the set from within, peaking through a side door to see the drumkit in action, but a muffled “thank you london, this is our final number” filtered out through the door, and we opted to skip Hope of the States (good, but seen them before) and return to the GLC at KoKo.

GLC - Camden Crawl 05GLC - Camden Crawl 05

Goldie Lookin’ Chain seemed to be the ugly duckling of the headline acts and the grand old Camden Palace was barely half full when they bounded onto the stage. It seemed like an odd choice to pick a rap act (albiet a novelty one) and put them in one of the biggest venues on an essentially indie or at least guitar fest of an evening. GLC seemed uneffected by the sparse crowd, and worked their way through their reportoir of gags, singalong chorus’s, and clever references to long forgotten hiphop tracks, although this being an NME reading audience perhaps that should be never heard of hiphop tracks, leaving them pondering if Scott La Rock was a Glaswegian metal act. They were entertaining, certainly put on a good show, and the singles together with the hillarious “Shit On You” & “Man Machine” brought a big smile to the face…unfortunatly it seemed to just go on a bit, becoming very samey..and although the smile was still there as they headed back to Gosforth services it was a little forced.

Being a lite weight, and also due to the queue at the Electric ballroom, we decieded to catch the last tube, and call it a night. I hadnt seen many, actually any, of the people I wanted to see, but somehow that didnt matter that much. I’ll definitly be crawling again in 2006, where else can you fit in as many “and this is our final numbers” in one night?