Camden Rocks Festival 2016 Review

In the best Bruce Buffer impersonation that you can do – WE ARE LIVE. 20 venues 200 bands and a press pass! Welcome to Camden Rock festival which adds more hustle and bustle to THIS vibrant part of London Town, the world famous Camden Town

In the best Bruce Buffer impersonation that you can do – WE ARE LIVE. 20 venues 200 bands and a press pass!

Welcome to Camden Rock festival which adds more hustle and bustle to THIS vibrant part of London Town, the world famous Camden Town.

Its 12’ o clock and AltCorner are at the Crowndale formerly known as Purple Turtle to see three piece rockers, The Kut.

Their 30 minute set smashes the cobwebs out of the re-opened Purple Turtle. With songs such as ‘Mania’ and ‘I Don’t Need No Therapy’, this set kicked things off perfectly. Their single ‘Bad Man’ was recently released this month and got the heads bobbing. The three of them show no fear in rocking out at 12 o clock in the afternoon especially when many are still recovering from Friday.

They finished with ‘Hollywood’ and to be honest I can see they would totally carry on playing for an extra hour or so. Great way to start this festival off.

Onwards to the Cuban bar on Chalk Farm Road where Anita Chellamah’s band is performing, the reinvigorated frontwoman formerly of 80s rock band Cherry Bombz is back on the scene with the awesome Timo Kaltio on guitar and boy did she give the crowd an awesome re-introduction.

You should understand, this is Anita Chellamah’s first electric gig in nearly thirty years and it was a great welcome back. You can tell how someone is appreciated when you see other musicians in the crowd…I can See Ginger Wildheart is in the crowd watching, he is also performing next and two more times today.

Back in the day The Wildhearts were one of the biggest bands in the UK, then they were no more. Main man Ginger Wildheart continues to perform and release albums as solo performer. The Cuban is still stacked and packed to the rafters. Gig goers arms lift in the air belting out his songs with the Geordie musical Legend. The charismatic singer and guitar player has the crowd in his hands and he event told a bad joke…Oh the joke – it’s raining Japanese mechanical parts – it’s raining Datsun car parts….get it?

Staying at the Cuban as the vibe just has the passion for good old rock n roll, the crowd stayed on for some South London swagger, here are The Peckham Cowboys. Giving out tracks from their brilliant album ‘10 Tales from the Gin palace. Guitarist Timo Kaltio was back on stage with his band after playing with Anita Chellamah.

Ok, it’s time for …FOOD! What else could I have but something from the world famous market and a shrimp burger is the choice, Grilled Shrimp with bacon in a brioche bun with avocado and something else that I have no idea what it is but,  one thing I know is this wouldn’t be good for the Weight Watchers point system. But it was nice.

Moving on to the Dingwalls by Camden lock, I saw ‘We Were Giants’ playing a stunning thirty minute set. Announcing to the crowd “we are We Were Giants and we are from Dublin, we didn’t bring the translator”. Superb talent and a great sense of humour. They comment about the Weather in Ireland at the moment, which I can vouch for as I came back yesterday and it is HOT, Hot I tell you all and these guys are here in London missing the heat wave to perform a truly memorable set.

I walk to the Camden High Road to see where the wind will take me, one of those wonderful moments is happening. Crunching heavy guitar sound, the scream of someone who knows how to pull this off and there I am, I am standing in the Canalside bar.

Welcome to Blood Youth.

Their set has my ear drums pounding making its own drumbeat. The gratefulness to a festival such as Camden Rock putting on events like this that gives bands the chance to play infront of an excitable crowd is one that Blood Youth relish, delving through tracks from both of their EP’s.

There’s an image around Camden today, a sight of diversity, the mods, the rockers, the metal heads, the indie goers, the Nu mettlers with the skins and the Rastafarians…this isn’t just about hearing new music, it’s about getting people together.

Next is a band that is rising to the stars…

Yorkshire’s Hands Off Gretel played downstairs at the Barfly, this has now become a one in, one out venue entrance. It wasn’t too long but I got in, and inside it felt like I lost a stone or two in this hot sweltering venue. Hands Off Gretal have a wonderful lead singer who’s having a wonderful time. I have had the pleasure of interviewing her in the past. She is a musician who knows where she’s heading and commands what the band will produce in a live format. Oh and I do have beard envy with their guitar player!

Next, I was off to see a little bit of Billy Bragg, this  wasn’t very easy to get in, but I heard from outside…

I decided to go all Adam Richman from Man vs Food to see where the food gods will take me – my dinner for the night was Poppies – the famous fish and chip shop in Hawley Crescent. Fresh fish is sent here every day. I’ve been to the one in Brick lane somewhere, so this is the time I sit down, recollect on the day so far. Now back to the music…

I walk on to see Lounge Kittens who I hear are to look out for. I couldn’t get in…NOOOO. I try a few more different venues and they are doing a one in one out policy, which is great as people are seeing the bands who work hard to get here. But this time I know who to get in to see….I head to the Underworld…

The Underworld, so many bands I‘ve seen play in this venue, a venue that looks perfect as the entrance to Hell. My Ruin, Senser, Adlers Appetite, Cold in Berlin Biohazard, The Graveltones are all bands I have been to see here and tonight it is my turn to see Yashin. A post-hardcore band with American and Scottish influence as a member Of the band says to the head-bangers this next song is from our last album…which was three years ago, that’s the American laziness for you and the Scottish who wear dresses….his counterpart looked at him as like he just told the world he wears dresses, which isn’t a bad thing especially in the heat today.

It’s a crazy full on day where I witnessed many good up and coming bands and some old school cats who are still around. I got to stand hands length from Ginger Wildheart, I shook the hand of Timo Kalito and hugged Anita Chellamah along with princess Maha and Diana Brattman.

So as they say tonight is over and welcome tomorrow, Camden Rock Festival has finished and my feet are crying, my ears need a rest and I cannot wait until the next one.


Mark Wincott

June 6, 2016

Hey! I am Mark, a recovering grunger who had hair...oh and I once got barred from a Wetherspoons. I'm also always wondering who this "better" person people keep telling me I should know is!

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