As has become something like traditional, the Camden Crawl returns to fire the starting gun for another festival season.
Once again spread over a Friday and Saturday in April, the NW1 bash has grown each year since its inception in 2006 and for the first time this year it includes sets in the main Roundhouse space.
The announced headliners seem like the sort of people to defy a recession to see. Yeah Yeah Yeahs are stopping off in Camden on the Friday as part of their tour supporting new album It’s Blitz! Or maybe you’d prefer to remember what you’d forgotten of the ’90s with the return of space cadets 808 State?
One reliably bonkers act always worth experiencing is the ever-changing and never-predictable monster that is Mark E Smith’s The Fall, playing the Crawl for the first time on Saturday. He’s not the only old timer; Billy Bragg returns, also on the Saturday night, following his rammed and well-received set at the Electric Ballroom in 2007. Echo & The Bunnymen make their Crawl debut too.
Just behind the lustre of the headliners, plenty of breaking acts will have their chance to win over a festival crowd for the first time. Class of 2009ers Frankmusik (Saturday only); BBC Sound Of 2009 winner Little Boots (Saturday only); Sheffield-via-Jamaica dancehall masher Toddla-T (Saturday only); DJ crossovers Filthy Dukes (Friday only); Jools Holland favourite VV Brown and laptop kid and former Minty associate Dan Black all have major label backing to go all the way and have either just released their debut albums or are about to do so.
Bubbling just under the radar and likely to make a messy splash soon are pop wonders Marina And The Diamonds, who play both days; Alessi’s Ark, the moniker used by Alessi Laurent-Marke for her gentler, England-meets-Americana sounds, and the splendidly named Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, whose ’80s-worshipping style has already been brought to bear in a slew of remixes.
Stalwarts of the indie scene, for those who like their meat with two veg, are of course in attendance. They’re headed by likable Dundee types The View (Saturday only), Brighton boys Brakes (Friday only) and Roddy Woomble’s Idlewild (Friday only). Recent additions to the bill Kasabian and The Enemy both have new albums to promote. Meanwhile dance heads will have their ears full with Count & Sinden and Datarock.
As ever with the Crawl, venues for the many and varied acts will be announced at the last possible moment, and even then there’ll likely be last-second changes. Queues outside venues hosting the better known acts are inevitable, but with so many acts in so many places there’s always going to be someone worth seeing just a short walk away. This being the Camden Crawl, it’d be best not to bet against surprise last-minute appearances too.
As such, your highlight might well be none of the above. It might be Kasms, who promise “shriekbeat”; perhaps Cherbourg will lay down a marker for something of a Levellers-y folk rock nature. It’s possible that The Big Pink will blow you away with debut single Velvet and much more from whence it came. Or maybe you’ll be the first to catch a new act that, this time next year, will be a name on everyone’s lips.
musicOMH will again be stalking the streets from Mornington Crescent to Chalk Farm to bring you reviews of both days, together with a spot of bloggery and quite possibly some tipsy tweeting. See you there.