Festival Review: Camden Rocks 2018
With festival season truly underway, Camden Rocks added to a spectacular few weeks of live music goodness. Sprawling the full length of the London borough, Camden Rocks utilises its vast number of venues from Koko all the way up to The Fiddler’s Elbow.
We started our day at Camden Assembly with Drones. Their punky mix of post hardcore pulls a decent crowd for a set that starts at midday; if it wasn’t hot enough outside already, the Assembly is turned into a humid sweaty mess. Vocalist Lois climbs atop the bar and promises to come back and clean it later, track “Rorscharch” gets the reception is deserves and the day is well and truly started.
Running back down Chalk Farm Road to The Good Mixer, we catch the last half of Elswhere. They’re young, they’ve got attitude AND they’ve just signed to Marshall Records. As far as small venues go, The Good Mixer is as tiny as they come – it’s sardines from wall to wall. Singalong “Ignite” it returned to the elated 4-piece; this group are going places, and it’s coming soon.
Only a short walk to Electric Ballroom now takes us to Sleep Token. The ever secretive and devout group bring a decent TechFest crowd as vocalisations of “Praise Him” and “Worship” erupt from the audience. Their so-far limited back catalogue means that most of their set is familiar, but new song “Jaws” has those in attendance eager for a full length release. The vocals of Vessel are tormented but powerful.
We head down Camden Road to Koko, stopping off at Belushis to catch the last song of the pop punk outfit Better Than Never before The Lafontaines took to the southernmost stage of the festival. Cheerful banter from vocalist Kerr results in smiles all round and a dancing crowd that’s evidently very entertained.
Canvas bring the emotion to Dublin Castle with a small but dedicated crowd, whilst Crazy Town packs out the Electric Ballroom. Over towards Camden Market, Press To Meco get moshes going in the small floor of Dingwalls. Occasional mathcore riffage meets catchy clean hooks and accessible simplicity, almost a mix of Lower Than Atlantis’ early offerings and their most recent material. Again, a young band – the group have plenty of room to grow and it’s evident that they’ll do just that. One to watch.
Making our way back up, Koko is graced by Eliza And The Bear, the pop/funk machine. In stark contrast, The Black Heart fills for SHVPES where Griffin (vocals) provides arguably the most energetic performance we’d seen thus far today.
Back to Koko for Mallory Knox, then to Dublin Castle again for GreyHaven UK. Camden Rocks isn’t for the faint hearted. Carcer City get the heads rocking whilst Hacktivist tear The Underworld apart.
Headliners Maximo Park close out Koko for this year’s festival whilst Sikth reduce The Underworld even further. Back in Dublin Castle – The Faim haul the largest crowd we’d seen in that tiny room all day.
Camden Rocks was great, hot and definitely on our festival list for 2019.
Words and Photography by Rhys Haberfield