The Über-Rockin’ Guide To Camden Rocks (Saturday 3 June) Print
Written by Nev Brooks   
Saturday, 20 May 2017 04:30

Where do you start has got to be the first question – or, rather, who do you want to watch should be replaced with who would you be least upset with missing. Because, give Chris McCormack and his team their due, Camden Rocks seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year, with the bar being constantly raised.


Camden Rock Poster


Let me give you an example, with my first pick of a band not to be missed: The Urban Voodoo Machine… I’ve lost count of the times I’ve caught these guys live, and one thing I love is the fact you never know what you’re going to get. I’ve never seen them do the same set twice. How would I describe them? Bourbon soaked gypsy blues pop and stroll, just as the press blurb has always said, but add in a real punk rock attitude with a genuine New Orleans sway. When are they on? 1:45 in the Electric Ballroom! Fuck me, it’s going to be an early start. Perhaps sharing a drink after the set won’t be such a wise idea.


Next up, Big Boy Bloater And The Limits. Who? You might well ask, but this British R&B guitarist has headlined major blues festivals all over the world. Check out the ‘Sweet And Brown’ video with Imelda May to get a flavour… it’s gonna get raucous.



Changing tack, or genre even, the great thing about Camden Rocks is the diversity of the music and artists on show. So, now let’s look at an artist that got a great review here on Über Rock for a stunning debut LP (‘The Man With Stars On His Knees’) - Aaron Buchanan and the Cult Classics. I’m really looking forward to catching tracks like ‘Dancin’ Down Below’ live… I’m loving the retro vibe and the full on rock and roll attitude.


How do you follow that? Hopefully by taking in The King Blues (3pm @ Electric Ballroom). Their new LP ‘The Gospel Truth’ is an absolute blinder. I just love a band that tears up the rule book and mashes the genres into something new and exciting.


Moving on rather swiftly, I get the feeling I’m gonna put some miles in moving from venue to venue, but I’ll be there catching The London SS. If you like your rock and roll with a punk rock heart, these guys are not to be missed: think New York Dolls/Heartbreakers - you can just feel the attitude.



Talking about attitude, next pick Hands off Gretel (2pm @ Underworld) are a band that everyone who sees them raves about. You can understand it fully when you check out not just their live performances but the LP ‘Burn The Beauty Queen’. They might have gone down the DIY route, but there’s nothing DIY about the power and intensity they generate.


Sticking with the female-fronted bands, I’m going to be heading wherever to catch Anita Chellamah: she did front The Cherry Bombz after all! But do a little bit of digging and you’ll find this lady is glam rock and punk royalty: just stick a like on her page and see the artists she’s worked with. Absolutely one not to be missed.


I’m sticking with the ladies, bringing in an artist who is right on the verge of crossing over and exploding into the public consciousness: Louise Distras. Her latest single, ‘Outside Of You’ has all the trademark attitude that bled from the speakers when you played ‘Songs From The Factory Floor’. This girl has star quality oozing from every pore.



You begin to realize as you start to list what you want to see how good a line up this year’s Camden Rocks actually is!


I absolutely love the star-studded Bolan-esque glam rock and roll attitude of The Last Great Dreamers: these guys I last caught live at Slugfest after a particularly stunning Chuck Norris Experiment performance, and they matched it, but in a very different way. Rock and Roll to the core, but with that certain gypsy heart.


Changing genres ever so slightly, the pop punk of Brawlers will definitely set you up for a charge around the mosh pit. I was especially pleased to see The Role Models added to the bill: Glunk Records have issued both LPs, ‘Forest Lawn’ and ‘The Go To Guy’, after successful Pledge campaigns, and I’m expecting big things live.


I’m praying for a lack of clashes, but it’s going to be a military campaign just to get from venue to venue. But, an absolute must for me, never having caught them, are Reverend And The Makers (6.45pm @ Koko): I love a band that are just a little bit different, a band that really knows how to generate an atmosphere, with bags of attitude happy days.


I’m also going to be checking out some bands that catch my eye that I’ve heard absolutely nothing by: you never know – the likes of Veins, Plastic People, Neon Animal, The Garage Flowers, The Luka State or Tarantula could provide me with a new fave.



Where I end up end of the night? Who knows, and if I survive, Zodiac Mindwarp has to be a must - I haven’t seen the High Priest of Love in probably 20 years. The Damned (9pm @ Electric Ballroom) will be as superb as always, and Feeder are an amazing live act. And I haven’t even mentioned The Professionals, The Rifles, The Main Grains, Duncan Reid And The Big Heads… my words at the start of this piece my words are coming back to haunt me: “its not who you want to watch, but who you don’t mind missing!”


Happy trawling people, catch as much as you can, and just maybe go your own way and try listening to something or someone you’ve never heard before. Don’t you just love music?


Limited numbers of tickets remain, and are available HERE.


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