Applied Linguistics graduate and freelance writer. Visit my twitter: @heyclairemarie
It may be best to come to Camden Rocks with a plan or at least spend some time at the start planning out what you are going to see. And then prepare for that plan to go out of the window.
Camden Rocks is a festival showcasing some of the best new music hailing from Britain. It pays homage to Camden's role as the hub of the British music scene, by setting the festival around it's many venues and bars.
Upon arrival at the World End's Pub, we joined the long queue snaking around the perimeter of the building, I was concerned we may not be able to locate the queue but needn't have worried as the queue could immediately be seen as soon as you walk out of the tube station. However, despite first glances, it didn't take me longer than ten minutes to get myself kitted out with a wristband (which I am still wearing as I write this) and a guide to the day.
First stop was the Canalside bar to see Josh Flowers and The Wild, who win the award for happiest band of the day. They really got us in the mood with their chilled blues vibe. Afterwards, we made our way across the Lock to Proud in order to see Ginger Wildhearts. This is where we hit a major snag as we discovered that the venue was full to capacity and they were not letting anyone else in. Yep, here the timetable was thrown aside. Luckily the Cuban was directly around the corner where we were welcomed by the 90s angst rock of Heel followed by screamo rock from Asylum (and some frankly disturbing groin thrusts). Probably not to our tastes but isn't that the great thing about festivals? They offer the chance to listen to music you probably wouldn't encounter otherwise.
We made a fleeting detour by the Jazz Cafe before settling down in the upstairs section of Bar 55 to enjoy Paul Miro. His confessional type ditties teamed with a rebellious edge made for a chilled and intimate half hour. The original plan was to make our way across to Dingwalls and stay there for the rest of the night, however we made a detour to the Hawley Arms to catch some of Rob Lynch's set. He has a fun Jamie T feel to his songs, with his set culminating in his single 'Hawking' which provided some singalong moments (on a side note, I liked the Hawley Arms as a festival venue, with its rooftop terrace providing a summery backdrop to this most inner-city of venues).
We made a trip back to the Canalside bar to see a recommended act, Longy. We were dubious but didn't need to be, as he turned out to be one of our highlights of the day. The clever use of a saxophone added an extra layer to his tracks and he is definitely one to watch out for the future. His track 'Careful what you wish for' is still stuck in my head. A big crowd had turned out to see them, including Carl Barat from The Libertines. My friend Nicola can't stop talking about him, that's how wowed she is.
We went through to Dingwells and straight into the complete rave-up which was Modestep's set. This was a completely different style to everything we had already heard that day, proving that Camden really does rock to all kinds of beats. The venue at this point was already full to capacity and a long queue had formed outside to get in.
Funeral for a Friend were on at 10.30pm and were definitely worth getting there early for, brandishing their eclectic style of screamo heavy metal to get the crowd jumping. Their set closed their venue on a high. There was also an after party at the Underworld for £10 extra, for those who had enough stamina.
Camden Rocks was £30 for a ticket, but seeing as there is a huge amount of acts on offer, this does seem a good price. Each set was only half an hour long, which was more like a selection box of music, but it definitely gave you a chance to find your new favourite band. It is just a shame that they didn't book the Subways for this year as well. Never mind, Camden Rocks definitely thrilled this little Rock and Roll Queen. I hope to make it back for 2016.