Camden Crawl 2012 Preview - Part One

As with last year, I'll be previewing and subsequently reviewing the festivals that I have the pleasure in attending over the course of the year, the first couple are arguably my favourites, the City festivals where at the end of the day you can go back to your own house / hotel and get a decent nights sleep. At my ever increasing age, there is a lot to be said for that ahead of negotiating mud, which I, as a three time Glasto mud-bath go-er can testify, is anything but fun. I'm doing my previews a little earlier this year 3/4 weeks before the event rather than the week before, hopefully to give a few people time to investigate my tips.

The Camden Crawl has expanded over the past few years and now encompasses a whole May Bank Holiday weekend's worth of live music and comedy events sandwiched into two miles worth of North London streets, pubs and venues, the weekend in question this year is 4-6th May. For the first time ever there is also a Dublin Crawl which will run the following weekend 11-12th May (details for that here).

The Camden Crawl though is my focus, it boast arguably one of its best ever line ups which you can see in full here. You can also buy day tickets and weekend tickets via seetickets now. This rest of this post will see me focus on the first half of a dozen acts I recommend you to watch, the first focusing on acts playing on Saturday, tomorrows post will focus on Sunday. Venue and times currently unknown.

Echo Lake - Facebook

Echo Lake are a band I featured (again) just a few days ago in their own right after the release of their incredible new track "Even The Blind" got me excited about their forthcoming debut album.

This will probably be the first time I'll see the band in 2012 after seeing them seven times in 2011. Fans of beautiful, shimmering guitars and ethereal vocals should make sure Echo Lake are high on their agenda, one minute soft and dreamy, the next psychedelic, kaleidoscopic and always bloody brilliant. Thom's guitar playing is worth the admission price alone. Check them out.

Fear of Men - Facebook
I'm intrigued to see Fear of Men, I've not seen them since last year and the Brighton/London quartet have had a bit of a make-over since then with two new members joining the ranks, their releases thus far have been nothing short of exceptional. 'Ritual Confessions' was one of the best debut 7" of last year (now sold-out so my opinion is not alone) and their demo tapes (similarly unavailable) were nothing short of wonderful.

"Doldrums" while only a demo, is just gorgeous, swirling guitars and precise drums give the platform for Jess's gorgeous vocals to make you go weak at the knees before a fuzzed-up stomping finale hints at the bands live bite. One not to miss.

Keep Shelly In Athens - Facebook

I band (well a duo) I keep missing when they play in London, I'll be aiming to change that at the Camden Crawl, Keep Shelly in Athens were a bit of a bloggers favourite last year after releasing a couple of records via Forest Family, the label of heavy-hitting blog Gorilla vs. Bear.

The hype went some-way to being justified with tracks like "Lazy Noon" and "Running Out of You", both gorgeous, down-tempo numbers which ooze night-time atmospherics and Sally's beautiful soft, haunting vocals. Not 100% sure what to expect from them in the live arena but that's surely the point of a festival... To see a few bands you've not seen before.

Stealing Sheep - Facebook

Stealing Sheep, the third one of my 'tips for 2012' to feature in this preview already (a sign of the compatibility of the line-up with my tastes - I'm happy to curate a stage if you want guys!) have been keeping me happy for quite some time now, they're unlike any other band I can thing of and their blend of 60's psychedelic, off-kilter melodies wrapped around beautiful harmonies and tribal drums are sure to win over even more people later this year with the release of their debut album. Currently on tour with Sea of Bees, this will be the second time I see the trio in the matter of weeks, that's definitely a good thing.

This is the Kit - Facebook

This is the Kit is primarily the work of Kate Staples now Parisian based but originally from Bristol, her (and accompanying band's) blend of soulful Folk will be a welcome change to the more electric music I'll be checking out for the majority of the weekend.

Taken from their second album 'Wriggle Out The Restless', "Earthquake" is quite wonderful, its repetitive guitar groove creates an hypnotic, bluesy feel that makes you want to be dancing around a field (well when I say dancing I mean nodding my head) and Kate's mellow voice, heavenly. Equally incredible are the enchanting "See Here" and "Waterproof", a band to feature here again.

Veronica Falls - Facebook

I've said this before but it still applies, there's no sign of the Veronica Falls juggernaut stopping anytime soon. Following on from a rather bloody excellent show at Scala last month that lifted the groups darkly dramatic ramshackle pop to new heights and a new single "My Heart Beats" (alongside other new tracks being played live) hinting at a quick return for the London / Glasgow four-piece this show could be one of the last times to catch them before the rest of the world realises how good they are and the band are playing in much bigger venues than a pub in Camden.