So many bands, so little time – this pretty much sums up Camden Rocks Festival. But here are some of the bands that we really loved.
First up is Barfly for alt-rock band Amaryllis (2.5/5).
The band are up and coming, so it’s understandable that they weren’t as energetic and in-your-face as the more experienced bands. Though their catchy alt-rock hooks and energetic melodies fill the walls of the Barfly, they fail to get the crowd moving, frequently asking people to move forward and fill up the empty space. Vocalist Sante Moonie has a lot more enthusiasm than the rest of the band, frequently bouncing and jumping around the stage. The rest of the band is quite mellow throughout (except drummer Michael Mann, who is rocking out behind his drum kit). Again, we’re chalking this up to nerves. The band plays the occasional heavy track and even a pop-punk one, and the instrument work is impeccable. Though the band succeeds in giving off powerful, angsty rock vibes, the vocals fall short tonight—the singer does mention he is sick, so that might explain why. The band jumps off the stage and ends their set with a weird, and kind of cool, 3-man mosh pit. Though the band had some hit and miss moments, they have enormous potential (and really catchy tunes) and we’re stoked to see what they do next.
Next up at Barfly is The Qemists (4/5)
The upstairs of Barfly is packed and filled with ravers ready to hear the Brighton-made electronic rockers The Qemists. The band is barely on the stage and the crowd already has their horns up waiting to start the madness.
The band starts their set with newer track ‘Jungle’ and unsurprisingly, everyone is off their feet. The band’s energy is infectious as the heavy drum and bass vibrate through the Barfly, bouncing off walls and hitting you smack in the face! The crowd is full of adrenaline and jumping up and down, and only the people standing still are those who cannot physically move due to lack of breathing room. The floor shakes and we’re honestly worried about the state of the lower floor of Barfly—we’re sure a few bits of the ceiling have fallen off and into a couple people’s drinks.
The band keeps it coming with the massive, all-consuming electronic tunes and cause one chaotic, sweaty party. Playing songs like ‘No More’ and ‘Run You’, the crowd is developing a new kind of dancing (half moshing together, half partying in their own world). But everyone is going nuts.
The Qemists are intense, wild and electrifying to watch. We’d definitely come to a Q party any day!
Our feet stay firmly planted on the ground as we wait for Creeper (4.5/5).
Since Creeper is the hype band of the moment, we knew that seeing them at Barfly would be the most claustrophobic, sweaty time of the entire festival, and we were right. Packed into the venue like sardines, personal space is a myth to Creeper fans right now.
The band gets onto the stage and everyone is already screaming along, jumping on one another and bouncing like there’s a large castle beneath them. But after what we witnessed at Slam Dunk, we weren’t expecting anything less. Vocalist Will Gould’s thick, passionate vocals soar across the band’s infectious, dulcet punk melodies and cause mosh pits galore. The crowd sings along to the explosive sounds of ‘VCR’, the unbelievably catchy ‘The Honeymoon Suite’ and the beautiful, slow and heartbreaking ‘Misery’. Filled with 80s glam rock vibes and pop-rock catchiness, the band play an exciting, energetic set that is met with huge applause and love by all.
Goth rock band New Years Day (3.5/5) are up next, so we head to Dingwalls.
New Years Day are definitely a fan favourite. Their vicious melodies combined with singer Ash Costello’s powerful, smooth vocals leave the crowd screaming, waving and hungry for more. NYD are definitely one of the most theatrical bands on the bill, and these fans love it. Playing tracks like the brilliant and catchy ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ and the forceful ‘Malevolence’, the band are definitely not lacking in energy or intense alt-rock vibes. Frontwoman Ash Costello has an incredible, captivating stage presence that really highlights why more people should take notice of New Years Day. The crowd doesn’t want NYD’s set to end as they continue dancing and headbanging along to every last note of their ferocious set.
9:45pm, which means it’s time for Young Guns’ (4.5/5) set and the room is full of eager fans.
A “we want Young Guns” chant erupts in the room and everyone is shouting and pointing. The alt-rock band make their way on stage and look genuinely happy and surprised at such a reaction, though they shouldn’t be, considering they are one of the most beloved bands in the UK.
The band are in excellent form this evening, causing the crowd to sway, headbang and jump up and down. I mean, when Young Guns says jump, you jump. Is there enough space? No. Are you too tired to? Yep, but you do it anyway because Young Guns’ music is too infectious for you to just stand still.
Entertaining frontman Gustav Wood bounces around commanding the stage, whilst the rest of the band weaves their powerful melodies with energetic flourishes and unrestricted exuberance. Gustav Wood’s passionate, impressive vocals are elevated by the intricate, exciting melodies, and you can see that this is exactly what these fans came for.
Whether you love Young Guns (which most people do) or you don’t really care for them, you can happily enjoy their sweaty, exciting and vigorous live set.