Chris Reynolds

10:21 28th April 2009

The sun’s out again but today it’s less welcome after the excess of the night before. It’s time to relax during the day and see what’s on show. Gigwise finds a man who has turned his bike frame upside down and converted it into a drum kit outside the Lock Tavern – hats off to him. We also find that the Hawley arms is bloody busy whatever time of day you go there and we can’t work out whether Dexter Fletcher, of Lock Stock fame, is lost or a closet Camden Crawler. Either way Camden is a bustling picture of colours and people with an atmosphere to match even before the serious business of the evening music begins.

That business begins in the sweaty Spread Eagle for a secret set from Graham Coxon. The blessed Twitter feed which led us here deserves some credit for this one. 10 minutes before the Blur guitarist emerges though and we’re wishing we’d never spotted that feed as we sit crushed into a sweaty corner of the pub with a perfect view of the ceiling and very little else. After a few slow paced tracks including ‘This House’ and ‘If you want me’ we decide to pop outside from the sweat pit and see what the view is like from the giant windows surrounding Coxon’s position. Much better is the answer. Fresh air, a can of Red Stripe and a front row view of Graham Coxon – not bad for 6pm.

James Yuill is doing his best to impersonate Get Cape Wear Cape Fly (he does quite well) in the Electric Ballroom before The Joy Formidable prove why they should get your vote for your new favourite band with a belting set including an epic ‘Cradle’.

The View have lost some of their spark of late and this Roundhouse gig is an important step back into the big time for them. The raucous atmosphere created by ‘Shock Horror’ and ‘Superstar Tradesman’ has pints being thrown all over the place and shows the View are at their best when they’re belting out a rock tune – rather than bringing out their string section for the still-baffling ‘Distant Doubloon’.

Kasabian are, of course, a different proposition – a well oiled indie-dance outfit with bags of confidence and swagger that carry them through their set. ‘Reason is treason’ is a club banger for the indie generation while ‘Empire’ is Kasabian’s war cry. It’s a short, concise set both showcasing the new album and the old classics and it’s quite frankly inspiring – Kasabian have Camden (and potentially the world) in the palms of their hands.

You have to finish the festival with a laugh so when we spot Justin Hawkins (of Darkness fame) new band Hot Leg are playing at the grim smelling Underworld it seems appropriate we go see the man who had it all and then threw it away. For the record he looks worse for all of that Darkness nonsense, looking like a cross between a drag queen and a glam rocker (possibly the look he was going for). The funniest bit is that it's bloody enjoyable – Hawkins retains his take-the-piss attitude and you won’t see a mosh pit or stage invasion like it at the Camden Crawl for years – he may not be famous anymore but when he dusts off the catsuit he can still rock like the best of the 80s rockers.

So that was it – whatever the Camden Crawl lacks in line up and glamour it more than makes up for in intimacy and surprise. Where else would you start the night four feet from Graham Coxon crooning and end it invading Justin Hawkins' stage? Nowhere is the answer, and that’s what makes Camden Crawl so bloody good.

Day Two in photos: Featuring Kasabian, The View and more


Photo: Carsten Windhorst