With over 250 bands performing on just one day, it’s inevitable that you won’t catch everyone. So, in attempt to catch all the best bands, I spent a long time researching the line up and (sigh) I made an itinerary. Not to say that everyone who didn’t end up on my list was bad but there is just not enough hours in the day.
First up, we catch the Screaming Eagles (or Screagles as my colleague dubs them). They flit through their ’70s inspired tracks, leading us back to their idols with an AC/DC cover. For early on in the bill, the band has gathered a large following and they are soaking in their energy. A great classic rock band to start the day with.
The sun is burning the fairest of us all and urging us to drink up. Walking around, everyone is in good spirits (see video above). We regretfully went underground to the Underworld where many were elbow to elbow watching Anti Nowhere League. Despite sweat dripping off the walls, the band throw themselves around the stage clad in leather. They are on top form today and it’s worth being in a sauna situation to see.
As it nears the afternoon, it become quite apparent that the majority of people have come to see The Damned. Many had the Dave Vanian signature blonde streak or were sporting equally gothic looks. Before this, we arrive at The Professionals set. Though they are down one key member, Steve Jones, they perform like a solid unit. During their song “Join The Professionals” I want to throw my pint over someone’s head and join in with the Mohawks. My alcoholic brain persuades me not to and I drink the beer instead.
The Electric Ballroom begins to apply a one in one out policy as they prepared for The Damned. They run on to “Melody Lee” and everyone goes wild. One lady next to me is ready to fight me for my space. This is their 40th Anniversary tour and it’s quite clear that it’s very much welcomed. Vanian’s velvety vocals fills the hall while he stares back at the crowd behind his dark shades. I feel like I am witnessing something special here, as they sing “New Rose”. The Damned are a band who were truly ahead of their time in the ’70s and helped pioneer the classic punk sound as well as goth.
Other sole member Captain Sensible joked around in a Where’s Wally style outfit whilst playing his trademark riffs. They end with 1979’s “Smash It Up” without so much as a sweat. Though, the classics were much appreciated, it’s refreshing to be introduced to The Damned’s new material too.
Though it is too late to catch the end of Feeder (not that much of a bummer), I head to The Crowndale to see the late night performers. The thing I love about this festival is it is a brilliant opportunity to discover new bands and hear new music. And there really is a style of rock for everyone who comes. This may just be my favourite line up of Camden Rocks yet.