So, the Camden Crawl then. I snuck out of work early and found myself in Camden just after five. I waited for Sal just up the Kentish Town Road, close to the wristband exchange (my suggested meeting place of just outside the tube having been vetoed on the account of there being “too many weirdos there…”; of course the Camden of twenty meters away is refreshing crazy-free). As I waited, a steady stream of young indie kids, fresh off the production line with their tight skinny jeans and porkpie hats, wandered past in groups, each excitedly checking the lineups that they’d just collected. Hanging around in Camden makes me feel old.
When Sal finally turned up, and we too had collected our wristbands, free CD, lineups, and complimentary bag of promotional tat, we popped into the nearby noodle bar to grab something to eat. As we munched through our noodles I sorted through the bag of flyers we’d been handed to determine whether any of it was worth keeping. Amongst the promotional items within was a small NME badge, on which the paper’s logo is set against a union jack background. My, how things have changed.
Noodles consumed, and a couple of tigers later, we headed round the corner to the Electric Ballroom to catch the first act of the evening, selected purely on the basis of being the only thing on so far (As we passed the tube I noticed that teh kids were already queueing at the Underworld, presumably to see Foals, even though they wouldn’t be on for another hour; maybe they knew something we didn’t.)
Anyway, instead we saw “indie singer-songwriter” Kate Nash. Slightly entertaining, even though she’d clearly been signed by a record label desperate for an indie Lilly Allen. The first set of the night out of the way, and with a firm “no queues” policy established, we set off up Chalk Farm Road for some random crawl action. Sal wanted to go somewhere we’d never been before, so we opted for The Cuban Bar in the market, where a bloke with a Yorkshire accent mixed us Mojitos beneath posters of Che and Cuban flags. The band, when they eventually played on the small stage in the corner, were ultimately forgettable, but did boast a lead singer who looked uncannily like Stephen Mangan (he of Green Wing fame).
Where to next? We’d already made the decision to head towards Koko for the end of the evening, so we decided to head back along the high street (after a brief diversion via Lock 17, which instantly failed our “no queues” policy with a line that snaked around the courtyard in anticipation of who knows what). I’d decided that I would see anything, regardless of the band’s name or type of music. I only realised that this strategy may have been a mistake when we found ourselves in The Oh! Bar: it was only after we’d bought drinks that I noticed the Kerrang logo on the walls. Oh! Dear. Well, how bad could “Flood of Red” be?
We stopped just long enough to down the remains of our pints and for me to take a couple of photos, and scampered, the first song barely half over…
After a brief detour via The Purple Turtle (where I rather enjoyed the unusually-titled Untitled Musical Project), we headed for a busy Koko, where we watched first Tom McRae, and then The Charlatans from a prime vantage point just above the DJ booth (which is now covered over, thus, preventing any Mani-asking-Sal-for-a-light style shenanigans like last year).
And that was that. Just time for a Woody’s kebab, and then home. Same time next year?