Live at Camden Crawl, 2012
Spector - Live At Camden Crawl 2012

With the London indie scene gradually moving eastwards toward Stoke Newington, Old Street and Whoreditch, the idea of a crawl around Camden is starting to feel a little antiquated. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the festival’s days are numbered, granted attendance seems a little down on previous years and the line-up didn’t have any killer “I HAVE to go and see that” acts playing; a Florence, a Mobile Disco, a SBTRK even. Actress were this year’s hot ticket but with set times being switched and many gigs not on at the time advertised it became harder to keep ahead of what was going on, the overly complicated design of the event guide didn’t help matters either, but who were the acts of note you ask? Well...

Fiction, The Roundhouse – Saturday
With trippy visuals suggesting a bunch of psychedelic hooha alchemists, London six piece Fiction injected an element of lysergic energy into a set which revealed a love of alt-pop, the kind of left of centre screwball pop served up by Gruff Rhys and Diagrams.

With tracks on recent Kitsune compilations and support gigs to the likes of Klaxons and Metronomy, Fiction are one of those contrary acts who are too dancey to be rock and too jagged to be electronica, a couple of their tracks would settle nicely in amongst the company of The Maccabees whilst others have that same understated anthemic quality Arcade Fire are so good at, greatness looms.

Keep Shelley in Athens, The Barfly – Saturday
With a heaving crowd indicating a possible move into the mainstream thanks to heavy hype within the blogosphere, the audience at The Barfly was treated to a mesmerizing performance by this Greek four piece whose hazy chillwave is worthy of every sentence of hype thrown at them.

Their kind of down tempo dreampop is indebted to Cocteau Twins and Everything but the Girl with the drama of Bjork’s early solo material, their shoegaze sheen is given a warm glow representative of the country of their origin and lead singer Sarah P is the type of lead singer you can’t take your eyes away from. The music may be of an ethereal indie nature but the beating heart is the kind of sun-drenched chilled house beats played in every beach café from Athens up to Thessalonika, a highlight of the weekend.

Ghetts, Electric Ballroom – Sunday
Formally a grime artist, Ghetts on this performance is not only full with indignant rage but backed with a band who rock in the hardest way possible. How hard? Well when Ghetts announces “We’re gonna slow it down for this one,” then plays the grungiest Sepultura sounding track ever, you expect your ears are going to get a pounding, Ghetts deliver this. Live his music moves away from the hip hop/grime sound and goes for a harder sound reminiscent of Dub War or Bodycount… Good move.

Spector, Koko – Sunday
Britpop revivalists Spector may have the haircuts and smart suits down to a tee and from time to time manage a decent tune despite it definitely being influenced by ‘Hot Fuss’ era Killers but it’s the charming banter of lead singer Fred Macpherson that holds the set together.

At one point he announces that Glasvegas have pulled out therefore they’ll be singing forty-five minutes of their own songs and then forty-five minutes of Glasvegas’ direct from the lyric sheet, he quickly retracts this after stern words from one of the Glaswegian miserabilists representatives. Musically stuck in 1994, this kind of behavior can only last one album before they have to have a rethink but right now, their geeky brylcreemed charm is the kind of dumb fun missing from the UK indie scene.

TOY, Purple Turtle - Sunday
With UK indie in need of a major shake-up, it needs just one act to come along to plant the seeds of the next lot of bands. It happened with The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys and with TOY we have our first true post Horrors act. Three fifths of TOY are seasoned pros with experience in Joe Lean & The Jing Jang Jong with lead singer Tom Dougall also being the brother of Rose Dougall ex of The Pipettes.

Centre stage seemed to have been inevitable for Dougall, if you look at any picture of Joe Lean et al, it’s his hollow-eyed look and razor sharp cheekbones that your eyes are drawn upon, now he’s flanked by an equally as striking band, one which not only look great but also sound amazing.

Crashing drums attack metronomic guitar riffs to breathtaking effect, each member thrashing their head and considerable amount of hair along to the beat causing a classic 1991 shoegaze effect. Despite holding their influences very close to their chest, fucked up Hawkwind tracks mixed in with Neu! with additional production by Creation acts Medicine and My Bloody Valentine; TOY might not be fully formed as yet but on this performance it’s safe to say when they are, they will be absolutely incredible.

Words and photo by Chris Todd

Click here for a photo gallery of the festival, featuring Ghetts, TOY, Spector and more.

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