If you’ve never experienced Camden Rocks before, you’ve not enjoyed the delights of one of the world’s most unique music events, with over 400 bands playing twenty different venues, all just minutes apart in walking distance.
Andy Rawll, Dany Jones, Mark Ellis
This year’s Camden Rocks takes place on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June and we have selected twelve ‘must-see’ bands from the massive selection on offer. The list is no particular order and most certainly not exhaustive but we know for sure you will be thoroughly delighted by our recommendations when you see them perform.
Camden Rocks founder, organiser and promoter, Chris McCormack, also gives a ‘behind the scenes’ insight below.
The Devonshire Arms, Sunday 10.00pm
Make sure you don’t miss D_Drive’s London debut as the Japanese instrumental sensations are certain to hit you with maximum impact. Co-founder and guitarist Seiji told us: “We are very excited to perform live in the UK, which is the home of rock for us. We look forward to showing our unique style at Marshall Live and Camden Rocks in June. We are working on special performances for our UK shows, so don’t miss out.
“You do not just have to listen to enjoy D_Drive, you can listen, see and feel the music. We want as many people as possible to come to Marshall Live and Camden Rocks to experience D_Drive for themselves. We hope you like ‘Maximum Impact’.”
The Dublin Castle, Sunday 4.00pm
Janus Stark founder and frontman, Giz Butt, formerly of The Prodigy, tells us: “Our brand of punk rock is very melodic with furious guitars. We like strong lyrics, strong guitars and strong harmonies.
“We’re honoured to be playing Camden Rocks alongside our favourite bands such as The Ruts, Discharge, Ginger Wildheart, Glen Matlock, Angelic Upstarts and The Professionals. Come and have a beer or two with us at The Dublin Castle on Sunday at 4.00pm.
“We’ve recorded a new album and plan for a release in February 2020 but for now, let’s remember the songs from our 1998 album ‘Great Adventure Cigar’. We’ll treat you to that on June 2nd. Enjoy a small taster from the new album, a tale of promises that lead to betrayal. Here’s the video for the new Janus Stark song, ‘Shuffling The Pack’.
Lyttelton Arms, Saturday 5.00pm
It’s a pretty significant gig for Via Dolorosa as it marks the beginning of a brand new era. Frontlady Hailey Ducker explains: “It will be our third time back at Camden Rocks and each year we have played has been utterly mental and packed.
“This year will be our very last performance as the original line-up, so this will be one not to miss. We’re all really excited to be back and to tear it up on stage at the Lyttelton Arms. Let’s give a decent send off to our drummer Chris and bassist Liam… VD style!”
The Lounge, Sunday 9.00pm
The last band to ever support Motörhead in the UK, King Creature made a name for themselves in America earlier this year and with a blistering new album in the works, look set to take their home country by storm in the coming months.
Frontman Dave Kellaway tells us: “We are looking forward to tearing Camden a new one. It’s been a few months since we last saw our London Creatures and we can’t wait.”
The Gabeto, Sunday 3.00pm
JOANovARC guitarist Shelley Walker tells us what’s in store for us at The Gabeto on Sunday afternoon: “We are JOANovARC, a powerful, fiery and passionate foursome that will blow the roof off any venue at Camden Rocks Festival.
“We perform soulful, heartfelt, strong rock songs with three part harmonies and blistering guitar solos. We have been dubbed the ‘Queens of Rock’ by Foo Fighters producer Gil Norton and have performed around the globe. We love playing at home, love performing at Camden Rocks Festival, love leaving the audience on a high and supporting fellow musicians on the London circuit.
“We can’t wait to see and share the festival with Raging Speedhorn, Ginger Wildheart, Virginmary’s and the legendary Glen Matlock. Come and have a wild time with us girls and celebrate our album release on Sunday 2nd June, 3.00pm at Gabeto located right in the heart of Camden Town.”
Gabeto, Saturday 9.45pm
There’s guaranteed to be a party breaking out when the Quireboys are in town and with new album, ‘Amazing Disgrace’, gathering serious critical acclaim at home and in Europe, this could be a party you won’t forget.
Guitarist Paul Guerin confirms this: “Camden certainly is gonna rock – we are really pleased to be part of such a brilliant Festival so come and join us at Gabeto in The Stables Market on Saturday night. Here’s our new single, ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, from ‘Amazing Disgrace’, the most diverse album we’ve ever done.”
Electric Ballroom, Saturday 12.00pm
Expectations are high for Collateral, but there’s no doubt that the band can surpass those if they continue to show the drive and determination that has carried them through so far. Lead singer Angelo Tristan tells us: “We are insanely thrilled to be playing the Electric Ballroom. We’ve loved this venue, been here and witnessed a big influence on our music, Skid Row.
We are trying to make a big impact on the rock scene in Camden so to do this as part of Camden Rocks Festival makes it so much sweeter. And to what to expect, well… we are on at 12.00pm, so we’re gonna make sure to wake everyone the fuck up!”
The Monarch, Saturday 3.00pm
Flight Brigade violinist Miriam Banes tells us exactly why we should be at the Monarch on Saturday afternoon: “Flight Brigade are a rock outfit from the UK. With male/female vocals and strings set amidst synths and heavy guitars, their explosive live show feels like it’s their last day on earth, ‘as if Arcade Fire had a face-off with Fleetwood Mac and then Renaissance came in for the kill’.
“Flight Brigade are honoured to return to Camden Rocks for the third time, playing The Monarch, Saturday 1st June at 3.00pm. This festival is an absolute favourite with the band, who love the electric vibe.
“Flight Brigade have a new album, ‘Chased By Wolves’, which will be released 13th September and we’ll be playing songs from this upcoming album as well as favourites from the 2016 album, ‘Our Friends Our Enemies’, but for now check out the brand new video for the brand new single, ‘Tinderbox’.
DAXX & ROXANNE
Gabeto, Sunday 6.45pm
Swiss kick-ass rock’n’rollers Daxx & Roxane, now based in London, have been hailed as “tooth-and-nail, testosterone-powered rock” and bring their philosophy of “rock’n’roll is all about energy” to Cemden Rocks on Sunday. Frontman and bassist Cédric Pfister tells us more: “Daxx & Roxane will be back at Camden Rocks and we just cannot wait!
“We’ve been a bit quiet over the past few months working on our new material but we are now really thirsty for some live action and we’ll come shake the walls of Gabeto in Camden on 2nd June.
“Out of the new tracks that we’re finishing up for our upcoming album, we want to try out a few of them live and see how the crowd will respond to them. We’re really excited and people can expect a full on ballsy and crazy show like we do at D&R’s. We do not go half way!
The Good Mixer, Saturday 5.00pm
The Idol Dead had an argument about who was going to speak to us and in the end, they made a compromise and collectively told us the following. They won’t be making any compromises with their music on Saturday afternoon however:
“We love Camden – the day is so eclectic and the vibe is fabulous. When we played two years ago we opened at Dingwalls and they had to close the doors as the venue was over full; that sort of thing really sets you up for the day!
“We’re going to deliver rock, roll, punk with soul – we mix up heavy riffs, harmonies and hooks with an unpredictable live show that leaves our passion, hearts and sweat all over the stage. We’re here to have a good time and make sure we take the audience with us.
“We’re working on our fifth album right now and hope to release it later in the year, hopefully with a tour, but you can catch us all over the country playing the odd gig here and there. Cheers – Polly, Nish, KC, Tim and Dan.
Dublin Castle, Sunday 1.00pm
Red Method’s mission statement is more than enough to get you along to the Dublin Castle on Sunday lunchtime. The Method was painted with his own blood. The Method is Red. We are Red Method and we coming to to make our mark. Keyboardist Alex The AvD tells us more:
“It’s always a pleasure to play on our home turf and the fact that we are on the Camden Rocks line-up makes it all that more exciting. Our venue is the Dublin Castle and we are going to be playing it on Sunday 2nd June at one o’clock sharp.
“It’s always good to see old friends but if you haven’t checked us out yet, come get some and let us melt your faces. We never do anything in halves!
“We’ve got our debut album coming out later on this year but we’ve released a whole bunch of singles y’all can go check out on them interwebs. Anyway… we are going to be criss crossing the country all summer playing Bloodstock, UK Tech-Fest and a venue near you. After that, we are heading over to Europe for a tour in Spain. See you on the road kids!
Our Black Heart, Sunday 9.30pm
Fresh from their hugely successful spring tour with Quireboys and FM, the momentum behind latest album album ‘Shake A Leg’ shows no signs of slowing down. Frontman Stevie Westwood tells us: “If you’re looking for the feel-good, hard-hitting soundtrack for your Camden Rocks, STOP LOOKING! Bad Touch are here!
“We’re all about big riffs, big harmonies and are super chuffed to be invited to this amazing festival! With so many awesome acts across the festival we’d be honoured to have you down the front at The Black Heart at 21:30 to round off your Sunday.
“We’re currently enjoying rocking our latest album, ‘Shake A Leg’ (out with Marshall Records) all over the UK and Europe, whilst also writing more material to be recorded soon. So come on down, grab a cold beer and rock like tomorrow isn’t Monday!”
You are no doubt wondering how an event such as Camden Rocks is put together so we despatched Andy Rawll to get an insight and who better to get this from than the founder, organiser and promoter of Camden Rocks, Chris McCormack.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s rocking science. Just put bands on that people like, people will enjoy it and will talk about it and that means that it’s going to grow. People that come to this festuval every year have a great time. There’s not many places you can go and jump in and out of different venues and see, let’s say, ten great bands in an hour.
“Camden Rocks was originally about pulling all these great bands from around the country into London, as you’re not going to get a record deal or a publishing deal if you’re in South Shields, where I’m from, and getting them into a situation where at least they’re going to be heard.
“I love Camden. The thrill of Camden when I moved here in 1995, it was amazing. I come from a little village called South Shields and the only thing you ever see is a drunk or a seagull. You come to Camden and you see giant Converse and Doctor Martens boots hanging out of a shop and people from every walk of life. You go there you look around with your mouth open going ‘what the fuck is this?’ It’s amazing. I don’t know exactly what it is, but Camden has got something really special.
“There are so many great bands, some fantastic little bands, in this country that get overlooked. Camden Rocks is the place to come to see so many of these bands, all within walking distance.”
Chris is also a musician himself, currently playing guitar with The Professionals, which gives him that innate sense of what’s right, what bands should expect and means he treats them right.
“You have to do that, although you can’t give everybody, 400 bands, a rider, you’d go bust quick. But the festival is only one of the things that I do. I do club nights, 150 events a year. It’s about finding new artists and getting the best of those to play the festival. What I do with the rest of them is to nurture them.
“You don’t give up on bands. If they’ve any ability at all, you help them. I like supporting the underdog. Like The Soap Girls. Many people seem to hate what they do, but I think they’re fantastic.”
2019 is the first year that Camden Rocks is a two-day event and it’s taken seven years for that to happen and Chris still has big ambition for the Festival involving his first true musical love:
“My Dad was the biggest hippy in the world, Bob Dylan and all of that. I saved all of my pocket money up and I got ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ and I put it on the record player and by mistake I put side two on first so the first thing we heard wasn’t the familiar riff for ‘God Save The Queen’, it was the sweary start of ‘Bodies’, “…fuck this, fuck that” and all that. My Dad picked the record up and threw it across the room and said ‘Bob Dylan didn’t have to swear to get his point across’. That was a hard lesson, so I got over that.
“My first ever proper gig in my life was Public Image at Newcastle City Hall. I has eleven years old. My Dad had dragged me along to see Bob Dylan when I was nine, like he was saying ‘you will like this Bob Dylan shit, you horrible little bastard kid of mine!’, so to make him happy I said, ‘yes Bob Dylan is good, but can you take me to see one of the bands that I like?’.
“I was standing at the front of the queue with my DMs up to here and the tour bus turned up and I can see Johnny Rotten through the window and I said to my Dad, ‘why is he calling me a wanker?’ ‘He’s a bloody idiot, son’, my Dad said. I’ve known John for a while now and I took him to the Hawley Arms and told him the story and we laughed and laughed and he said ‘your Dad was right’.”
So Chris’ dream band for Camden Rocks is…
“Of course, the Sex Pistols – but they wouldn’t do it for my money. But it’s not about that. Camden Rocks won’t last forever. It’s about the small bands. It’s about the little band that wants to get a record deal.”
And rock’n’roll is all about making dreams become reality and Camden Rocks was once a dream that became reality so never say never…
Tickets for Camden Rocks 2019, Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June, are available right here.