Approximately 8,000 music fans descend upon North London for a full day of fun at the annual Camden Rocks Festival.

Upon arrival at our starting point, the World’s End, it’s immediately apparent the scale of this event, with music fans scurrying venue to venue, tour vans lining the roads of every street and musicians lugging their equipment everywhere you look. Spanning twenty venues across Camden High Street today the festival will showcase in the region of 200 bands during the course of this glorious Saturday afternoon/evening in the capital.

A lunchtime start at the Dublin Castle seemed like a popular choice with a long line of music fans snaking their way down Parkway eager to catch a glimpse of the stage. This iconic family-run venue is also celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

The Ramonas, an all-female tribute to the iconic New York Punk Rock band The Ramones, kick off the day with a no messing set in front of a hot and sweaty London crowd. The band deliver a frantic set centring on their current album First World Problems. The quartet belt through the likes of their politically tinged song “Daily Fail”, the blistering “Tearaway” along with an explosive airing of “Microwave Mandy”. With most of their songs being under three minutes the band certainly encapsulate the essence of their namesakes.

Melbourne’s Tequila Mockingbyrd are next up on the Dublin Castle stage. The band arrives in London hot off the back of a recent European tour. With a new album in the pipeline the Aussie trio give the Camden crowd a 30 minute set mixed with fans favourites like “Money Tree” and “Good Time” along with their latest single “Tell Me” before closing with a song which perfectly encompasses the spirit of the festival “I Smell Rock N Roll”.

Before “Enjoy The Ride” drummer Josie O’Toole informs the crowd that it wasn’t all fun during their recent Spanish tour with much of the band’s equipment being stolen in Barcelona which in turn put their tour in jeopardy. Josie thanks the T-Byrd’s fans who immediately rallied together online to raise funds to help the band out during their difficult time. No matter what obstacles are thrown at this band, there is just no stopping Tequila Mockingbyrd.

The Kut packed out The Monarch mid-afternoon. So much was the demand to see the band that their crowd spilt out onto Camden High Street, with many fans making do with a window view from outside.

The alt-rock outfit delivered a raucous set featuring tracks plucked from their debut album Valley of Thorns. This includes the likes of “I Want You Maniac”, “I Am Vain” and “Bad Man”. The group fronted by Princess Maha conjures up images of iconic grunge bands such as L7 and Hole in the process. During the latter stages of their show, a full-blown stage invasion adds to the spectacle of the band’s performance, bringing their short but sweet set to an explosive conclusion.

A pair of Marshall Record’s latest signings were certainly highlights of an action-packed Saturday afternoon. Firstly, Press To Meco conquered Dingwalls in front of a lively crowd with their high octane brand of circle pit inducing hardcore tinged rock/metal. The band’s unique blend of melodic three-part vocal harmonies and crunchy guitar riffs set them apart from the rest. With a new album under their belt in the shape of Here’s To The Fatigue and a forthcoming headline UK tour set for later in the year expect big things to come from Press To Meco.

Female alt-rock outfit Rews are one of our favourite discoveries at Camden Rocks. Much like Press To Meco the group recently released their new album Pyro via Marshall Records earlier this year and have subsequently been touring relentlessly in support of their latest offering.

Throughout Rews mesmerising performance at Camden Assembly, the pair proves that they can make more noise than most bands twice their size. Rews captivate the crowd with tracks like the incredibly infectious and hard hitting number “Shake Shake”, the atmospheric “Miss You In The Dark” along with a euphoric rendition of “Your Tears”. A bright future awaits this dynamic duo.

Brighton’s Hightown Parade entertain a strong crowd at The Fiddler’s Elbow mid-afternoon with a sound that is in places reminiscent of classic Queen. However, it is the group’s recent single “Silhouette” which really stands out in the set. The incredibly upbeat number is packed full of catchy hooks, a driving rhythm and a chorus which simply stays with you for days.

British quartet Hollowstar rocked The Devonshire Arms, in front of a full house. The band’s latest single “All I Gotta Say” was recently playlisted by Planet Rock Radio, and on the strength of this afternoon’s set it’s easy to see why. This band are certainly not here to make up the numbers; Hollowstar are destined for superstar status. The group will also be hitting the road alongside the legendary Graham Bonnet on his forthcoming UK tour in August, catch them while you can.

British trio The Bad Flowers recently released their new album Starting Gun and have been deservedly receiving frequent airplay on Planet Rock Radio; a testament to just how good this band really are. Tonight The Bad Flowers delivers an astounding seven-song set at The Fiddler’s Elbow that highlights exactly why they are regarded by many as one of the most exciting emerging rock bands around right now.

Fresh off the back of a recent tour with fellow Midland’s based outfit Stone Broken this hard rocking three piece most certainly pack a punch. Prominent features in the set include the band’s latest singles “Hurricane” and “Thunder Child”, along with their groove-heavy set opener “Lion’s Blood”. If you have yet to catch the Bad Flowers live the group will be embarking on a co-headline tour with Federal Charm later in the summer.

Following one of the most monumental sets of this year’s HRH Ibiza Road Trip along with the news of their recent signing to Earache records, it’s fair to say that the future is looking bright for Welsh upstarts Those Damn Crows.

The five-piece light up the stage at the Fiddler’s Elbow late in the evening. You can’t help but be swept away by the group’s relentless energy and their arsenal of arena-filling anthems such as “Blink Of An Eye”, “Fear Of The Broken” and new song “Devil In My Pocket”. One of the takeaway points of the festival comes from the band’s anthem come mantra “Rock N Roll Ain’t Dead” and based on the multitude of promising talent witnessed during the course of the festival we wholeheartedly agree.

The great thing about events like Camden Rocks is that it gives people the opportunity to catch bands that they might not necessarily have seen otherwise, due to the sheer number of artists on display and the varied and diverse line-up, there’s something here for everyone. With so many hotly tipped acts featuring, the festival punters get the opportunity to catch the next big thing before they break.

Based on the success of this annual, family-run event, Camden Rocks has decided to become a weekender for 2019 spanning Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June. For a very limited period, day tickets are available at £30 and new weekend tickets for just £50. Grab them whilst they are available from https://camdenrocks.seetickets.com. Next June cannot come soon enough, we will see you all at the front.

Camden Rocks Festival
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Event Date: 02-June-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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