Camden Rocks Festival @ Camden Town, London

30th May 2015
Venue: All across Camden Town
Review: Billy Edmonds
Pictures: Billy Edmonds


It’s Saturday the 30th of May and I’m currently on a train up to Camden town to shoot the infamous Camden Rocks Festival, a massive festival which sees over 200 bands playing 20 different stages including big names such as While She Sleeps, Richie Ramone, Bullet For My Valentine, Skindred And Polar. As I get into Camden and walk out of the station I can see that the que to get wristbands is incredibly long, and it has since been announced that this show has SOLD OUT.

10am and already packed! 10am and already packed!

 

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Lock & Key are a underground hardcore band. I’ve only really listened to these guys a few times but as with all hardcore bands, I’m pretty excited to see how well they play live.

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The hardcore scene in England may be a dying one, with more and more people getting into pop punk (myself included) hardcore is slowly becoming less popular within the metal community, but after seeing these dudes live and it’s pretty clear it may well not be as dead as I first thought! It’s only 12:00 and the room is already filling up quite nicely.

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There are a number of mosh pits kicking off and the room is slowly becoming a sauna already. Rich Lardner (vocals) clearly loves the crowd participation, after being on the barrier for most of the first few songs he is definitely waking people up and isn’t afraid to get involved.

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It’s pretty clear the guys have rehearsed their performance over and over again, if they haven’t I’m incredibly impressed because they sound absolutely tight. Sadly they didn’t hang around for long after as they were playing a show TONIGHT in Southampton!

Lock & Key are also playing a number of shows in Europe, Including;

18th June – Barfly London.
27th June – Meze Lounge – Newport (Isle Of Wight),
Jully 4th – Mosh On Tyne II (New Castle,)
August 15th – Summerblast Festival (Trier, Germany)
August 16th – Jh Eenders (Halle, Belguim)
September Club Puschkin (Dresden, Germany)

I managed to quickly walk over to The Black Heart to quickly catch As Lions. Formerly known as Rise To Remain, As Lions are back with a fresh set of songs, fresh image and completely new feel. The venue was empty when I walked in but now as time is counts down till these guys hit the stage, the room suddenly becomes at capacity and they stop allowing people into the venue. The stage is rather tiny and without a barrier, but this always makes for some great shows! As Lions are currently also on tour with Wovenwar and had to leave as soon as their set finished to make the treck up to Bristol.
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Even though these guys have been playing already for 4 days straight this really has not affected their energy levels, as they run onto the stage opening with the song they debuted as a new band. It’s rather open that these guys have a massive future in the scene and a lot of people already love them! Austin Dickinson (vocals) has clearly been practicing his vocals for use on stage properly and sounds cleaner than ever!

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I walk back to The Electric Ballroom and stay there for the rest of the day, next up is Polar!

Polar are a band that I have seen a number of times, most recently on their tour with Betraying the Martyrs in Luxembourg.  I have been a pretty big fan of these guys for quite a few years so I am extremely excited to see them rip up Electric Ballroom. Polar are a hardcore band from Guildford in Surrey, led by Adam Woodford on vocals who really knows how to use his stage presence to his advantage.

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Polar are the first band of the day to get people head banging at the barrier so hard that as I’m shooting it actually feels as if a high powered fan is behind me! Polar are used to making a lot of noise and getting people off their feet, this is exactly what they came here to do today and its precisely what they’ve done.

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Everyone that was once standing still is either moving, or being made to move by the sheer force of the crowd until the set drops. Just one single riff then all you hear is Adam Woodford (vocals) telling everyone to get onto the floor. Adam singles out one person in the crowd who is still standing up by telling them to “sit the f*ck down”. They replied by flipping him off– clearly not a fan! This didn’t kill Adam’s confidence at all nor did it stop the rest of the crowd, as soon as the bass dropped the whole room jumped erupted into a mass of jumping, head banging and moshing.

Back Breaking Screams! Back Breaking Screams!

To see Richie Ramone (Born as Richard Reinhardt) in person is like a dream. It’s something I really never thought would happen and I really am honored to be here with him. Although his band mates may not be here with us today, with the atmosphere in the room they really are with us in a different way.

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The room isn’t too full which is a major surprise to me, there a few pretty hardcore fans at the barrier one of which told me he had trawled from LA just for Camden Rocks and this was the main act he wanted to see- now that is pure dedication. Richie is also followed by a backup band, Alex Kane (lead Guitar/vocals), Clare Misstake (bass/vocals) And Ben Reagan (rhythm guitar, drums and bass).

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The show starts with Richie on the drums, opening with “I’m Not Jesus” and going straight into “Durango 95”. After these Richie leaves the drums and makes way for Ben who takes over.  Richie makes his way over the mic stand, although he is still full of life you can tell the rock and roll lifestyle is starting to take a toll on his body.

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The infamous lyric “Hey-ho, let’s go” begins, and nearly everyone in the room young & old knows the song.  This brings a massive smile to Richie’s face. Although he may be getting slightly older it really isn’t making him stop what he loves and that is making his fans happy. After the show he walked through the crowd, posing for selfies and signing set lists. I managed to shake his hand as he walked past the stage. If you ever get a chance to see him live I highly recommend you do it and do it very quickly.

Black Spiders came to light properly back in 2010 after being named best underground band by Metal Hammer. Their sound really reminds me of old school Black Sabbath but without Ozzy’s voice.

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The room was pretty empty as soon as Richie Ramone left the stage but I literally look down at my camera for around 30 seconds to flick through a few pictures look back up and the room is over half way full! Now I don’t know much about these guys, I have only really listened to one or two of their albums and I have never seen them live but if one thing is sure, they are liked by the majority of people here right now. As they come onto the blacken stage with only one trail of light guiding them in, The roar of the crowd begins.

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Looking behind me all I can’t actually see to the back of the room anymore; only a sea of people. Everyone is trying to push forward to an already pretty crammed up barrier. Although they may be pushing they really aren’t getting anywhere. Everyone who is at the barrier is stuck there like glue and clearly isn’t going to be moving.

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They open their set with “Si, El Diablo” Which instantly tells you exactly what this band is about; and that is Old School Rock & Roll. The majority of fans here aren’t the usual lot that I see in this venue, They are a lot older; Black spider’s show summed up in a few words, fast, energetic and intense.

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..And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead (AKA Trail Of Dead)

These guys probably win “Longest Band Name” Award.  Now these guys I really have never heard of before, when I saw their name on the bill I was a little confused to if they was actually a band or a group of emo murdering scene kids! They have flown down from Austin, Texas just for this one show which is pretty good of them. Their image really isn’t what I expected at all though.

But this isn’t a fashion show at all, and Trail Of Dead really prove that. Opening with “It Was There That I Saw You”, Everyone in the room appears to know it. I myself have absolutely no idea who these guys are but by the looks of everyone else it really seems as if I should!

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The majority of the show the lighting is kept quite dark (at the request of the band who even at one point asked for the lights to stop flashing). I’m not sure if it is true or if it is  just banter but this may be because their drummer (Jamie Miller) has just taken a tab of E. This really isn’t a great thing to be doing before playing a show like this.

After he said this I started watching his movements to see whether it was a joke, and in all seriousness I actually couldn’t tell!

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Their entire show jumps from song to song but the mood changes with every single track. Songs such as “How Near How Far” are pretty mellow then you get songs like “Totally Natural”. which was not only their closing song but also pretty quick! This band is for anyone who enjoys old school punk. I can’t say they’re to my taste but I wouldn’t mind seeing them again.

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After a hugely successful UK tour and new album release it’s no surprised that While She Sleeps have been chosen for this show. While She Sleeps are a metalcore/hardcore band from Sheffield, formed in 2006 who came to light after releasing their first studio album The North Stands For Nothing in 2010. These boys really have made a huge indentation into the UK metal scene.

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As Sleeps take to the stage, the room is dark but far from quiet, and with the roar of the crowd behind me, it’s a real clear view that they have come a long way from the young boys they used to be and have grown into full grown metal madness. Opening up with “New World Torture”, the room suddenly looks rather empty but this really isn’t the case.

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Everyone has simply moved to create the biggest circle pit of the day. While She Sleeps always know how to really put on a show and to get people moving, and it’s no surprise that the temperature in this room just got a ten ton worse. It’s no wonder the Loz is already topless (something he does practically every show), showing off his ink is clearly one of his hobbies, but to be fair, if I had ink that magnificent, I think I would be topless as well.

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Third song in, and I have just seen two fans being carried away by the staff with bleeding faces, although the fans are asking the staff to just leave them be and let them enjoy the show I think the staff made a good call  for getting them the needed medical attention, but it is a pretty harsh realisation that there is a pretty harsh danger with pitting.
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This hasn’t put a downer or stopped anyone else from going absolutely crazy, if anything this has made people go 10x harder. Sleeps did have a slight bit of trouble during their set today, someone in the crowd manage to punch Arron (Bass) in the face while he was at the barrier. Sleeps responded to this by calling the guy out telling him to meet them after the show. Although all of this is uncalled for I don’t blame sleeps for stepping in and helping their brothers out.

This little incident didn’t affect the rest of the set at all. While She Sleeps main job for this was to get everyone hyped up for Bullet For My Valentine and they definitely did their job.

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Bullet For My Vallentine are back. After a year or so out from the scene, Bullet finally announced their new album, Venom, this month which was followed by a HUGE UK tour. Playing smaller venues all over England to give other fans who may well not be able to travel to a big city such as London or Cardiff a chance to see them.

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This is Bullet’s first performance with their new bassist Jamie Mathias. Although Jamie didn’t actually do any of the bass tracks on the new album (All played by Matt Tuck), he is clearly a great new asset to the team. He looks pretty content on stage and doesn’t seem to be having any troubles filling in for the new back up vocals part either. As much as I loved Jay James (former bass/backup vocals), I do have to admit that Jamie’s screams are allot more locked in than Jays were and Bullet sound better than ever live!

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I myself was really excited to see how the boys can blow up Electric ballroom, this being the 18th time I’ve seen these guys and their shows honestly only get better and better. There’s a lot of new faces here tonight, the crowd is like a sea of Bullet merchandise. It’s a very open and shut case that Bullet For My Valentine never did really die. As they walk onto the stage you can instantly tell that they are all gleaming with confidence,  you can instantly see  that this is something they have really missed during their time off over this last year. The crowd absolutely erupts, people are screaming, some are even crying!

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This is a massive moment for Bullet because this show is time for them to show the world what they are made of once again. This is the first time they play anything off the new album, and the first song they open with is the new Debut “No Way Out”. The fast drums, guitars and bass make it the perfect opening song for people to completely lose their sh*t too!

I haven’t seen Bullet play such a small venue in a very long time so this is bringing back a lot of memories.

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Bullet are also later going on tour this year (Tickets Can Be found Here) 

 

Playing at:

September

28 Belfast Ulster Hall
29 Dublin Olympia

October

1 Bournemouth Academy
2 Reading Hexagon
3 Guildford G Live
5 Aylesbury Waterside
6 Stoke Victoria Hall
7 Lincoln Engine Shed
9 York Barbican
10 Aberdeen Music Hall
11 Dunfermline Alhambra
13 Middlesbrough Empire
14 Carlisle Sands
16 Leicester Academy
17 Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
18 Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
20 Swansea Brangwyn Hall
21 Southampton Guildhall
22 Ipswich Regent Corn Exchange

Bullet For My Valentine Set list

1. No Way Out
2. Your Betrayal
3. 4 Words
4. Rasing Hell
5. Scream Aim Fire
6. All These Things I Hate
7. Broken (New Debut Song)
8. The Last Fight
9. Hand Of Blood/ Room 409, Hearts Burst Into Fire, Begging For Mercy, Riot!)
10 Waking The Demon

Encore

11. Pleasure And Pain
12. Tears Don’t Fall.

 

 

 

 

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