A year removed from last year’s instalment of the annual Camden Rocks Festival, and naturally we’re now counting the days until the 2016 edition that will see twenty venues descended upon by cascades of acolytes of the British rock and metal scenes. There are still stage splits to come and plenty more bands yet to be announced but the festival is already riding huge waves of momentum with just under a month to go.
It’s never easy to predict whether the clash gods will smile or frown upon a festival featuring two hundred bands across almost two dozen stages, but it’s likely that there will be more than a couple tough decisions to make on the day. It’s handy, therefore, to have previews like this that can potentially make it a little easier to choose between certain bands. Or alternatively, this preview will shine a light on bands you’d not considered and ultimately make the clashes even tougher. It could really go either way.
Zoax continue to dripfeed utterly delicious-sounding singles from their upcoming debut album, and off the back of two excellent EPs they’re well worth catching here. Last year saw the outfit stand out ata number of other one-day events, damn near stealing the show at Hit the Deck and Takedown alike. It would be unwise to expect any different from their journey to Camden this weekend.
Where & When: Underworld – 2:00pm
There are returns to Camden for the likes of Black Spiders, Creeper, The St Pierre Snake Invasion, Heck and The Hell, all of whom have proven themselves to be magnificent in a live setting. Few acts on the line-up ride a wave of momentum like Creeper, however; the Southampton band having come into their own spectacularly in a live setting over the past twelve months.
Where & When: Barfly Upstairs – 17:45pm
On a positively bustling festival line-up, South Shields’ Ginger Wildheart stands out as a name that simply can’t go unmentioned. The man is practically Camden Rocks royalty at this point, and one of the standout veterans of the British rock circuit. The last two years have seen a number of excellent Wildheart sets providing multiple retrospectives of an illustrious musical career. It is highly unlikely that 2016 will be any different, and if you’ve not had the chance to catch one of his sets before then make this the year that you do.
Where & When: The Cuban – 3:00pm / The Forge – 5:00pm / Proud – 7:45pm
This year plays host to a fair amount of Camden Rocks debutants, many of whom are making a serious impact elsewhere as 2016 goes on. Harrogate horde Blood Youth have a busy summer ahead of them, and tracks like ‘Piece By Piece’ and ‘Closure’ will be sure to leave a mark on whatever venue they find themselves in come June 6th.
Where & When: Dingwalls (Canal Side) – 5:00pm
Cold in Berlin
Also making their Camden Rocks debut at this year’s event, Cold in Berlin are back in the borough after a thunderous Black Heart set last year in support of ‘The Comfort of Loss and Dust’. The atmosphere at a Cold in Berlin live show is something quite unreal, and the mesmeric outfit will undoubtedly snare in plenty more followers at this year’s event. The likes of New Year’s Day, Grumble Bee, Stoneghost and JPNSGRLS also stand out for various reasons on an already stacked line-up for what may take the crown of this year’s most unmissable one-day festival.
Where & When: Dublin Caslte – 4:00pm
We’re hotly anticipating the announcement of stage splits and each venue’s headlining act, but there are plenty of groups on the bill who we’d love to have close out our day at Camden Rocks in the (likely) event that the Electric Ballroom hits capacity for overall headliners The Cribs. Norma Jean have to be a front runner; a headline slot in the Underworld would practically sell itself. There are few metalcore troupes with a back catalogue as strong as that boasted by Norma Jean and regardless of where your day takes you it would be unwise to miss the Georgia quintet smash out what may well be the set of the day.
Where & When: Barfly Upstairs – 21:30pm
The Kut may be tucked away amongst more a good amount of more recognizable names on this year’s bill but the local outfit don’t come without the arsenal to back up their booking. ‘Bad Man’ will have grabbed attention as the soundtrack to a recent show from London-based Progress Wrestling, and the ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ EP it closes out is well worth a spin or two. With festivals like Camden Rocks it’s typical to come away with plenty of new bands on your radar, and The Kut are definitely one band on the line-up with the potential to win a whole bunch of new friends at this year’s event.
Where & When: Crowndale – 12:00pm
Even with the withdrawals of Escape the Fate and We Are the Ocean from this year’s Camden Rocks Festival, the line-up packs one hell of a punch, and we’re still not done with band additions yet. The upcoming announcement of stage times will certainly bring some horrible clashes, as is to be expected with a bill this strong. Whoever wins out on the day however, you can be certain that there won’t be a dull moment to be found. This is going to be one hell of a day.
Camden Rocks Festival 2016 takes place across Camden in London this Saturday (June 4th).
Words by Antony Lusmore (@VilinskiKonjic)