Hidden away up a slight hill at the top end of Camden Market is Proud Camden; a steamy, small venue filled with couches full of Londoners lazing about with a drink in hand. And on this Sunday, like many others, the Soul Festival is taking place. 15 bands boasting through Folk, Blues, Roots, Americana and Rock ‘N’ Roll. A real wide range of styles displayed as did so very well bu the 3 bands I witnessed.
Walking in halfway through a set from Eric Ness. A backing band consisting of possibly the coolest double bass player I have ever seen and a mandolin player certainly caught my visual attention straight away. Real cheery, upbeat roots songs giving North London plenty of positive vibes. Uplifting lyrics, music to match and a welcomed surprise really setting the bar high and I can only imagine and hope that the previous acts were this good.
Kind of Funk based, but kind of rock based as well, ABI and her backing band blast out some groovy basslines and sweet licks for Abi to prowl over with her Anastacia (remember her?) powerful type voice. The first few songs of the set go down really well, especially the David Guetta cover of ’Titanium’. However, a couple of slow songs in the middle of the set really slow things down and lack that initial punch, seeming to only be there to show off ABI’s unique vocals. ABI really does look the part and all the musicians are brilliant in their own respect, especially for their seemingly younger age than the more experienced lot up next.
The fans had been slowly working their way in and standing around the back, but as Zico Chain start they work their way to the front and stand in the small gap between the stage and couches, causing the rest of the audience to actually stand up to be able to take note of what’s happening. The sample literally shakes the room and sets the mood for the band’s ballsy, sleazy kind of Rock ‘N’ Roll with plenty of grit to melt the ice in February. The angry verses and melodic clean vocal chorus structure works really well and each chorus gives a chance for the dedicated fans to sing along as they try and sing over how intense decibel level that is fully justified by the songs.
A vast range of styles means that the night really can suit many tastes and with the majority of acts being unsigned, you might just find something new to like.
Words by Michael Brown