Taking over Camden for the first two days in June, Camden Rocks gathered both upcoming and already well-established artists from the heavy, rock and indie scene playing rather small and intimate shows. Several pubs and iconic venues opened their doors, offering festivalgoers an eclectic lineup spread all over Camden.
XIII Weeks opened the stage of the Dublin castle on the second festival day. The emotionally driven melodic hardcore quintet mixes shouted verses with melodic choruses which are supported by harmonic guitar melodies and heavy riffs. Driving drums and heavy breakdowns create an energetic opposite to the vulnerable atmosphere. Unfortunately, due to the early stage time and the location of the venue it took quite a while for the festival goers to come by which is a pity as the band definitely deserves more attention.
Next up was the emotive hardcore quintet Selfworth who played at The Monarch further up Camden Highstreet. Musically, they combine rhythmically shouted vocals with driven drumbeats and melodic ambient guitars which creates a vulnerable, almost haunted, and intimate atmosphere. As their stage time was quite early as well, it took a while for people to stop by which is sad as the band has a lot of potential. Having seen them play in crowded venues before, especially the darker atmosphere and vibes enhanced the rawness of the music.
Moving on to the next venue, Our Hollow, Our Home played at the Underworld. The Southampton based melodic metalcore band mix screamed verses with anthemic choruses and heavy breakdowns during the bridges, all supported by heavy guitar riffs. The audience immediately picked up the energy and sung the lyrics on the top of their lungs which was highly appreciated by the band.
After a quick lunch break and some confusion with stage times, the next stop was the Camden Assembly to see Shvpes. Unfortunately, they were almost finished but had a great end to their energetic set. The venue was absolutely packed with excited fans who enjoyed themselves by jumping around and singing along.
Following another break, the Irish alternative rock band Greywind played at the Kolis. Musically, they combine atmospheric and melodic verses with soaring post-rock like choruses. The audience seemed to enjoy the set as much as the band themselves, singing the lyrics back to the stage.
Moving on, the next venue was again the Camden Assembly where Press To Meco were playing. The alternative rock trio offered a dark guitar heavy sound combined with harmonic vocals and energetic choruses. Playing at a well filled venue, the audience seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the set.
Heading over to the Black Heart, the British post-hardcore band Acres just entered the stage to start their set. The venue filled slowly but steadily with excited fans who seemed to enjoy themselves singing and jumping along. Mixing anthemic choruses with screamed verses and ambient guitar melodies, all supporting the honest and emotive lyrics, the quartet creates a raw and vulnerable, almost haunted, atmosphere. The dark and simple light as well as the size of the venue enhanced the vibes of the music. Both the band and the audience seemed to have a great time and enjoyed the set. Having seen Acres a few times before, they never fail to impress and give all their energy. Especially their rawness and distinct sound makes them unique and special.
Finally, the last band of the day was Deaf Havana who played at the Electric Ballroom. Due to them having been around for a long time and already being a well-established band, I expected quite a long queue in front of the venue with little chances to actually get to see them play. However, the venue was surprisingly not too packed. They played a mix of both older and newer songs with the focus on songs of their latest album. Especially some of the older songs saw the crowd getting wild and singing the lyrics on the top of their lungs. Both the fans and the band seemed to have a great time. Deaf Havana highly appreciated the support of the audience and their participation.
It was definitely a special time with great music and talented bands. Everyone, in front as well as on stage, seemed to have an amazing time and enjoyed themselves.