As a neighbouring resident of Islington, surprisingly Saturday 5 May was my first experience of the famous Camden Crawl. On arrival to the heart of Camden Town, I was surrounded by the colourful atmosphere and quirky shops that make up the area. But it was the Holiday Inn that was my first stop, as I went to collect my much sought-after press pass. My exclusive goody bag gave me free entry and queue jump! If that wasn’t enough, I got to see private performances from some of the acts. From then on, I had a feeling that the event was going to embody the spirit of Camden Town.
With my trusty flip map in hand, I set off to my first chosen venue. The Jazz Café played host to The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company. Fronted by British MC Akala, the organisation performed their alternative take to the music genre. As the art form allows for expression, a mixture of live music coincided with musical theatre. We were entertained with rhymes that were loosely based on Shakespeare’s plays, as well as originally inspired content. And since rapping is related to poetry, one act gave an intense and passionate rendition of his poem ‘Moments’ to music generated by the live band, whilst another provided the audience with an emotional tale of a character who contracted HIV, and it’s disastrous effects to those around him.
At the Roundhouse came ‘one woman band’, Tanya Auclair. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with her unique approach to music. She patiently played and recorded a sample of music, ranging from her own vocals to beat boxing, the guitar, keyboard and even wooden spoons for example. In turn, this supplied her with the soundtrack to her songs, which had an intricate, Electronica and ‘at peace with the Earth’ sound.
The Cuban was where I started the evening’s entertainment. Earlier the bar had put on Hula Hooping performances and master classes; however the night’s line up was in contrast to the carnival-like dressed acts, producing an urban menu to the festival’s showcase. The Milk and Ghetts were my two favourite acts there. The Milk is an Essex quartet that vary from your usual indie band, considering that some of their songs were infused with a Motown, Soul and Reggae vibe. The crowd didn’t stop moving either, since the group insist on not taking breaks between each song.
For a different reason, Ghetts lit up the audience with his MCing and live band. His set offered a twist to usual MC performances, due to having a band. They also added a slight rock edge thanks to the electric guitar, whilst still managing to keep in sync with the authentic sounds of Grime music.
I wonder who’ll be performing at the Camden Crawl next year.