The King Blues still have their sights on the crown

Camden Crawl review

published: Thu 5th May 2011

The King Blues

Saturday 30th April to Sunday 1st May 2011
venues in Camden, London, NW1 0NE, England MAP
2-day pass £63.50, or £39.50 for either day
last updated: Wed 6th Apr 2011

How about a little mid-afternoon class war to wash down with your cider? Well, we are in Camden, where you can get a side order of anarchy with your street noodles for no extra charge.

The King Blues
For those who aren't familiar with The King Blues, they're renowned as one of the hardest-working bands in the UK, regularly propping up festivals with multiple performances and on one occasion putting in a gruelling seven shows over a single day. A Camden-based motley collective of punks, runts and skankers, they also tote songs with titles like 'We Are Fucking Angry', which gets thrown into their set with suitable aplomb today. There's a fairly steady stream of agitprop doled out between tracks, which is lapped up by the mostly teenaged audience.

Yet in spite of the slightly 2D posturing, there's an undeniable vitality burning at the heart of this band, and it's difficult not to be won over as they rip through their material loud, fast and hard. Current single 'Set The World On Fire' sounds hackneyed on record, but is a boot to the teeth live, frontman Johnny 'Itch' Fox's pithy verses translating effortlessly to the stage. The trick is also repeated with the band's softer material, with a little crowd participation transforming 'Headbutt' into a fist-pumping rabble rouser.

'Mr Music Man' introduces a suitably sunny reggae vibe to offset the roaring punk rap that is the band's staple, while it's cowbells a go-go for 'The Streets Are Ours', dedicated to those arrested for disorder before and during Friday's royal wedding.

Less appealing is the soppy 'I Got Love', which sounds a bit like a terrible cover of Tracey Chapman's 'Fast Car', and nearly succeeds in dousing all that righteous firestarting with a big dollop of sentimentality.

However, they manage to pull it back with fan favourite 'Save The World, Get The Girl', a slice of ska-tinged anti-war pop which vaguely channels Billy Bragg's 'New England' and features some fantastic, in-your-face sloganeering. Rage Against The Machine this is not, but it's an entertaining romp nonetheless, and undeniably chimes with the fury the warmongering of the last decade has provoked among many of us.

While at certain moments watching The King Blues can feel a bit like being preached to by a drunk bloke on the night bus, it's still an enjoyable experience. Their politics may be squarely rammed down your throat whether you like it or not, but it's still fairly digestable stuff, and delivered with such a winning mix of fervour and fun that you can't help but get swept along.

The King Blues
review by: Nick Hagan

photos by: Nick Hagan

Saturday 30th April to Sunday 1st May 2011
venues in Camden, London, NW1 0NE, England MAP
2-day pass £63.50, or £39.50 for either day
last updated: Wed 6th Apr 2011

latest on this festival

Camden Crawl
festival home page
last updated: Fri 28th Nov 2014
Camden Crawl 2014
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Thu 15th May 2014
Camden Crawl 2014
festival listing
last updated: Thu 15th May 2014

more on this festival

not logged in? Sign in here | not registered? Register here

search future festivals only   advanced search

most popular festivals (all pages) in the last week
Glastonbury Festival 2015 Wed 24th to Sun 28th Jun 2015
Worthy Farm, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
last updated: Thu 18th Jun 2015
Glastonbury Festival 2016 Wed 22nd to Sun 26th Jun 2016
Worthy Farm, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
last updated: Tue 30th Jun 2015
Glastonbury Festival 2014 Wed 25th to Sun 29th Jun 2014
Worthy Farm, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
last updated: Wed 17th Sep 2014
British Summer Time 2015 Thu 18th to Sun 28th Jun 2015
Hyde Park, Kensington & Chelsea, Greater London
last updated: Fri 12th Jun 2015
AC/DC @ Wembley Stadium & Hampden Park 2015 Sun 28th Jun to Sat 4th Jul 2015
Wembley Stadium, and Hampden Park, Wembley, and Glasgow
last updated: Mon 22nd Jun 2015
T in the Park 2015 Fri 10th to Sun 12th Jul 2015
Strathallan Castle, Kinross, Perth & Kinross
last updated: Yesterday, 05:24pm
Glastonbury Festival 2013 Wed 26th to Sun 30th Jun 2013
Worthy Farm, Shepton Mallet, Somerset
last updated: Mon 24th Jun 2013
Bestival 2015 Thu 10th to Sun 13th Sep 2015
Robin Hill Country Park, Downend, Isle of Wight
last updated: Thu 28th May 2015
Nocturne at Blenheim Palace 2015 Thu 25th to Sun 28th Jun 2015
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
last updated: Mon 27th Apr 2015
Ramblin' Man Fair 2015 Sat 25th to Sun 26th Jul 2015
Mote Park, Maidstone, Kent
last updated: Wed 20th May 2015