Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip bring Camdem Crawl to a thunderous close

Camden Crawl 2010 review

published: Fri 7th May 2010

Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

Saturday 1st to Sunday 2nd May 2010
venues in Camden, London, NW1 0NE, England MAP
2-day pass £57, day tickets £35.50
last updated: Thu 22nd Apr 2010

Anticipating more rain, I dressed more appropriately today; short dress, leggings, DMs and a cardi. May not sound rain-suitable to you, but my previous day's attire of long jeans, canvas trainers and a denim jacket had proved utterly disastrous (and was all still soaked).

My first stop of the day was Pirate Castle for Craftacular. Due to the rain, and being a bit out of the way, it was pretty empty this early on, but had started to get busier by the time I left. Full of squidgy sofas, cupcakes and a canteen serving tea and coffee (as well as the obligatory wine, cider and lager) it proved a perfect way to start the morning and I made my very own customised tote bag – first choosing a screen-print design, then embellishing to my hearts content at the sewing table (and all for 50p!) to the strains of laid back jazz being played by the resident DJs. Wonderful.

Although the rain was nowhere near as heavy as the previous evening, the weather was still pretty miserable, which was a shame as the Red Bull stage was putting on a pretty stellar line-up, showcasing a lot of bands who were doing indoor sets later on – and catching them during the day was crucial in reducing the heartbreaking amount of clashes the day had to offer. So I gritted my teeth, braved the drizzle – easy enough – and the hideously cold wind, purchasing a pair of gloves (gloves! In May!) fairly early on in the proceedings and settled in (well, out) at the stage.

Chew Lips were a little worse for wear having finished their tour the previous night. Tigs asked how we were all doing, given that we’d probably been up all night taking terrible Camden drugs, which got a cheer from the crowd. Despite their tiredness, they put on a fantastically upbeat performance with some pounding bass lines, and the crowd responded well, dancing against the cold.

By the time Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip took to the stage, the Red Bull arena was rammed, inspite of the weather, and due to some skilful merchandise circulation before the set most of the crowd were sporting 'Pip for President' badges and waving brightly coloured paper flags which proclaimed 'Pip is not a terrorist' on one side and 'Dan is not a jukebox' on the other. The size of the crowd seemed to surprise and amuse of Scroobius Pip who asked if we knew they were playing a gig indoors later on; "It's just down the road, you know!". They ripped straight into 'Beat That My Heart Skipped', and promised to keep the set upbeat to keep us warm, with Dan admonishing Pip for chatting too much between songs and Pip pausing for a hilarious 'Red Bull Break'.

Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
They played up to the upcoming election, passing cardboard masks of the main party leaders to three incredibly hyper 16 year old boys at the front, and seeing who got the biggest cheer come the end of the song. Nick Clegg won, which Pip chose to interpret more as a representation of festival goers than of current public opinion. Unfortunately they didn't have enough time to play 'Letter From God To Man', but Dan urged us to come along to their later set if we wanted to hear it.

By now the cold was pretty biting, so we headed to the Spread Eagle for some food and a much-needed sit down. By happy coincidence we caught the last few songs of Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, described to me by a friend as 'Chap-hop' ("he does hip-hop about cricket and Surry"). His set went down a storm, and his finisher – a storming rendition of The Prodigy's 'Message To Outer Space' delivered in an incredibly upper class accent was something I will remember for a long time to come.

Rolo Tomassi
Back to the Red Bull stage for Rolo Tomassi, who I have to say were far more screamy than they'd sounded when I listened to them on Spotify that morning. Nevertheless, joining the group of bands who I love live but wouldn't listen to at home, they were incredible and full of energy, although all but eclipsed by the same group of 16 year old guys, who were doing their very best to create a fight pit in what was a fairly thin crowd.

Hearing on the tweetvine about an acoustic Babybird set at Lock 17, we hurried there, but didn't quite arrive in time. However, much to our delight, We Are Scientists were just setting up their very own acoustic set. We couldn't get up into the gallery as it was too crowded by that stage (the gig was supposed to be outside but moved due to the weather) but we collapsed in the leather chairs and listened from downstairs.

Following on from Chew Lips and Rolo Tomassi, it was a nice change to actually relax in front of a band rather than going mental to them. Starting with a totally stripped down version of 'Rules Don't Stop', this set the tone for their entire set and they got a great reception, from people downstairs as well as those up in the gallery.

Our plan for the evening started at 6.30 with Casiokids at the Jazz Café. The queue outside was getting increasingly annoyed with staring at a sign saying 'The venue will open at 6', especially as it was now ten past and we could hear music going on inside. A member of staff came out to tell us that their flight had been delayed and they were just sound checking now, which I think narrowly prevented a riot.

Casiokids are huge amounts of fun to listen to, and even more fun to watch. Bouncy electro pop with some awesome props and effects, which tonight included a shaker which looked like half a pineapple. One of the tracks had an incredibly dirty, pounding bass line which – with casiotone keyboards and a cowbell over the top – sounded just too awesome for words. The crowd loved them, and the set was perfect for getting people in the mood for the evening after a dry but very cold day.

80s Matchbox BLine Disaster
Next stop Koko, for some 80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster shaped fun. Described to me by the same friend as 'gothabilly', I really have to point out that there was nothing 'abilly' about them. Guy McNight screaming into the microphone, standing on speakers and staring down the audience with his utterly terrifying eyes, it really was a sight to behold. I saw one guy attempt to crowd surf, but it would be more accurate to say that he was hoisted into the air by his mates and immediately pulled into the photo pit by security. Guy, however, had no such trouble and – to the chagrin of the security guards – spent a lot of his set held aloft by the crowd. I tried to stay out of the mosh pit for fear of my safety (and that of my glasses, which were about as new as my last pair were before I wore them to a Late Of The Pier gig and lost them in the pit – I got them back in one piece, but missing a lens…) but it got increasingly difficult as the set went on, and nigh on impossible by the end. I'm not saying the gig was bad, mind you; it was huge amounts of fun and an incredible experience. Leaving Koko to find it still light outside though seemed very wrong indeed…

With so many people on at 10.15 that I wanted to see, I had some very hard choices to make. Babybird would have been fantastic (as I love a lot of his old stuff, going far beyond 'You're Gorgeous') but I needed something dancy at this stage, and personally paid no heed to the Johnny Depp rumours that were flying through Twitter. Rolo Tomassi I'd thankfully already seen, Gang of Four I don't really know that well (despite my friend telling me that if I didn't go and see them, we weren't friends anymore) and I didn't want to trek all the way up to the Roundhouse for We Are Scientists. Slowly but surely I whittled it down to Delays, who I adore, and who I have always been vaguely resentful didn't get huge all those summers ago with 'Valentine'.

Many others had the same idea, and Cuban Bar was full to the gills, barely allowing anyone to move in any direction other than up and down. Sadly though, the crowd were a bit lacklustre (which was surprising, given how violently some of them had pushed past me in a desperate attempt to get closer to the front) and barely any dancing happened at all, which was a great shame. Nevertheless, the set was good. With a capital G. Brilliant, in fact. They opened with two classics from Faded Seaside Glamour, before playing a set which skilfully mixed old, not so old (3rd album) and brand new songs. They finished with a simply thunderous version of 'Valentine', the bass riff lifting my heart as soon as it started to ring out, and I was amazed that the crowd weren’t going absolutely mental. Their loss.

The only real way to finish the festival was with Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip again, this time at the Electric Ballroom. I've seen them at festivals before, and while they perform brilliantly outside, there's something about seeing them in the dark, closed in atmosphere of a club that really gels with their act. I was pretty tired at this point, and my feet were complaining bitterly – I felt as though I'd walked further than I normally do at Glastonbury, although that can't possibly be accurate. Nevertheless, I positioned myself as close to the front as I could, and prepared to go wild.

Possibly due to overrunning earlier on, they ripped through their set without any of the normal between-song banter, something which proved to be a bit of a mistake when they realised they had more time left than songs they were expecting to play, and Pip "wasn't feeling very chatty". He asked Dan to play some Classic Rock on his keyboard – Dan responded with the first cadence of 'Pachelbel's Canon'.

Pip egged the crowd on throughout the set, bating the guys at the very front by saying they couldn't match up to the energy being exhibited by those in the middle. By 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' the whole room was jumping, and when Pip asked how we were all doing – "Do you want some more bass?" the answering cheer was immense. Dan responded by turning the bass up until my whole body was shaking.

As promised, they closed the set with 'Letter From God To Man' which was incredible, and Pip left the stage allowing Dan to let rip on bass and synths, which he did with abandon, before bringing the set to a thunderous close.

It was time to head home. I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk. Definitely signs of a weekend well spent.
review by: Hannah Morgan

photos by: Chris Mathews

Saturday 1st to Sunday 2nd May 2010
venues in Camden, London, NW1 0NE, England MAP
2-day pass £57, day tickets £35.50
last updated: Thu 22nd Apr 2010

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