I was delighted see some bigger crowds and happier faces on Day Two of Dublin’s Camden Crawl, as gig-goers began to embrace the fine art of venue-hopping. A couple of late starts permitted me to see shows I didn’t think I’d get to, (Northy rockers LaFaro, the ever-luminous Rubberbandits and, for the second time in as many days, the brilliant DELS, whose album Gob is next on my to-download list), which left me wondering why the schedule wasn’t more scattered in the first place.
That said, the gigs I got to see this weekend were well worth the trek, and reports from shows elsewhere around the city, equally effusive. If the event returns for a second year, providing the folk behind it organise themselves as well the bands on stage, Dublin will have a truly great new festival on its hands.
Here’s what I saw on Day Two…
Riff-toting Northerners LaFaro are highly revered around these parts for their not-much-nonsense rock (I’m referring here to the ‘tween-song banter, which tends to get very silly very quickly), so it’s no surprise that they draw a heaving crowd to the upstairs venue in Whelan’s tonight, despite the fact that Ireland’s favourite polyethylene-wearing satirists are playing just around the corner.
Blessed with a thundering, throbbing, heavy duty sound, typified by breakneck rhythms, clattering percussion and snarling vocals, Black, Magee, LaFaro and Lynn easily charm the pants off the Whelan’s massive, some of whom are too entranced by the racket to headbang along. Relentless party number ‘Boke’ (hear above) from their monstrous second album Easy Meat, quickly sorts that out and thank God it does – an old school rock show this masterful and frantic deserves such a reception.
Lemonada live in The Grand Social at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
Staff in the Grand Social are using every possible excuse to creep out from behind the bar and hang around the venue floor, so compelling are the experimental sounds of Lemonada. This 21-year-old mystery man makes heavy, pulsing, occasionally tribal dub and hip hop-tinged tracks, rendered all the more impressive by a Timbaland-esque knack for using non-musical samples.
Take ‘Namaste, Bitch’, the first track from his debut release Kelly Green Vol 1., which samples the nursery rhyme ‘Three Little Kittens’, Jim Reeves song ‘Welcome To My World’ and the voice of a thick-accented ballet teacher, all in just two minutes and seven seconds – I’m talking seriously head-spinning stuff, here. Elsewhere, there are moments of pure electronic wallop, as the impenetrable samples momentarily give way to simply massive beats, beats I can easily see being shopped out to artists on any level of the pop spectrum, all the way up to R. Kelly and Drake. They’d be lucky to have them.
The Wonderfully Weird:
Nanu Nanu live in The Workman’s Club 3at the Camden Crawl Dublin. Photo by Ruth Medjber.
For a lot of pretty obvious reasons, the Irish DIY music scene is not a very glamourous place. It’s tough, for example, to survive the mosh pit at an And So I Watch You From Afar gig and come out looking as you did before you entered it, particularly if you went in looking like a premature Blanche Devereaux (I have the broken earrings to prove this.) It’s just one of the reasons why Nanu Nanu‘s Camden Crawl show makes for a terrific change of pace.
The theatrical team behind this Mork & Mindy-themed, self-described alien pop outfit are Marc II (Marc Aubele) on synth and production, Glitterface (the remarkably busy Laura Sheeran, clad in a mirrored bustier and make-up to match) on synth and vocals and Jane Cassidy (presumably her actual name) on visual effects. Specialising in a particularly flashy brand of avant garde electronica, Nanu Nanu employ echoey vocal effects and a whole lot of otherworldly hoots and clicks to create their beautifully freakish sounds.
Rare bird Sheeran happily waves her arms around her head, commanding the lights from the visual show to swirl about with her, while partner in crime Aubele remains eerily still at his post. The infinitely spooky ‘Skin’ is a highlight, as is a Soft Cell-tastic cover of Katie Kim’s ‘The Feast’ and a very, very distorted version of Blondie’s ‘Heart Of Glass’. Less a gig and more a glimmering visual and aural attack, Nanu Nanu’s Camden Crawl debut was positively shudder-inducing in all the right ways.