It’s finally upon us; a weekend of battling the crowds as we set forth for Camden Crawl. This year has probably produced the best line-up ever, with three of our Ones To Watch playing (see, we know what we’re doing), the best in name-droppable buzz bands and a fringe comedy and art schedule to make the Edinburgh Fringe doubt themselves.
The event’s major show-stoppers will be headline sets by The Cribs, Futureheads and Death In Vegas, and showcases by Niki and the Dove and FOE. However with over 300 acts across 15 stages you’ll be able to find your own hidden gems to boast about seeing first in years to come — we recommend Icona Pop and Fear of Men.
Comedy highlights include Rufus Hound and Cardinal Burns off of the telly, and there will be much laughter at the Highhoops Hulafest, where you can take hula-hooping lessons in front of your mates and harsh strangers. There is also the Crawlternative Media Expo featuring the Lexington Record Fair as well as tutorials on self-publishing and screen printing.
Really though, it’s the music were excited about, especially the London acts who are playing. So, to make sure you’re kept abreast of the best of the capital's bands you should be watching, we have scoured the line-up to bring you the ten best London bands gracing the Camden Crawl’s stages each day.
Imperial Leisure @ Wheelbarrow 1pm
Kick start the festivities with energised ska hip-rock from this serotonin educing six-piece. Their punk skank is punchy and rawkus and oozes the very essence of Camden.
Bo Ningen @ Red Bull Outdoor Jam Arena 1.35 pm
These London based Japansese psych-garage noise terrorisers have been gathering legions of fans including The Horrors. They’re the sound of an orgasmic Fugazi eating pieces of the Shard.
Clement Marfo and the Frontline @ Jazz Café 7pm
Our Ones To Watch are playing a gazillion times, but this set will see the collective bring their pop grime to life in style. Their slick show will jettison them from the underground.
Echo Lake @ The Monarch 8.05pm
The voice of a choirgirl joins ethereal guitars for gloriously sweeping melodies which give a 60s dream pop edge to 90s shoegaze. This Camberwell Art school band are very special indeed.
O Children @ Black Heart 8.15pm
These twisted nu-noir post-disco pounders take Nick Cave’s sinister world view and gives it the airiness of The XX. Their throbbing anthems give goth an infectiously catchy edge.
Clock Opera @ Purple Turtle 9.10pm
Seeing Londonist favourites at the Crawl get us very excited. Their gentlemanly quirkiness and rhythmic melodies will bring an euphoric highlight to the festival, and gather them many more fans.
The Big Pink @ Koko 9.30pm
The Big Pink’s stadium electro need no introduction. Despite the awful name they've managed to achieve the athemic status and set dark synth pop back on an arena filling trajectory.
Theme Park @ Dingwalls 9.30pm
If you think you’ve heard all this indie-synth malarkey before, then listen to Theme Parks dreamy afro-pop. Their stylish driving Talking Heads groove sets a new standard for guitar friendly synth bands.
Kwes @ Black Cap 10.45pm
Kwes’ overlapping synths and cracking samples enables a truly progressive pop music to thrive. His erratic electro give an airy, free, somewhat tortured, simplicity to a magnificent aural experience.
Sway @ Jazz Café 12pm
Now an official megastar, Sway catapulted grime into the mainstream and took UK Hip-Hop to the rest of the world. He’s arguably the best rapper in the country, yet remains faithfully ground breaking.
Evans The Death @ Wheelbarrow 4pm
Being a fanboy of 90s art-rock DIY indie, these are genuinely exciting. Their recently released debut album is wonderful, and will ensure this is the last chance to this five-piece so close up.
Kyla La Grange @ Wheelbarrow 7pm
With a voice between Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush, La Grange’s dramatic romanticism is destined for a Florence-esque adoration. Her combination of flamboyance and subtle mystery is a delight.
Fanzine @ Enterprise 8.15pm
Paying homage to 90’s college rock is a good thing, especially when citing, Bandwagonesque era Teenage Fanclub and a lo-fi Superchunk, yet Fanzine’s breezy riffs prevent them from sounding too retro.
Fiction @ Purple Turtle 8.15pm
Quirky, jangly 80s indie pop with a heavy slant towards Lloyd Cole and early Aztec Camera never sounded so fresh. Fiction could single handily soundtrack a Brat Pack film.
Arrows Of Love @ Black Heart 8.15pm
Their post-hardcore has received approval from Shellac’s Bob Weston and deservedly so. Deploying lose DIY guitars with overdriven fuzz gives them a timelessly progressive edginess.
Spector @ Koko 8.15pm
Spector’s scenester indie for T4 On The Beach attendees, gives post-punk a clinical sheen to ensure an inoffensive mass appeal. Their expert entry, level indiepop is perfect for a lively Sunday evening.
NZCA/Lines @ Black Cap 9.30pm
Our Ones To Watch’s slick RnB and rumbling beats resulted in one of the albums of the year and their live shows have become majestic affairs. NZCA/Linea, are sexy, smooth, and fiercely energising.
Micachu and the Shapes @ Jazz Café 9.30pm
It’s a joy to have Micachu back with her wonky noises and homemade instruments. The simplicity of her DIY creates an unbelievable aural delight which will enthral at this very special show.
Charli XCX @ The Monarch 9.30 pm
Charli’s become the queen of East London’s hipster scene. She’s played her grinding electro pop at the coolest warehouses and spearheads a slick and edgy gothpop revival, like a Smash Hits Grimes.
Toy @ Purple Turtle 10.45pm
Another One To Watch headlines the festival with their nu-noir psych-gaze, proving dark guitar effects are the sound of 2012. No longer in the shadow of former bands, Toy have gained their own momentum.
For more details on this year’s London festivals check out our guide to indie and rock festivals.