by / May 9th, 2013 /

Camden Crawl Dublin – State’s Top 25

Back for a second year with an expanded line up, there’s little doubt that the Meteor Camden Crawl Dublin built on the promise of 2012 and delivered a fine weekend of music across fifteen venues. As with the original London event, many of the highlights were to be found in the smaller venues and it was also encouraging to see the Irish acts more than stack up against the international visitors. Such was the range and scope of the Crawl, that everyone’s festival experience will probably be unique but here’s what caught the eye of the State team…

Amateur Historians – The Globe, Sunday

Given the unfamiliar nature of some of the names on the bill, often the best approach for an act is just to give it socks. Take Amateur Historians for example. Opening up the second night at the State curated venue, the trio plug in and blast off. It proves hard not to go along for the ride, as catchy tune follows catchy tune and they charm all and sundry with their cheery disposition. The set ends with the bassist stripping to the waste and hurling his instrument to the floor – not the kind of activity you see in The Globe every night. (PU)

Cloud Castle Lake – Against The Grain, Sunday

Having been talked about in hushed tones a couple of years back, Cloud Castle Lake find themselves making their Crawl debut upstairs in a pub rather than in one of the larger, main venues. It does, however, prove to be the perfect combination. With the street lights glowing behind them, there’s a special atmosphere as those straining to see quickly cotton onto the fact that this could be rather memorable. The band seem to feel it too, turning in a performance that sees them produce a noise more suited to a room ten times the size. Confined by these four walls, Cloud Castle Lake sound as if they could explode at any second. (PU)

Croupier – Button Factory, Sunday

Back home after an extended European jaunt in the company of Enemies, it’s clear from their second show of the weekend that Croupier have moved up a gear. Given that they were a pretty startling live act already, that means that they hit the Crawl with a serious rocket up their collective backsides. There’s a splash of new material that sees them continue to develop their sound too, finding their own identity more and more with every show. (PU)

Fight Like Apes – The Globe, Saturday

FLA’s relationship with hometown shows has sometimes been a tricky one. Of all of the times we’ve seen them live, it’s when they’ve been playing away that they’ve been at their best. Maybe it’s a pressure thing and thus, with their presumably crucial Fundit campaign reaching a conclusion, you fear that perhaps history may repeat itself. Fat chance. The Globe is rammed, the queue to get in snakes down the street and the quartet are in the form of their lives. There’s a healthy amount of new songs (all excellent, so get funding), proof that they’re ready to head off in yet another direction after the deliciously dark second record. Some things don’t change, however, and when Mary dives into the crowd for ‘Jake Summers’ (swiftly followed by Jamie, via the speaker stack), carnage ensues. Incredible stuff. (PU)

Fionn Regan – Workman’s Club, Saturday

From the little boy lost that first emerged with the Mercury-nominated End of History, Fionn Regan has grown into a brooding hippie. Here is a rapturous crowd who cheer wildly in appreciation of each song played before a unanimous shushing as Regan launches into the next without fanfare, milking their devotion. He strutted on the small stage, unfussily picking out the intros to his most well-known songs with a smirk on his face, and ill-considered bandanna tied around his head. Regan has always been praised for the literary nature of his songs (who else recommends Paul Auster in their lyrics?), but live there is much more to it than clever phrasings, there’s a bit of magic in the atmosphere. (AR)

Heathers – Unitarian Church, Saturday

It’s been a long while since many of these arses graced a church pew, but the promise of an acoustic set from Heathers is more than enough to entice. The Macnamara twins brilliantly filled out their sound on second album, Kingdom, but stripped back to the original two voices and an acoustic guitar, with only an electric guitar for texture, the songs really hit home. ‘Forget Me Knots’ in particular is even more uplifting than on record, and the acrobatic vocal interplay that makes up so much of their appeal is sharper than ever. The small room out of the way, they’ll play Christ Church Cathedral on 16th May as part of the Evening Songs show in aid of Temple Street Hospital. Presumably their tour manager is then lining up a date in St Peter’s Basilica. (AR)

Inni-K – The Globe, Saturday

There’s quite an array of instruments with one Kildare lady sitting amidst them, but almost all of them get an airing tonight. Inni-K creates loops from her piano, plays pizzicato violin and brings a ukulele in to create a warm and experimental folk sound in the corner of the Globe. Like a less wayward Joanna Newsom, and with a strong, clear voice, the musical layers create a beautiful and simple sonic texture. It is a pity that this texture is roughened by the babbling at the bar which only grows as the gig goes on and the next act’s (Fight Like Apes) crowd drips in. Her valiant fight against the din is lost at the end. Currently planning a range of gigs in homes across Ireland, it sounds like a fireside in Drumshambo could be just the place to fully appreciate Inni-K. (SR)

Kool Thing – 4 Dame Lane, Sunday

Despite having only released their debut album in March, Kool Thing are old hands at this stage. Jon Dark and Julie Chance patter about tonight, setting up and chatting with audience members as they prepare for a set that will prove both slick and professional. The nails-on-a-chalkboard riff of ‘The Sign’ alerts everybody as Dark digs under each string in search of unpalatable noise. Drummer and recent addition Valentin Plessy is consistent in his pummeling stoicism as Dark and Chance move about, swapping instruments freely. There may be a hint of complacency from the band as parts that could be played live are merely looped, but after playing the same songs for three years, it would difficult not to be a bit jaded. Such cynicism is easily dispelled by the likes of ‘TV Tower’, ‘Light Games’ and the marvelous ‘Line Drive’, all packing a sizeable punch, but it looks as if Kool Thing are ready to move on from Kool Thing. They’re dying to see what’s next, and you should be too. (GM)

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  • Chaps and chapettes can I add Kid Karate to that list there. Rocked the doors off JJ Smyth’s and when joined by Squarehead bassist Ian it got even better. Never heard them before can’t stop listening now. Great event. Keep it sexy people.