by / May 16th, 2012 /

Meteor Camden Crawl Dublin: State’s Top 25

Last weekend saw the Camden Crawl festival land in Dublin for the first time, with two nights of music spread across the city. State was on hand to report on the event and here’s our pick of the acts from home and abroad.

And So I Watch You From Afar – Button Factory, Friday

Few bands seem to get better and better every time you see them live, but ASIWYFA are made of special stuff. New guitarist Niall Kennedy has filled the very big shoes of Tony Wright with aplomb, splicing a bit of his own DNA into the Belfast group’s catalogue. “We’ve had a fucked-up year, so thanks for sticking with us,” puffs Rory Friers towards the end of this typically replete set. Before him, the crowd heaves with amazement and perspiration while the ‘The Voiceless’ chimes out. As if their loyalty was ever in doubt. (Hilary White)

Bantum – The Mercantile, Saturday

Cork-born, Dublin-based producer Bantum has been steadily building up momentum over the last couple of years while displaying a knack for smooth stylistic shifts over the course of four EPs. His set in the Mercantile draws on those styles in invigorating fashion, backed up by some great visuals from film-maker/artist Paul Mahon. There’s the chopped up vocal samples and hyperactive, layered compositions of his most recent Lay Lay EP, the infectious, swirling rhythms of ‘Weak Weak Week’, and the throbbing electro-funk groove of ‘Slide’; while his Come On Live Long remix shows the spin he can put on other people’s material. That album can’t come soon enough. (Daniel Harrison)

Blacklisters – The Mercantile, Friday

Blacklisters come to Dublin with a reputation for being both great live performers and very, very loud and, as the crowd in The Mercantile will attest, both of these things are true. This show won’t be forgotten in a hurry, as the band moved their equipment from the stage to the floor and played a furious set of aggressive rock in the midst of the crowd. The very definition of ‘in your face’. (John Balfe)

Dam Mantle – The Grand Social, Friday

About three songs into a set of acidy electronica, house builds and 808 drum hits, Scottish producer Tom Marshell piped up, “I came the whole way from Glasgow for this.” Totally wrapped in the dense wash of trickling bleeps and sample choppery I thought there was a string of exclamation points at the end of his statement, looking ‘round to a near empty room I realised it leaned with sartalics. For shame. Dam Mantle is an exciting producer and an engaging performer, but the crowd was drawn elsewhere in the city leaving a lifeless room behind that was filled with clockwork beats and swirling arpeggiated synths. A great set, enjoyed by few. (Alan Reilly)

Dott – JJ Smyths, Saturday

Girls in summer dresses with electric guitars, Dott sound just like you’d imagine. It’s not so much the ghost of Belly, rather the new influence of Best Coast, Vivian Girls and more precisely La Sera, Dott and their canon of torrid garage pop shines on an almost windowless pub stage. When nerves subside, singer Nicola explains the romantic cost of life as a TEFL teacher (from the victim’s point of view) with that Galway charm, and her accented vocal on ‘Let’s Do It’ is surf pop from Ireland’s West Coast with the rays from its Californian origins. (Alan Reilly)

D/R/U/G/S – Grand Social, Saturday

One of the highlights of the weekend, this is immersive stuff from Mancunian Callum Wright and his anonymous partner-in-crime, all propulsive rhythms and warmly hypnotic grooves. The crowd – sparse at first – grows steadily throughout, both in terms of numbers and in terms of animation. Some great visuals provide the backdrop to Wright’s set, and it’s clear that he puts a premium on its live, in-the-moment feel. The buoyant ‘One Thousand Faces’ is one standout, but overall it’s a joyful, seamless rush. (Daniel Harrison)

Dutch Uncles – The Mercantile, Friday

Manchesters’s Dutch Uncles’ bracing brand of indie-rock, coupled with singer Duncan Wallis’ spry dance moves, was one of the most enjoyable performances of the whole festival. Their profile is surging in the UK and after shows like this, as wells as Saturday’s repeat performance in the Grand Social, you can expect to hear a lot more from them very soon. (John Balfe)

Hands Up Who Wants To Die – Twisted Pepper, Saturday

Our good friends at AU (get well soon, guys) are being accosted by what looks like an Appalachian black bear when we join them. Hang on, the beast is wielding a microphone! And look, it’s braying confrontationally as it stalks through a grinning audience to a soundtrack of beautifully discordant thrash punk. This, then, is Hands Up Who Want To Die, the Richter Collective darlings who State is hereby dubbing this weekend’s kings of showmanship. (Hilary White)

Jape – The Village, Friday

Welcome home, Richie Egan! Only in the door and the two-time Meteor Choice Prize Winner is raising the tempo in the city, fisting the air and gurning with glee. Live, Jape is now full-on electro, with even older, more guitar-based tunes such as ‘I Was A Man’ and ‘Floating’ now given a slick digital coat of processed sounds. “Judas,” I hear you bleat? Rubbish – in fact, he sounds better than ever, even with technical gremlins popping their heads up. Catch him at a festival near you this summer. (Hilary White)

Jogging – Button Factory, Friday

‘For those of you who read in the brochure that we sounded like Mastodon, this mustn’t be working out so well for you guys’, shrugs Darren Craig, Jogging’s bespectacled, be-bearded guitarist. Not so! In fact, this excellent Richter Collective three-piece are a thrill to watch as they kick off the inaugural Meteor Camden Crawl Dublin, a tightly wound riot of sharp riffing, thrash energy and DC hardcore vocals. Masto- who? (Hilary White)

Kool Thing – Stag’s Head, Saturday

Playing in a sun trap made for a naturally dramatic stage setting up stairs in The Stag’s Head, the blazing glare a beautiful juxtaposition against girls dressed in black singing about nocturnal antics. Kool Thing have attracted their own crowd, it’s a struggle to wedge in the door but it’s worth being rude. Since their last jaunt around the city in December, Jon and Julie have acquired a live drummer and with him a rounder more relaxed form to their performance. With a spread of duties, the girls are free to project the cold harmonies of their keening electro-Goth. ‘Light Games’ is glacial and arcane and ‘The Sign’ are charging anthem. Kool Thing are making all the right moves to greatness. (Alan Reilly)

Last Days Of 1984 – Button Factory, Friday

The duo of Darren Moloney and Brian Rice are perhaps unfortunate to get an early Friday evening slot. People will continue to talk about the obvious debt they owe to Animal Collective, and rightly so: as well crafted as their tunes are, they still lack a distinctive, unique identity. However, originality is never the be all and end all (cf. Yuck, Echo Lake, etc); what’s more of a concern is that their general sound palette (Washed Out-alike vocals, shimmering textures, afro-beat flourishes) has been so well-trodden of late – it can feel like they’ve arrived to the party while everyone else is already battling the hangover. But that may be harsh: debut album Wake Up To The Waves nods to the dancefloor more than may have been expected, with an appreciation for rhythm that’s more akin to John Talabot at times than the chillwave clones. The duo drop the ball somewhat with their final song, which is drawn-out Instagramed-blandness, but (much like their album) they do enough here to make you do a double-take. (Daniel Harrison)

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