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A Camden Crawler's Guide to Festival Management: The Line-Up

Posted: 2/03/2012 23:00

This week was what it's all about: bands, DJs, solo artists and more bands. Running a music festival can sometimes seem about everything except music - the form-filling, the meetings, the co-ordination, people management, marketing, budgets, promotions and millions of emails. Ultimately, though, the hard work you put into these things is aimed at creating the best festival line-up and punter experience.

Our announcement this week of the initial evening line-up for the Crawl is just the tip of the iceberg, but it offers a great taster of what the festival is all about this year. There's a strong post-punk strain, full of the kinds of dark and angsty vocals and angular guitars that got me hooked on music in the first place: new bands like Black Moth and Iceage feed into the Crawl's rich heritage in this genre, filling that Gang of Four or Killing Joke hole in all our lives.

This sort of music doesn't deserve its reputation as a little bit forbidding or intimidating, though: bands like Dutch Uncles and Fanzine, drawing on the 1980s and 1990s respectively, skew it towards a poppier sensibility, and will pack out their gigs at the Crawl with infectious-but-intelligent slices of angular indie rock. Building audiences for alternative music is our raison d'être, and bands as good as these make it ridiculously easy to do: give them a stage and they'll kill it.

Rolling drums and skittering bass will fill the venues of Camden this May, then, but the festival is about every type and stripe of music: at the other end of the spectrum are bands like Admiral Fallow and Echo Lake, who each in their own way till the weird fields of folk and atmospheric electronica. Scotland's Admiral Fallow ally sweet melodies with the sharpest lyrics, whilst Echo Lake create great swells of pastoral sound, topped with Linda Jarvis's ethereal vocals.

Acts like these take their influences and twist them up into something new: Hey Sholay, for instance, come across like Stornaway-with-soundscapes. Other acts on our bill are building ever stranger sonic environments, too: moving beyond the verse-and-chorus rock song, Blackhoods describe themselves as "a deep ocean slow jam combined with late night vibes," and I can do no better - their sounds simply need to be heard. Jape, too, are capable of turning a tune on its head with a single segue, and they build their own very particular version of what used to be called wall of sound (until Phil Spector started wearing that wig).

If you're looking for tracks built from simple foundations which somehow twist and turn into something special, just as exciting are live dubstep act True Tiger. They've supported Enter Shikari and DJ'd around the globe. Also drawing inspiration from hip-hop - though of a quite different kind - is the dapper Willy Moon, who samples everything from James Brown to Wu-Tang Clan, and will make you dance while he does so.

I haven't even mentioned the seductive electro-pop of Chew Lips, the Mary Chain-esque Funeral Suits, or the modern disco of Night Angles. There are simply too many acts on the bill to write at length about all of them - especially when there's so much admin still to do. Please, check them all out.

 

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