16
Apr 12

Coming soon: The Skellies launch Superficial in Camden

Last weekend The Camden Store’s latest tip, The Skellies, took to the stage to deliver a pumped-up set for the Purple Turtle’s Saturday night crowd. If you haven’t come across them before, these lads are a local outfit, busy making their name known around Camden with their own mods and rockers club night and a bevy of bolshy songs up their Fred Perry sleeves.

With a re-jazzed line-up the band has been moving towards a decidedly more rock and roll sound, which will be cemented with the launch of their new single Superficial at their biggest headline show to date back at the Purple Turtle on May 12th. We recommend getting yourselves along for a taste of proper live music.


15
Apr 12

Yngve and The Innocent return to Camden

This time last year we were getting ready to host Yngve and The Innocent at our Right Royal Knee’s Up (can we have another royal wedding please, that was FUN).  A few days ago they were back in Camden to launch their latest single You’ll Be Mine at the Lock Tavern.

The jaunty toe-tapper of a tune precedes the release of the group’s debut album ‘The Sadness of Remembering’, which happily landed on The Camden Store doormat this week. Brothers Yngve and Demian Wieland and their band are proper self-starters that have had to be pretty inventive to get this record up and running. They toured relentlessly in order to fund the necessary studio time, and then raised an impressive sum through pre-sales to get it ready for distribution.

It’s genuinely heart-warming to hear their reflective yet unrepentantly upbeat collection of songs pulled together, leading us to rediscover old favourites such as You’ve Been Released and Draw A Line. If anyone deserves some success, it’s them.

You can listen to the album sampler here.


01
Apr 12

Free Willy

Free things are a mixed bag. There is an overwhelming abundance of depressing free things, like The Metro or single use toiletries. Then are the slightly less depressing things like the Evening Standard Magazine, refills and ropey wi-fi. Then you get the things that are free due to some massive, glaringly obvious, human error or scam, such as an inheritance from an unknown rich Nigerian uncle which you need to pay a small admin charge to receive, or a Willy Mason gig.

Having arrived at the newly opened Colonel Fawcett, a perfectly pleasant up-market pub, one suspected the ‘free’ gig was either a clever ruse to attract new customers or we were going to be sat down and made to listen to a time-share pitch sung by Willy. However the huge crowd was in for a treat not involving a Spanish villa, but Willy performing three sets from each of his albums from the last ten years.

The large upstairs room, which is due to host more gigs in the near future, was throbbing with Willy fans and notably many ex-pat Americans who had made the journey to see their country man perform. The set began as it would finish, with Mason, looking like a 60-a-day Marlboro man, on his own on stage with just his guitar for company.

The rolling American country music was perfectly suited to the intimate venue, lit up by fairy lights. After playing several songs from his first album he had a brief interlude before returning to play the big crowd pleasers, which transformed the Colonel’s crowd into an impeccable backing choir, singing along to We Can Be Strong. Listening to the broad range of his material was a funny experience, there are songs everyone knows and then those you didn’t realise were Mason’s but recognize, and all the melodies, like that of If The Ocean Gets Rough, have a hint of familiarity in a rather pleasant way.

The choir continued to oblige by singing (shouting) along to Save Myself with Mason politely allowing the crowd to dominate by sharing the verses. The set later went on to show case new material that didn’t stray too far away from his personal acoustic style and story-like lyrics.

As he rounded off a generously lengthy set, the slightly bemused audience dispersed wondering as to how they had been treated to an amazing performance from a well-established artist for completely gratis. The best things in life are free, indeed.

Photobucket Words: Cameron Smith


31
Mar 12

Scroobius Pip @ Koko

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Scroobius Pip hits Camden for the second time in three months, but this time he’s determined to make sure we all have the night of our lives. I don’t know if it’s the fact that he’s now mid-way through a European tour, or whether it’s because he’s happy to be back in England, but tonight we are treated to more than we could ever hope for from one of his sets.

Starting with album opener Interdiction it’s clear tonight will be a little different as he takes to his hair with two clippers and proceeds to give himself a mini-mohawk (just like he does in the music video) midway through the song. It’s a devastatingly effective way of turning the heat up by a good few degrees, and the place becomes a cauldron of adoration, freneticism and exhilaration.

The set itself is both simple and complex at the same time. With just two other musicians on stage, both of whom are shielded from view by a lot of equipment, it’s left to Pip to fill the large space with his presence and it’s fortunate that he’s up to the job.

He drags cohort B. Dolan on stage for the single Soldier Boy, placing a joke arrow through his new mohawk as they work together to deliver the punchy, damning and sad indictment of the military and their puppet strings. Dolan has a fine set of blonde hair extensions… on his beard. Yes it’s strange but who really cares? Perhaps it’s the fallout from a recent successful trip to Amsterdam… to buy, er… tulips, probably.

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Vocalist Natasha joins the stage for Feel It and we’re left with an encore that shows Pip’s slightly violent side; coming on stage for The Struggle with his hands drenched in blood. The song is about Johnny Depp, the serial killer and the front few rows are flecked with blood by the time it finishes. Having started in fine form with the clippers, we’re now left with a ‘London-only’ special of Prince’s Get Off, complete with all of the nights special guests and support bands on the stage. It’s messy, it’s tacky, it’s bloody good fun and it’s not something I’ll be able to avoid in the future, should we be graced by his presence again. And there endeth tonight’s lesson.

Photobucket Words and pictures: Dan Aitch


06
Mar 12

North London hosts Alabama Shakes’ UK debut

I was as surprised as anybody when I discovered that one of the most talked about new bands around at the moment, Alabama Shakes would be playing three dates at The Boston Arms in North London. It was the band’s UK live debut, and with big name fans such as Alex Turner, Adele and Jack White behind them the hype certainly has some credibility, and the shows sold out in a matter of minutes.

The unlikely venue had a great atmosphere with plenty of star spots in the audience, including Russell Crowe, Bernard Butler and Jarvis Cocker (just to mix things up a bit). The room itself was nice and intimate – the perfect setting for such an event.

Listening to a few of their songs before the gig I was anticipating a bluesy sound, a kind of soulful American South vibe which didn’t particularly excite me, but as soon as the first song kicked in (Goin’ To The Party) I was quickly proved wrong. The band frequently reject the view that they are a ‘blues’ band, its thrown at them quite often and they definitely aren’t keen on the term, and watching them live I can definitely vouch for them in that respect.

The sound was incredible, very bassy and a lot grittier than I had expected. Twenty-three-year-old front woman Brittany had a voice that I haven’t been so excited about since Miss Winehouse. You believed every word she sang, and could see the love for it in her face.

I managed to get a few words with Brittany after the gig – she showed a lot of love for London and appreciated the comparison with Amy, adding “When I first heard her voice, I dropped my shit and was like, God damn! Who the hell is this?” (Imagine a strong deep South American accent and you’ll get the picture!).

Overall an incredible gig – a personal favourite of mine. All that’s left to say is, believe the hype.

Photobucket Words: Ceri Dixon