Posts Tagged ‘death from above 1979’

On the flyer for the Crawl currently wall-papering Camden, at the very bottom in coquettish, teasing orange letters, are the words: PLUS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS TO BE ANNOUNCED. This speaks to me, dear reader, of the usual Camden Crawl Surprise, the big, unexpected, hyped act from which the festival pulls a velvet throw a few days before the event itself. It’s as close to a ‘ta-da!’ moment that you get in festivals, and the Crawl have traditionally done it very, very well.

Indeed, this year’s bill is – as I’ve said everywhere on the internet – the best in years. And it’s announcement has been beautifully managed, too – lots of separate drip-feeds of acts, and all done at just the right time to maximise excitement. You almost wonder if the team behind the festival has outdone itself: the line-up has such breadth and depth, and such a high quotient of great acts already, that it’s hard to imagine another band doing the rounds that would fit the bill. I can’t imagine for a second that this year of all years we’ll get a left-field announcement of the latest bubble-gum act or shiny popster; that would be the wrong sort of surprise for this most eclectic, even edgy, of Crawl line-ups.

So where does that leave us? I’ve been doing a bit of digging on Twitter and elsewhere for bands who are around. Death From Above 1979, as regular readers of this blog will know are about that weekend; so are Chromeo. Both are acts I’ve tipped for the bill before, and particularly DFA79 could still, I suppose, be announced as the very special guest – although that might risk anticlimax. DFA79 are big amongst their fans, who’d be very excited indeed, but would it have the impact a late announcement should? Not sure.

That’s what I was interested to see this tweet from Tinchy Stryder: “Next week I’m announcing a very special very intimate one off London show. Full band. Small venue. May. Stay tuned ;-)” That would be an announcement around the right time, about a gig at about the right time. Tinchy Stryder is also the sort of act the festival might book this year – very big right now, but not without having lost his credibility. TS is one of the few acts around who could out-hype the currently boiling Odd Future hype.

Hmm. There are my thoughts so far … more listening to come …


Whispers are everywhere about tomorrow’s Crawl announcements. Here’s what I’m hearing and thinking:

Long-term readers will know that I’ve been predicting for a while that Death From Above 1979 will play the Crawl: reformed at last, they’re in town at the right time – they’re playing the HMV Forum just a few days after the Crawl. They’re also a perfect band for the Crawl in other ways – especially this year’s bill, which is so eclectic and – dare I say it – so cool.

Having said that, has anyone noticed that hip hop darlings Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All are playing Reading this year? They’re also playing Primavera in Spain just days before the Crawl, and have recently done SXSW, a festival frequented by a lot of confirmed Crawl acts (and, admittedly, everyone else in the music world ever). If Odd Future are finally breaking out of LA more regularly, again the Crawl would be an ideal festival for them, focusing as it does on emerging talent and the latest sounds.

I’m also not totally abandoning my Chromeo idea: they’re playing all over, and are on at the O2 the night of the royal wedding (that is, the night before the Crawl begins) – a bit of electrofunk could be just what the bill needs, and again they’d feel spot on for the atmosphere and aesthetic of the festival.

So, too, would another reformed act, though: last year saw Gang of Four play, and, now I’ve accepted they won’t be playing again this year, there’s another similar band I’m placing my money on. Killing Joke have had a golden age since their original line-up reformed a few years ago, and they released their first new album together at the end of last year. I can’t imagine a more suitable band to please the Gang of Four crowd which is also currently available …

The subject means two things, of course: predicting more who might play, and predicting those I might see. The more you dive into this year’s bill, the more riches there are to uncover … diverse, new music is what the Crawl should be about – this is easily the strongest Crawl line-up in years, and the team behind it should be bursting with the proudest pride.

Special Guests

Sometimes, and especially on Twitter, the Crawl team comments in some way, shape or form on my guesses and rumour-mongering – other times, the artists themselves confirm for them. I’ve had no take-up at all on either my Chromeo or Death From Above 1979 theories. I’m particularly warming to the latter, but in the absence of any word at all we can only conclude one of two things: I’m spot on or way, way off base. Will try again to drum something up on this front later…

Must-see List

Further exploration of the ‘blogosphere’ (how we must all hate that word and all its works) has led me to add a few acts to last week’s provisional list.

Treetop Flyers

For a band with a song called ‘A Long Cold Winter’, this is a band with a healthy dose of sun in their music, like a Fleet Foxes less interested in dodgy choral music. I’ve got a soft spot for mid-nineties – The Jayhawks, Wilco, Nadine – and Treetop Flyers seem to take a lot of inspiration from that movement. That means, too, of course, that you can hear strains of Mumford and Magic Numbers in there, which may or may not be as welcome – when there’s a soupcon of Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams in the mix for good measure, however, almost anything can be forgiven. Definitely one to look out for on the running order.

Piney Gir

Sticking with the country theme for just a moment more, Piney Gir’s brand of sexed-up classic hillbilly pop is a thing of quirky beauty, and songs which sound on the surface like the stuff your grandparents listened to on the tapedeck of their Cortina in fact curl and crumple at the edges into quite different shapes. Coupled with a carefully planned stage style – like Betty Boop chanelling Patsy Cline – and you have the makings of one of the funnest sets the Crawl will host. Particularly worth your time earlier in the evening, just as you get going.


With a name designed principally to frustrate music journalists typing against a deadline, and an online fanbase willing to promote them to the rafters, Dananananakroyd will almost certainly deliver one of the festival’s most energetic, crowd-pleasing sets: all singalong choruses and verses ripe for some old-fashioned pogoing. They’re a wry little band with a sly little name – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them play the same venue as Dinosaur Pile-up … which would be quite the double act. Get there early.

My call for the Crawl

The Crawl always always leaves a big announcement until last. Its secret guest is usually a big act with a large following but nevertheless one which fits into the overall ethos of the festival – so last year it was Pendulum (I say that positively, though I wasn’t convinced myself), and it’s never ever going to be Beady Eye.

That leaves me wondering who it might be. The special guest surely doesn’t change anyone’s mind in terms of buying a ticket – it’s often announced too late to occasion a significant swell in public demand – but it’s nice to think of it as a reward, as the coup de grace, as the cherry on the cake. The choice might even go as far to tell you a lot about the character of the Crawl in that year.

The Crawl isn’t, alas, magic. Its choices are generally limited to the bands doing the circuit in any given year. Regular readers will know that I’m disappointed Gang of Four didn’t get on the bill again – even I, a die-hard supporter of my own theory, don’t think they’ll be the special guests, though. That needs to go to a non-repeat, gigging act who are around at the moment.

On which note: Chromeo and Death From Above 1979 are both in town over the weekend, and are both up the Crawl’s street. I’d be particularly excited to see the freshly reunited Death From Above on the bill – I bought You’re A Woman I’m A Machine for a friend’s birthday once, and I’m not sure their ears have yet forgiven me. They can be relentless, but that’s another way of saying demoniacally energetic.

What do people think?