As day progresses into evening so things begin to get a little rowdier at the Camden Barfly. Kill It Kid may have been nominated by Xfm listeners as one of the debut albums of 2009, alongside the likes of The XX and La Roux, but as the band wryly observe today “La Roux couldn’t make it.” Quite what Elly Jackson would have made of the primitive, kick you in the gut, raw-deep bluesy growl that Kill It Kid make would be anyone’s guess. Their brutal powerful sound is a hard satisfying shag against the mainstream, the mix of fiddles, guitars, keys and drums giving two fingers up to those (like us) who argue that pop music can be as forceful and exciting as so called ‘real music’. For half an hour we are proven very wrong. Delta-blues shafted us big time. And even though we’re bleeding, and understand why our veins look blue, we’re pleading for more.
In the same way that our paths keep crossing with Tinashe (see part 1), likewise with Goldheart Assembly, who have also journeyed the couple of miles from Notting Hill to Camden (see previous gig review here). Although Goldheart Assembly may produce bearded muso perfection, today a wrong chord leads the band to announce “That was the bit that sounded shit – well shitter.”
They may be well-mannered and almost stuttering polite, but Stornoway (pictured) play perfect acoustic pop. As we’ve said before in previous blogs there are hints of James in the vocal and the gentleness of Belle and Sebastian circa If You’re Feeling Sinister in the melodies. It’s not all fey and nice though - Coldharbour Road has a boldness to it that raises hairs on the back of the neck with its hostile drumming and fiddle. Then there’s the barbershop harmonies of Zorbing, a pop song that seems to effortlessly capture the first flushes of romance in a very real way. It is absolutely spot on. Lead singer Brian still stares resolutely straight ahead when he plays, but this just adds to the bands charm. Who can resist the allure of a band that between songs tell you how the first escalator was installed on the London Underground in 1911 and finish with a tale of Iranian honey finger sucking women. Wonderful.
Having already received Goldheart Assembly, those who have been enjoying the all day drinking a little too much may be a bit confused by Goldhawks name, thinking this is the second time for the band on stage. Differentiations can easily be made though as Goldhawks plough into a series of masculine guitar riffs and fists in the air stadium-lite anthems. It’s the nadir of formulaic, familiar and dull rock music. Predictably a good percentage of the audience love it.
The programming of the running order at the Xfm All Dayer seems designed to contrast. After the anonymously dire Goldhawks, Django Django at least offer something a little different with their pastel short sleeved suits and spacey oddness, even if their slightly curveball approach to making music doesn’t always work. Surf guitar, Beta Band styled druggy percussion and vocals combine with sixties underground musical styling to position Django Django out there in the experimental art-pop world. Maybe their sound is a bit too trippy for this time of night, and lacks any emotional core, but we’d take this over Goldhawks any day.
Then we’re nearly done. Eleven bands in one room in one day. There’s no big Band Aid style finale for the occupants of the Barfly to enjoy. It would probably be a bit too much anyway, as a good percentage of the crowd are looking a little frazzled. A hard days drinking has to take its toll at some point. So all credit to We Have Band for finishing those who can still take it off. Their shamanic percussive drive and mix of electro and rock influences brings on the last dance, the robotic groove of Honeytrap being a fitting end to what has been a gratifying musical marathon.