Photos: Bríd O’Donovan
Read Ronnie’s review of Day 2 here
Full Lineup by Curator here
So Camden has crawled to Dublin. The inaugural Camden Crawl Dublin features about 100 bands over two nights in multiple venues around the city. Needless to say there are clashes. There are also a few misgivings before the music gets underway. The scheduling was released just one hour before the first band goes on stage. It’s the same as what happens in Camden, apparently. They say it’s to encourage you to go see bands you might not normally see. But And So I Watch You From Afar and We Are Scientists on the opening night were, by all accounts, jointed. Dam Mantle on the other side of the river, however, had about 10 onlookers – including one photographer – not ours (perish the thought! – ed.) – who climbed up on stage, poked the camera right in Mantle’s face and, with the flash still on, got some up close and personal shots.
The music on the opening night began a little after 6pm on Friday, with Jogging showcasing some new tunes. That the crowd wasn’t just the bar workers makes the Dublin Crawl a success. The three-piece set about making ears ring for the weekend straight away and the sound in the Button Factory is by far the best of the night. Jogging are like a less intricate Adebisi Shank, a band with whom they share a label – Richter Collective – who are curating the lineup at the venue for the night. They shout their way through the new songs on a wave of crashing drums. With a few more people in the crowd, Jogging could make giant strides.
To Whelan’s then and one of the best new Irish bands around. Come On Live Long admit they only have six songs and a couple of EP’s, but the five-piece, just like their music, are infectious and impossible to resist. Armed with ukulele and movie star good looks, they were always going to go down well. ‘Guatemala’ is thrown out early, though the funky bass line is not enough to move the crowd away from the bar (another problem with early gigs). Come On Live Long get on with matters regardless, passing through the gorgeous acoustic sounds of ‘Animals’, one or two new songs and an infectiously happy synth player, before culminating in one of the best songs of the last year, ‘Elephants & Time’. The already massive song is more stomping on the overflowing stage, with the breakdowns and change in tempo still perfect. Come On Live Long set the bar very high, very early. Expect them to only get bigger and better. They also tell of having run a relay marathon in Belfast the previous weekend which went horribly wrong. A lesson to the Dublin Crawl crowd – don’t try to see everything.
Jape is playing The Village next. It’s their first Dublin gig since March, having moved to Sweden. It’s no surprise that the venue – more than one person said they hadn’t been there in seven years and that it had changed, was it trying to pretend it’s Brooklyn? – is packed. Jape, of course, are amazing. With an arsenal of songs that change for almost every gig, the three-piece could entice anybody. But there’s something just a little off about it. The banter’s not there. Richie Egan is an expert at winning the crowd over with the in-between-song chat but it’s not forthcoming. Sound troubles see them get the signal that they have to curtail their set, too. Perhaps that was what was on their mind – it’s not a carefree set, it’s a rushed one. ‘I Was A Man’ and ‘Floating’ still sound as fresh as they did all those years ago, with revamped intros that tingle every bone in the body (what’s the aural version of mouthwatering?). ‘Floating’, in particular, has received a total makeover, with its dancey bits flying far above what was there before. The one new track played, ‘Ribbon’, sounded half completed, with a tambourine substituting for lyrics, it seems. ‘The Oldest Mind’ ensures everybody leaves with a smile on their face – but that’s what always happens at a Jape gig.
There’s a sense of a festival atmosphere around the streets of Dublin, too. Playing a game of spot the crawler is easy; just look out for the programmes slung around necks. A clash between Funeral Suits and Le Galaxie, combined with a bite to eat, meant compromises. Le Galaxie in The Village were always going to be great. Everybody knew it. Funeral Suits, after two years in the process, are gearing up for the release of their debut album at the beginning of June. Despite their pretentiously arty video for ‘All Those Friendly People’, the hype has built sufficiently that the decision is made to catch the end of their set. Sadly, though expected, there’s something disingenuous about them. The floppy haircuts and tiny vests, combined with cringey, almost choreographed moves, would probably fit in perfectly in Camden. But in Whelan’s, not so much. Let’s wait and see if the music can do the talking when the album drops.
Logikparty are headlining The Mercantile. After the first track, drummer Gib does a headcount; there’s that few people here. The venue fills up fast though as they race through their debut album Oh Cult! Confusing people coming through the door by announcing, “Hi, we’re D/R/U/G/S,” their music can be just as confounding. A self-proclaimed post-punk band, they make music perfect for a scary movie. ‘Drop City’ still sounds like something straight out of an episode of Scooby Doo. But from ‘Blonde On Blonde On Blonde’ through ‘Anti-Omerta’ to ‘Telescopic What’, Logikparty show that they know their way around a tune whether it be funky, spooky or in-your-face screaming. Singer Benni, wrapped in her mic cord, moves face to face with the crowd for ‘Anti-Omerta, the single that by rights should be screamed straight back at her in adulation. But there’s a divide between the crowd and band – and not just the massive amount of space between the people down the ‘front’ and the stage. Maybe after winning fans over here – the murmurings were good – the next gig will see the crowd match the energy of the band.
A good first day of the Dublin Crawl. I can’t bear to look at the list of bands I couldn’t get to see, though.