LIVE: Nightmare Festival, Camden 01/11/14
From the same people that put on the hugely successful Camden Rocks Festival, Nightmare Festival saw more than 140 bands playing across 13 venues around Camden. We sent Dan Stent and Tom Mimnagh to check it out, and here are their top 5 picks from the festival.
Closing out the day at the Black Cap were Huddersfield groove-punkers Mr Shiraz. With comparisons made to the likes of Faith No More, The Bronx and Rage Against The Machine, Mr Shiraz certainly had a lot to live up to and boy did they deliver.
With a set including the Pure Rawk Award winning No Prophecy, their show was a whirlwind of energy. Lead singer Mikey Shiraz has a brilliant voice and his banter in between songs was hilarious – he certainly knows how to work a crowd. Mr Shiraz are destined for big things. (DS)
The band formerly known as Chickenhawk, Hawk Eyes have been on something of a break from the UK scene as of late. After their stellar 2012 album Ideas, and a few smaller scale EP releases ,there seemingly hasn’t been much on the horizon for fans of the Leeds based group. However, they have just launched their new pledge campaign for their third full studio album, Everything is Fine.
The band have a certain metronomic quality to their music, which often makes the complicated breakdowns and intricate guitar parts seem like a scientific process, which helps to yield a very unique sound. Some of my personal highlights from their set include, This Is What That Was And That’s What This Is, I Hate This, Do You Like It?, Headstrung, Kiss This, and of course the always blistering Witch Hunt.
Hawk Eyes are a band who have a very tight sound, and a great on-stage chemistry with each other, managing to create catchy hooks and choruses without having to sacrifice the heavier elements of their music, which they demonstrated at Nightmare with aplomb. A great live act and a band who will only continue to get better. (TM)
Max Raptor took to the stage at the slightly peculiar time of 5pm, considering their reputation as one of the UK’s best young rock acts. Irrespective of the early billing, they put in a corking performance. With a set list full of crowd favourites including Back of a Barrel Wave, England Breathes and The King is Dead, The Underworld soon filled out.
Their brand of big riffs and socially aware lyrics really got the crowd fired up. It’s clear to see why Max Raptor were recently awarded the title ‘craziest mosh pit of Sonisphere 2014’, as within the space of one song, Singer Wil Ray organised a giant circle pit and a wall of death.
With the promise of new material on the horizon and an incendiary live show, Max Raptor are certainly one to watch. (DS)
The St Pierre Snake Invasion
One of the unexpected highlights of the Camden Rocks festival earlier this year, the St Pierre Snake Invasion were one of the bands I had most anticipated as part of Nightmare festival. Happily, they excelled themselves, possibly even topping their previous performance.
Frontman Damien is the lifeblood of the band, throwing Jagger-esque shapes and spewing out vicious lyrics with gusto. The band behind him certainly deserve a slice of the credit too, with guitarists Zsack and Patrick providing crushing riffs, and the rhythm section of Mark and Sam providing a solid base to contain the wild and furiously chaotic goings on in front of them
The band had the Camden crowd in the palm of their hands the whole set, and despite the cosy, intimate venue, it was jumping throughout. In particular, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Talbot, Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n Roll Workshops, Last Words of a Bent Cop, and of course If The Only Way is Essex, You Can Kill Me Now elicited a huge reaction from the assembled mass of humanity. Easily one of the best bands making waves on the independent scene, and for good reason. (TM)
Knifeworld are like some kind of 8-headed celestial being, clawing back the clouds and picking you up for a psychedelic journey into the cosmos. Their music is deep, complex and intense, though they still maintain a certain pop sensibility.
From epic set opener Don’t Land On Me and the crunchy riffage of The Wretched Fathoms to the 90 second trip The Orphanage, frontman Kavus Torabi’s (of Monsoon Bassoon, Guapo and Cardiacs fame) wide-eyed, impassioned performance is the perfect foil to co-vocalist Mel Woods (Sidi Bou Said) with her calm, understated vocals. Torabi is flanked on the other side by a three piece wind section who likewise put on a tremendous show. The sprawling Send Him Seaworthy proves another highlight with the bassoon work of Chloe Herington (Chrome Hoof) hauntingly beautiful.
Knifeworld’s brand of exploratory, atmospheric, sometimes nightmarish psychedelia works fantastically on record, and I’m pleased to report their live show is just as good. Roll on their upcoming gig in Brighton. (DS)
Another day, another bunch of great band recommendations from us here at Pure Rawk, you lucky, lucky people. Miss them at your peril!