Still going strong
Clearly at an event like Camden Crawl the draw of seeing Ash on the verge of releasing an eagerly awaited new album and checking out how the band functions as a three-piece is going to be very tempting for the majority, and the size of the queue to get into the Electric Ballroom was proof of this. However having caught them on their recent University tour covering it for Room Thirteen, and with the prospect of seeing them again come the Carling Weekend, the chance to see a classic act like The Damned doesn't come round quite as often unless you check them out on one of their own tours so it was off to Koko for the other Thursday night headline slot.
Given the influence punk has had on so many new and current bands, whether traditionally punk or simply inspired by it, The Damned seemed a fitting if somewhat surprising inclusion on the line up for what is fundamentally a new music festival, not least as there doesn't seem to be anything fresh from The Damned on the horizon. As they can be credited with releasing the first official punk single in the UK in the form of 'New Rose', if you're going to have a classic act on the bill you may as well go with one of such importance. Disappointingly 'New Rose' didn't make it into the setlist on this occasion, however there was more than enough from the raw punk part of their back catalogue for that not to be too great a loss.
It's fair to say that Koko wasn't packed out although down the front the crowd was as energetic and enthusiastic as you might expect with attempts at crowd surfing, some more successful than others, but there certainly wasn't the kind of road block the Charlatans would bring with them for the same venue 24 hours later. It's difficult to say how many people were there as proper Damned fans and how many decided to give them a look out of curiosity. Those who weren't so familiar with them probably knew them as a classic punk band and their traditional mellow section part way through the set didn't seem to generate the same excitement as the more explosive tracks.
With The Damned set to headline the Bulldog Bash this summer as well as often hitting the road for their own tours there's clearly no let up in the demand to see them. Whether they will have gained any new fans from playing the Camden Crawl is hard to say, unlike many of the acts on over the two days, this didn't need to be a promotional exercise as the nostalgia market should keep them in their van for a number of years yet.