Tag: Camden

The Barfly, Camden

Life seems to have dealt Mikel Jollett a fairly tough hand each time he decides to put an album out. Before the release of their first self-titled album The Airborne Toxic Event front man had a string of tragedies including a break up and the diagnosis of some pretty serious illnesses. Now with the release of All At Once (which was released on April 25th) he is dealing with 4 family bereavements and the breakdown of another relationship. This however only seems to spur on a heartfelt and intense performance in an intimate and slightly sweaty setting. The Los Angeles based band has embarked on a string of shows throughout London that represent their history in the city. Staring at the home of their first UK appearance The Dublin Castle, their shows take them to Kings Collage Student Union, Koko and here, The Barfly. It's clear that the audience are of the more hardcore fan variety, as moving is seriously impeded by the amount of flesh crammed into the tiny upstairs room and every word that leave Mikel's lips, is mirrored with as much enthusiasm from the crowd as it drips from the stage.

Their set comprises as much new material as crowd pleasers from their first album, second up is Gasoline and an introduction from Jollett describing them as Camden's house band, which to be fair, for this week they pretty much are. Welcome To Your Wedding Day and Numb are hints that there's a good chance All At Once will avoid the difficult second album curse, but with sure fired hits like Sometime Around Midnight to contend with, this could be harder than expected. The band finish with a combination of Missy broken in two by half, a cover of Panic by The Smiths and leave a warm first floor room in Camden satisfied that, despite recent tragedies, the future looks good for Mikel Jollett and The Airborne Toxic Event.

Words: Ben Welling


When Who’s Jack arrived at The Camden Barfly on Tuesday night we were greeted by a massive line of teenagers and fitted caps that stretched far into the distance. All were there in the hope of catching one of Ed Sheeran’s free showcase shows and it looked like they had been there for hours.

After battling our way upstairs into the Barfly’s tiny 200 capacity live room we discovered a sea of bodies, arms, cameras and phones, recording Ed’s every move and singing along to every line. And he didn’t disappoint in the slightest.

In such an intimate setting Ed didn't even sing into the mic for some of it and relied on the intimacy of the gig and fervour of his followers to further fill the room, which was hard considering the amount of people already there.

As the lights swept out into the audience, gleaming through Ed’s bronze locks, his avid audience sang back to him his more well-known tunes, such as A-Team and of course, U Need Me. He also performed a new song from his upcoming album, a glaringly honest and beautiful ode to an unborn child and the amazing acapella cover of Wayfaring Stranger from the current EP.

Throughout the show, Ed looked genuinely happy and almost surprised at the amount of love and people he was getting through the door of The Barfly. He kept up a bright rapport throughout the set, giving background to some of the songs he was playing (although it seemed pointless given everyone there probably knew more Ed Sheeran than he does). He even exclusively revealed that A-Team will be his first single proper and coming out in June.

As the last witty line of U Need Me closed his short set, the ground quite literally shook from the audience appreciation but really the best was yet to come as Ed bravely ventured into the crowd and stood in the middle, playing an acoustic version of Make You Feel My Love, before being whipped out of there like Barack Obama caught in a major security threat.

We were cleared out so Ed could prepare for his next show, as in response to the turnout to see him, he was now playing a string of short shows one after another. It’s clear from this unselfish act and Ed’s apparent bewilderment at the response he was getting, that this is someone taken aback by actually how well received they are. This is going to have be something to get used to and fast, as Ed Sheeran’s career launches itself into the mainstream. Although, as the night wore on, it seems like it already has.

There were times when it felt like being caught up in the heyday of Take That/boyband fever, especially when the bar staff had to barricade us in The Barfly and call the police and ambulance service due to the sheer amount of people still waiting to get in and see Ed perform at 10.30.

It really is a case of when and not if, Ed Sheeran becomes the biggest thing in British music.



“We're an Art Brut tribute band. I'm Neddie Nargos” claimed Art Brut front man Eddie Argos somewhat unconvincingly as he took to the stage for an intimate secret gig at Camden's Enterprise pub.

Playing under the not-too-hard-to-decipher “We Formed A Band” (the title of the band's first single) the London five piece were back in town to debut material from their forthcoming album Brilliant! Tragic!

Fans were obviously keen to get a sneak listen of Art Brut's fourth studio release; despite the show being announced only few days before via the band's twitter feed, there was still a queue to get into the 100 capacity venue two songs into the set.

After getting the gig off to a rocking start with punchy renditions of early hits Formed A Band and My Little Brother, the art rockers were ready to unleash some new songs. If they were nervous there was no need to be – new offerings such as I Am the Psychic and Martin Kemp Welch Five-a-Side Football Rules (not, Eddie was keen to point out, about Spandau Ballet), have the catchy lyrics and sing-a-long choruses that Art Brut are known and loved for and soon had the crowd dancing like madmen. Unprofessional Wrestling - “ a song about clumsy sex!” - returned to a favoured topic for the famously confessional Argos, and happily stood alongside the band's better known hits.

It wasn't all new material – rewarded for their patience with the new and untested tracks, fans were treated to favourites from across Art Brut's back catalogue including lively performances of Direct Hit and their 2005 single Emily Kane, updated with a new real-life happy ending.

The highlight of the night, however, was undoubtedly a ten minute long stream-of-conciousness version of Modern Art, which at one point saw Eddie crouched down in the middle of the audience, recounting a fantastical tale of a visit to an art gallery where he had a premonition of the gig (“I saw your face, and I saw your face...I didn't see your face, you weren't there”), before scrambling back on stage just in time for the chorus to kick in and the dancefloor to turn into heaving, sweaty mosh pit.

After they left the stage, the tiny room quickly emptied, which was unfortunate for the next two bands on the bill, but certainly a good sign for the success of Art Brut's future endeavours.