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Last Updated: Monday, 21 April 2008, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Camden Crawl Highlights
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

It's 9pm on Friday evening in a freezing cold Camden and its a toss up between Swedish pop ice maiden Lykke Li, or Londoner Natty. Weather issues aside, this is always the worst part of going to any music festival. The great bands always seem to be on stage at the same time.

Camden Crawl 2008

Now in its seventh year, artists like Kate Nash, Supergrass, Calvin Harris and The Maccabes have all played Camden Crawl at some time or another.

This year's event featured 130 bands, a mix of the well known and soon-to-be, playing 25 venues around the popular north London tourist attraction.

Lucy's weird world

Friday night started early at a reasonably busy Oh bar on Camden High street and a glimpse into the weird and wacky world of Lucy And The Caterpillar.

The Caterpillar in question is actually the name of a guitar, owned and strummed by 20 year old Mancunian Lucy Conroy.

Lucy and the Caterpillar
The lovely Lucy and the Caterpillar
In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting animals and performs on stage with a stuffed owl called Olivia.

With unusual song titles like Beans on Toast and Bumblebee, there have been inevitable comparisons with Regina Spektor.

And she performs in a pair of mini cats ears, complete with drawn on nose and whiskers.

She said: "My music is kind of cute and fluffy. I like writing about happy things so i just thought I would tell everyone about my days."

Cute and fluffy she is, but backed by a new band, it is also a confident performance in front of a crowd which grows throughout her half hour set.

Girl With One Eye

Next, it is down to The Crescent to catch up with one of the highlights of last month's SXSW festival in Texas. Florence And the Machine, aka, singer Florence Welch.

She ended that show soaking wet after jumping headlong into a paddling pool.

She said: "The first thing they said to me when I got out that pool was, 'Do you know that pool's got rabies in it?'.

Florence and the Machine
Florence and the Machine
"I was running around screaming I had rabies and they were like, 'Do you realise you almost got electrocuted?', and I was like, 'Never mind that, I've got rabies!"

Welch is managed by Mairead Nash of Queens of Noize fame, so it is no surprise that she is already a darling of the scenester set.

Her on stage performance is electrifying, part bruised 50s club singer, part punk/rockabilly, part working mens' club comedienne.

The set features songs like Kiss With A Fist, about an abusive relationship, and Girl With 1 Eye, about relieving a love rival of one of her eyeballs.

Of the debut album, she said: "It's going to be weird because a lot of the songs, people love but they're really, really old.

"It's strange looking back at them 'cause I'm like, 'Why am I 16 years old and writing songs about beaten up housewives?"

She's obviously doing something right though, as Florence and The Machine are about to head on tour with MGMT.

Raw and intimate

Electro pop artist Lykke Li is being heavily tipped for a big 2008.

Perhaps that is why it was such a tight squeeze to even get into her gig at the Black Cap.

The 22 year old Swede was raised by her photographer mum and musician dad and lived in Portugal with winters in Nepal and India.

She claims to be influenced by African music and Nina Simone ("although nobody can hear that")

Lykke Li
Lykke Li strikes a pose at Camden's Lock 17
She said: "My music is eclectic and raw, quite intimate."

Her debut album, Youth Novels is about to be released in the UK on 3 June.

She said: "It's young, it's old, it's moody sometimes, its crazy, it's not crazy.

"It's everything I have at the moment."

The first single, I'm Good, I'm Gone features some pretty hefty ladies in the video.

She said: "It's got female body builders. They gave me some tips on working out, like to just eat eggs and fish and chicken all day, so I might start!"

Skins appearance

Its around 10pm and the queues around Camden are beginning to grow as people try and catch the headline sets of the evening. It is a toss up between artists like The Fratellis and One Night Only.

But a huge queue outside the Purple Turtle looks interesting. Tempers are frayed as hundreds try and find some space to see another of the weekend's hot tickets, Crystal Castles.

They're the band currently enjoying the Skins effect, after being featured in a party scene in the latest series of the teen drama.

Last year Foals played a secret party in connection with the show.

Crystal Castles are a boy-girl combo made up of Alice Glass and Ethan Kath, formed in Toronto in 2004.

Their debut album is yet to come out but they capture the crowd from the get go, mixing classic hard house beats with the trashy electronica of Aphex Twin and shades of The Chemical Brothers.

Glass' vocals range from rough throated punk to breathy seduction and with an almost constant strobe effect, the crowded dancefloor is not a place for the faint hearted.

Elsewhere over the weekend, Sam Sparro played his debut UK show, Gnarls Barkley's Danger Mouse was spotted watching The Shortwave Set and The Wombats closed the weekend at Koko.



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