London looks elegantly messy on an early summer Friday evening. Buzzy streets and crowds outside pubs are the natural landscape whilst I make it to Camden after a boring day in the office. Camden Assembly‘s stage is tiny, and the venue is cosy enough to make me feel like I am in the right place for some good live music. Needless to say, I am quite looking forward to seeing the artists on the bill.
Starting from Alessandro Ciminata, is the main reason why I rush to get to the venue very early. When the Italian singer-songwriter climbs the stage and takes up his guitar, the venue is still silent and not that crowded. His two recent singles, ‘Last Call’ and ‘Demons’ catch my attention instantly when played live, bringing to my years a thin wave of melancholia, drenched in synth riffs and catchy, velvety vocals. Alessandro is the proper expression of DIY, in the studio as well as on a stage, where he looks after synths and guitar almost simultaneously: it’s a difficult work that takes great skill.
Shortly after his batch of songs, it’s the turn of Blackburn-based Violet Youth. Here is the thing, I had listened to their early production on Soundcloud and literally fell for their latest offering, ‘Lucid Dreams’: they sound powerful on record, even noisier on stage. The four-piece is comprised of extremely talented young lads who play a quite peculiar indie rock that draws comparisons to some fuzzy shoegaze from the ’80s. Charlie, the lead guitarist, plays in a beautiful way that makes me stare at the stage thinking about Cocteau Twins, Ride and Slowdive all together. Frontman Owen, on the other hand, is a young portrait of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s Jim Reid. Violet Youth end up playing a good half an hour of anthemic distorted indie rock. I’m impressed and definitely looking forward to seeing them live again.
When it’s time for Bonfire Nights it’s still unusually early and Camden Assembly is not crowded as I expected it to be. I don’t know much about the London-based psych-surf outfit and after a great first part of the night, I feel already pleased enough. Bonfire’s guitars are loud and the band plays most of ‘Entopica Phenomica’, the debut album released last October on Holy Beatnik Records. Their sound is an enjoyable concentrate of stoner guitars and keys, and – although they might not be my cup of tea – I recognise they are all very skilled musicians.
When the set ends, I don’t even have the time to get to the nearest tube station that I find myself suddenly engulfed in London’s nightlife. Well, it’s Friday after all.