Punk ‘n’ Roll RendezVous is a regular night of underground punk, garage, grunge and rock at The Unicorn in Camden that has been put on by Nina and Phil from the band Healthy Junkies for six years now. Last year they celebrated their fifth anniversary with a free three-day festival at the venue that has been their home for all that time. This year they did it again, with a stellar line-up of bands from around the country. These are not, and probably never will be, household names, but are well known on the indie/underground circuit, and can put on performances to match anything you could be paying serious money to see.
For the first night of the event on Friday 29 June, there was only one performer I wanted to see and that was Australian singer-guitarist Suzie Stapleton. I’d seen her and her band for the first time a couple of months earlier and was blown away by her performance. Imagine the melancholy of Nick Cave mixed with the power and the passion of Patti Smith, and the guitar chops of Gareth Liddiard (from legendary Australian band The Drones), but with Suzie’s own original voice. That’s how good she is. Suzie was performing a solo set, but it was no less powerful for the lack of her band. And no disrespect to the other bands on the bill that night, but Suzie was going to be a hard act to follow. And there was a long day ahead with Saturday’s fantastic line up.
Before Suzie’s set, Paul-Ronney Angel (the frontman of The Urban Voodoo Machine) played an acoustic set that was a perfect complement, with its flavour of New Orleans blues.