Tribes video shoot for We Were Children, Camden Lock rooftop, 3 April 2011

On Sunday morning, all rumours circulating the internet about when and where Tribes were going to be shooting the video for their next single, We Were Children, had been mysteriously taken down.

They said 2pm sharp, on a Camden Lock rooftop. Come 2.30, the band can be seen setting up above a London souvenir shop as men with cameras take up position across the street.

Everything is kept tightly under wraps. “What’s happening up there?” asks a shopkeeper of one of the cameramen. “Something… something is going to happen,” is the response.

Finally, at about ten to three, something does indeed happen. A banner is thrown over the balcony saying ‘TRIBES’ and the opening notes of We Were Children ring out across Camden High Street.

Immediately the bustling tourists stop, look up and take out their camera phones. It’s a pick-pocketer’s paradise. People look at each other and laugh at the unusual situation they find themselves in. Children are hoisted onto shoulders to get a better look.

Tribes are loving it: they play with big grins on their faces, chuffed that the idea is coming off.

Soon the crowd is so huge it blocks the road, grinding the already slow-moving traffic to a standstill.

The end of the track is met with a huge cheer as frontman Johnny Lloyd greets the crowd. “This is a video shoot,” he says, “so we’re gonna have to play the same song a couple of times.”

And with that, several people leave. They’ve seen the spectacle – now back to shopping.

At the same time more people arrive, intrigued and excited. With no sign of the road clearing, a trapped driver slams his hand on the horn and keeps it there until people shift. The drone rings out over half of the song.

By the third virtually identical play-through of We Were Children many people have lost interest.

Others, meanwhile, go overboard. One particularly enthusiastic fan, covered in tribal face paint, cheers and throws himself around in the middle of the pavement in a bid to guarantee himself a spot in the video.

And then it’s over, just as suddenly as it began. A huge cheer lets out before the crowd disperses and traffic gradually begins to flow again. People leave singing the song, probably with the intention of hunting more of Tribes’ music down.

Whether new fans were won remains to be seen. If only Tribes had taken the opportunity to play a few more songs, an even bigger audience might have been held. Internet rumours have it they were scared they’d get in trouble with the authorities.


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