For Summer Camp read: The Best New Band In Britain

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Summer Camp and Slow Club at The Cockpit, Leeds

A dozen and a half years ago in the wake of Melody Maker's declaration that they were "the best new band in Britain" - and armed with a demo tape of four tracks - Suede put in faltering performances not dissimilar to Summer Camp's final gig of their first ever tour.

An initial buzz and curious mystery Summer Camp have played a seven song support slot for the last week that - as with Suede's four tracks - vary between songs that have been stuck to one's turntable for the last three months and things that are new to the ears.

Ghost Train - the first release and first played - suffers fro a sound problem that plagues the night at Leeds' Cockpit venue with Elizabeth Sankey's vocal sounding as if it was amplified through a septic tank and Jeremy Warmsley's guitar and keyboard - as well as the second keyboard which put a lie to the idea that the band are a duo - lost under a thud of bass.

Nervously Sankey looked over an audience who struggled to be impressed but - chink by chink - a quality emerged and once the sound problems were if not solves, then a little sated, killer hooks and smart lyrics started to become clearer and Sankey's front woman persona look shape.

Wearing a kind of all in one and wiggling around the stage Sankey comes over as an amalgamation of big haired eighties pop British songstresses like Dana and something more modern and Transatlantic. She is Karen Over-here and she is good adding a sly smile to the smartness and a twee innocence. On best song Was It Worth It she croons "If we weren't at your parent's house/I'd probably cry" and it sounds honest.

One would never have accused Warmsley of honesty in her previous solo career. Twelve months ago when playing Leeds in support of Blue Roses a lyric from the nerd with guitar offered was "If you break her heart/I'll break your legs" which was patiently untrue as it looks as if the bespectacled singer/songwriter would struggle to break an egg. It lacked honesty, had no authenticity.

Which is not to say that Summer Camp are opening their hearts on stage but they are making something with a created core of truth. The songs are lazy sixties beach bingo tunes with girl group vocals and swooning cynicism that battles a smart flick through of music touchstones. They go gospel for an intro, Sankey bends head back on a never heard before tune Warmsley steps back and plays pseudo-metal licks.

The sound - indeed the band - are the creativity of a scrapbook. Nothing strikes one as massively new but everything is arranged in a unique way. Glued in and scribbled over, highlighted and starred and made into something new.

Perhaps then the between song banter - Sankey's referencing of Alan Partridge's Dan wins me over - and the half shambles of trying to sort out a van back to London while on stage is a part of that scrapbook creativity or maybe - as with Suede - the haphazardness is a band who have risen to prominence faster than they have been able to prepare but showing all the signs that they would make it.

For Summer Camp may have read "Best new band in Britain" and stuck that in the scrapbook too.

Slow Club follow and make an impressive entrance cutting through an augmented and enthusiastic audience as a pair playing acoustic guitars stopping at the front to play a first song in the front row. They storm to the stage but are beset with the sound problems that Summer Camp faced but the problem mire the two piece further to a point where the crowd are forced to hush to hear an electric guitar played without amplification.

"It's been shit tonight," says Rebecca Taylor in her gruff South Yorkshire tones "but you've been good" and the band deserve not a review of a gig that they would hope to forget so hard was it to get through a song without the ring of feedback but credit for battering on through it.

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Permanent link to For Summer Camp read: The Best New Band In Britain

This post is about ,

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to “For Summer Camp read: The Best New Band In Britain”

  1. Billy White Says:

    I loved the gig last night, despite the obvious technical issues, and in fact I barely listened to Slow Club before I heard Summer Camp were supporting them, who, despite only having the one single, I think are ace. Certainly keeping an eye on both of them and their future gigs, and it’s great to see that you’ve given Summer Camp the recognition they so much deserve.

  2. Ian at Early Bath Says:

    Shame about the sound quality at the Slow Club gig. Stumbled across them while they were supporting The Wave Pictures in Bristol and they blew them out of the water. Since bought the EP & the CD and love both.

    I also bumped into them on the top deck of a London bus, but that’s a whole other story.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>