Committing for the Uncommitted

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Blood Oranges, Summer Camp and Frankie & the Heartstrings at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

It is Elizabeth Sankey's birthday and the slimmed down Summer Camp are playing songs from their new ep to a smattering of people in Leeds' Brudenell Social Club. Each track has a vague sound of a brilliance just out of reach and suddenly I am struck by the worry that this will always be the case.

Opening act Blood Oranges do not have this worry. They are a fine but formulaic act. No trees were harmed or pulled up in their performance and that is entertaining but ultimately unengaging. They have an excitement that last for exactly the time they are on stage, no more no less, nothing is out of their reach but their reach is not great.

Likewise main band Frankie and the Heartstrings are a superbly tight band who set out to create a modern spin on fifties rockabilly and - like The Crookes - pull that off. They are a raucous night and good to listen to but what you see with them seems to be what they get.

Summer Camp though promise something iconoclastic. A sly take on pop culture while at the centre of it. The smartness of the kid at school who was sexy because they didn't try to be. They throw out lines of cynical gold. Jake Ryan's "I can't wait to burn your letter" is as good a comment on living through mediated culture as you could hear.

They deserve more, but they have to earn it. Sankey is charming, Jeremy Warmsley a smart partner and to see them commit to being the uncommitted band is almost a tautology but they need to take more care about not caring. It is hard to put the finger on why things do not click live as well as they do on record but undoubtedly the blast of smart brilliance that comes from the speakers is not passed over live, or has not been so far.

As a band they have a lazy way - new song Veronica Sawyer is dreamily sublime - but as much as the band deserve all the plaudits for what they do they need to make sure that what they have in hand does not drift away.

That Summer Camp is more than just one good season for eight sunny week.

Written By Michael Wood Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

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