When I spoke to Summer Camp in interview a few weeks ago, they felt they had become a lot better over the course of their first festival circuit, cutting their teeth on ever increasing crowds. As they confidently perform to a handsomely attended Brudenell Social Club early in their first ever UK tour, it’s difficult to disagree with them.
They open with a truncated verse and chorus of Why Don’t You Stay? before suddenly bursting into EP highlight Was It Worth It?, proving that even at this early stage in their career they’re far from resting on any laurels. Already, the duo are finding ways to re-imagine the fruits of their short history, and this is particularly admirable considering they could still quite reasonably be touring the same old set without raising many eyebrows (a fair amount of people must be seeing the band for the first time on this tour, I would presume).
Everything about this band is a little sassier, and a little more strident than just a few months ago. Throughout the set, the duo fall more comfortably into their harmonies, Jeremy is a little more inclined towards following flights of fancy on guitar (especially on a particularly rocking rendition of ‘Jake Ryan’), and Elizabeth enters into confident banter with hecklers. Most importantly of all, every single song on offer - even the new material (especially the new material, in fact) shines with an effortlessly well-polished gleam.
However, something less encouraging happened to Summer Camp over the course of their first festival circuit: they cast off a full backing band. Instead, the band now performs as a much trimmer two piece comprising of vocals, one guitar and a backing track. Unsurprisingly, the band sounded much more full-bodied with a live rhythm section underpinning their songs, and this regression to a backing track makes the music sound slightly canned and unfulfilling at times. It’s always a drag to fill a review with talk of what one thinks a band should be doing rather than what they’re actually doing, but - since they’ve dangled that particular carrot in the past - you can’t help but look at the abandoned drum kit at the back of the stage and wonder: why is nobody sat there?
Putting this superficial gripe aside, Summer Camp emphatically deliver the goods tonight. For a debut clutch of tracks, these songs are remarkably well formed and the hype coming at these two from all corners is justified. On their first UK tour, Summer Camp continue to soar through an upward trajectory which - judging by the dazzling new jams given an airing tonight - shows no signs of hitting a plateau any stime soon.