Summer Camp – Belgrave Music Hall (3/5)
Summer Camp is a married couple from London who compose mellow lo-fi indie-pop with a hint of retro bits from the 1980s attached to it. They seem to be in love not only with each other but with everything Californian as well: Summer Camp’s first offering ‘Welcome to Condale’ is set in a non-existent town situated at the renowned coast. Moreover, their live gigs are accompanied by random dance scenes of Hollywood heritage projected onto a screen.
A lot has changed since I last saw the band two years ago. Loose variegated jumpers, bright printed shirts and overall DIY approach are now substituted by smart appearance of elegant outfits and stylish microphone stands wrapped in christmas lights. The show is opened by a rather lengthy, almost blisswave-like ‘The End’ as the venue is getting filled with dreamy sound waves combined with Elizabeth Sankey’s high pitched mesmerising voice. This is followed by a considerably more rhythmic ‘Down’ and sets a different danceable careless mood for the rest of the night with catchy and high-grade however frankly blank indie-pop songs such as ‘Fresh’ and ‘Ghost Train’, which indeed could be sung at a prom night somewhere in the fictional town of Condale. Consequently, the performance turns into one forgettable piece of steadily paced new wave, slightly surf-pop-esuqe numbers.
“I ate three slices of pizza. That shit is heavy!” declares the duo’s multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Warmsley and this rather insignificant event makes many faces among the crowd smile widely. The listeners are definitely having a good time, especially a group of teenagers dancing awkwardly just before the stage. Due to not seeking sheer depth in their music and focusing upon polishing their already established plain and breezy style, Summer Camp succeed to appeal to a wider audience. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Editors – O2 Leeds (3/5)
The Editors greet a sold-out 02 arena with an operatic entrance and the anthemic beat of ‘Formaldehyde’. Musically, the band is neat, with Tom Smith’s vocals holding up well on stage. ‘Sugar’ demonstrates Editors latest album, The Weight of Your Love, at it’s best, with the gritty bass line rumbling through the arena. ‘Smoker’s outside Hospital Doors’ receives an enthusiastic reception as do a mid-set cluster of tracks from their debut album The Back Room,which serve to remind us of the band’s talent as songwriters.
However, Editors display a pervading sense of apathy to the performance and the enthusiastic, eager crowd receive little response from the band. Smith’s theatrical poses are plainly rehearsed and fail to make up for the general lack of showmanship from the band as a whole. The songs are played accurately but with little character and despite Smith affirming, ‘you’re Leeds’ to the crowd, the show left me with the certainty that the performance would have been no different even if we had been Tokyo.
With the exception of encore track ‘Nothing’, which hears Smith at his most convincing, crying out, ‘I’ve got nothing left’, the band play their songs with a distinct lack of feeling, and I can’t help but feel that there may be some truth in this irony.
Gold Panda – Stylus (3/5)
Standing through Gold Panda’s performance felt like being stuck in glitch-hop purgatory. With nothing to differentiate one song from the next except the small pause which came around every twenty minutes, you felt as if you had been listening to the same song for an hour but still left unsure due to those slight variations on exactly the same sounds. This is not a reflection of Gold Panda’s music; his second album is interesting and well formed on the foundations of his first, with music that is meant for listening to on a grand scale. However, his live performance provided nothing that you couldn’t have gained at home with a good pair of speakers and his album. Squashed into Stylus like sardines in a tin, the crowd bobbed along in rhythm to kick drums, snares and an array of distorted sounds whilst Panda shuffled about at the front looking slightly uncomfortable. The only time the crowd really got moving was to his seminal piece, you, from his first album. At the first sound of the song everyone gave a large whoop and Panda started to move, gaining the energy you would have hoped for from the whole performance. The song easily made itself stand out from the rest of his material, being suitably variant for the album version to make its live recital memorable. The rest of the show was an array of similar sounding samples with layer after layer of supplements added with the drum pad. Although, somewhat boring in its lack of variation, the music was far from terrible. One couldn’t help be impressed at first with his layering of sounds, and the whole thing was easily listenable to, perhaps too easy listening. Unfortunately, this is a tale I have heard too many times for Gold Panda.