Summer Camp consist of the lovely Elizabeth Sankey and the incredibly talented Jeremy Warmsley. I have been a fan of this duo since they unveiled themselves at Owl Parliament at the Union Chapel in 2010. This was the first Summer Camp headline tour I had witnessed (yes I did attend the joint headline with Frankie & The Heartstrings back in 2010). I was planning on attending this gig from the moment it was announced. When I heard it had sold out I trawled the internet to try and find somewhere that was selling them. A friend of mine purchased a ticket to The Portland Arms, Cambridge date after having seen that tickets for Scala were no longer available. I then had a slice of luck as Scala tickets were still listed on Stargreen. From that very moment I snapped one up straight away. Even though I prefer the intimate gigs this one was slightly special as it was the biggest headline show for them. The set that they played consisted of material from the début album Welcome To Condale as well as some brand new tracks. Doors didn’t open till 7.30pm and Summer Camp didn’t take to the stage until 9.30pm. The warm up band were Fixers. There has been a buzz about this group and they are also headlining their own show at the Scala.
The lights then went off and intro music was played. Once Sankey, Warmsley and their drummer William took to the stage they then got stuck into the title track from their début album. Welcome To Condale was a rather impressive choice of song to open with. I rather liked the chant of “I’m coming home”. Elizabeth took to the reins for this song and her vocal range is stunning. The thing I liked about this song was the fact that it painted the picture of Condale. “Well, well, well. How you all doing? This is absolutely amazing. I’m really overwhelmed, I don’t know what to say. It’s my birthday, but it’s not” Sankey said before someone shouted out Happy Birthday. “It’s not my birthday, I just said that. You should pay attention” was the response back. Jeremy then gave a shout out to Sophie Adams whose birthday it was.
The song which followed was Last American Virgin. This song had a hip hop vibe and an extraordinary whistling intro. The upbeat melody actually went perfectly with the old film clips which were being projected onto the backdrop. It was then onto Nobody Knows You. At the start it was very synthy and I loved the narrative to this song. This was far from cheery as the lyrics were slightly depressing. Round The Moon was infused to the end of Nobody Knows You. Jeremy takes lead vocals for this song and Elizabeth provides the harmonies. Even though this didn’t appear on Welcome To Condale it has killer lyrics which were very sleek. It was then onto Down (this song was released as an exclusive 7” vinyl through Rise Records last year). Both Sankey and Warmsley both took to the vocals for this Power Pop song. Down sounded luscious at the same time. “We want to say thankyou so much to everyone for coming out to see us tonight. I don’t think we ever thought we started playing music together that we ever play a show to so many people” Jeremy then said to the sold out crowd. “We’ve been waiting for this. We’ve been touring the UK, the UK’s great but London’s home” Elizabeth went onto add before pointing out that her family was in the audience. Done Forever was the next on the night and yet again it was very synthy as Jeremy was playing the keyboard. Sankey took the lead for this strong song and her vocal range sent chills up my spine. Brand new song Hunt followed on and this was completely different to anything from Welcome To Condale. This song was upbeat and had wonderful verses. I look forward to hearing the studio recording for this song. Elizabeth sang this song and there is nothing stopping her. Anything she sings sounds amazing. This song went down well with the crowd. The song Summer Camp was the next. This was rather chilled out and infectious as well. Elizabeth’s vocals were so entrancing and other than the verses I loved its chorus. “We got a new release coming out soon. So that’s why we’re playing new songs. So if there rubbish just don’t tell us. I don’t think my ego could take it and I know Jeremy’s couldn’t” Sankey said joking to the crowd. What followed (Give Me) Life. Well they can’t decided on that or Life. I rather liked this song it started at a steady pace but as soon as the drums came in it gained more oomph. From how brilliant this song was I look forward to hearing the rest of the new material which will feature on this release. “We’re going to play a super quiet song now. If you see somebody maybe talking about something next to you just kind of glare at them until they glare back at you or chin you” Warmsley then asked the crowd. What followed was an unplugged version of Losing My Mind. This was simply incredible and hilarious. This acoustic version showcased their stunning vocals. I was captivated and mesmerised from the very start. What made this performance hilarious was the fact both Elizabeth and Jeremy came into the crowd. Sankey sang to a couple of people in the crowd. Honestly words can’t describe how amazing this was. Both sets of vocals were tremendous and they were so powerful everyone in the Scala could hear them perfectly. Once over everyone erupted into plenty of applause. Once Elizabeth was back on the stage it was then onto the first single by them and this being Ghost Train. This song is bubblegum pop which is contagious and had killer hooks. You felt extremely tempted to sing along. Better Off Without You was a powerful force which oozed plenty of energy. The evening ended with the fantastic I Want You. Nothing faults Sankey’s vocal performance. Excellent song to end an amazing night. Only that wasn’t the end. Elizabeth, Jeremy and William then returned for something truly incredible and this being their own take on Christine McVie’s Everywhere. The fact it was again delivered unplugged gave me goosebumps. Straight after it was then onto Brian Krakow and Warmsley stepped up to take the lead for this song.
Welcome To Condale
Last American Virgin
Nobody Knows You
Round The Moon
Losing My Mind
Better Off Without You
I Want You
OVERALL: This was a fantastic performance by Summer Camp. Even though my eyes were on them, I did find myself drawn to the film clips which were being shown on the back drop. These being clips from the likes of Mary Poppins, Jailhouse Rock, Pretty In Pink and Teen Wolf. Elizabeth is adorable and Jeremy is extremely talented. With the both combined they have created a band who will have a long prosperous career in the Music Industry. The majority of songs sung were taken from the début album Welcome To Condale and they each sounded stunning witnessing them in a live environment. This album was funded through PledgeMusic and what I most like is the fact they have created the fictional town of Condale which resulted in each song having a narrative. As for the new songs they were superb it makes me anticipate the new release even more.
Once the evening had drawn to a close both Sankey and Warmsley came out into the bar area to sign items, have photos taken and to sell merchandise. I found this rather nice as artists very rarely come out after having played live for an hour. I count down the days until I next see this band again.