Live Review: Summer Camp, The Bodega (4/10/15)

English, married, electro-pop duo Summer Camp arrived at The Bodega on Sunday night, ready to promote their latest full length release Bad Love.  

It’s not difficult to see why Summer Camp chose Willie J Healey for the support on their autumn run of shows. Kicking off the proceedings for the final leg of the tour, Will Healey and co bring their hazy brand of slacker surf-rock to the eager ears of Nottingham’s favourite small venue. Melding woozy guitar solos with crooning vocals, tales of love, loss and the suburbs sit atop a tight quartet.

Fluid onstage chat is met positively by an eclectic audience: one man even proclaims, “He’s good this guy, better than that chap we saw supporting Morrissey.” The set winds through songs old and new, including the Parquet Courts-esque ‘Subterraneans’ and a newer one, ‘Greys’, resplendent in staccato guitar stabs and chanting harmonies. Headline shows will inevitably be a natural progression for Willie J Healey, as an ever-rising star.

It isn’t often that a support band outshines the main act, but tonight that was the case. Married duo Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey’s relatively bland offerings have occasional glimmers of originality, but generally the whiney vocals and anodyne guitar riffs are pretty hard to stomach. Sitting somewhere between indie-funk and musical theatre, the genre is as confused as the audience are when Sankey starts talking about the Thai meal they’d just had.

“It isn’t often that a support band outshines the main act, but tonight that was the case”

The majority of the set comprises songs from their latest album which was out in May, and they also showcase a couple of tracks from the soundtrack they did for the 2014 film Beyond Clueless. Warmsley’s vocals are pleasant, but it’s a shame that they’re frequently drowned out by his wife’s grating yowl. Her theatrical style would be more at home on stage with the Lion King than it is here.

The vibe in the audience is one of what can only be described as bemusement, although a couple of enthusiastic souls in the middle cut some energetic shapes during the last few songs. Aside from this, the atmosphere was flat; a stark contrast to the buzz of before.

Anna Hand

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