After a rather exciting announcement quite late in the run up to Adam Green’s headline show at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester, Campstag hit up the illustrious and quaint venue without a nervous streak about them. Or at least any nerves within the band were concealed greatly. Probably the excitement was much stronger. As an avid fan of Adam Green, it might usually be a pretty daunting task to make a review concentrating on a Stoke-on-Trent based support act, but this is certainly not the case tonight. Campstag. The band of the moment. The band whose sound promised so much before a sound was even heard. And now they are living up to the expectation and finding themselves in a brilliant position to take control across the country. And boy are they showing the potential tonight.
Opening with Matillda Please, the attention grabbing synth intro from Ade, followed up by the tight bass and drum from Chris and Rich respectively, immediately sets up the night, and this is before Dan brings out his eerie, arty vocals. One definite factor in Campstag’s highly addictive songs is the melodies which Dan Nixon brings to the table with gust in his lyrics, though it must be stated that Dan’s vocals seemed to be rather quiet at the very beginning of each song, though chances are this was caused on the side of the sound guys, not the band itself. The dynamics in the opening track, and throughout the set with Call It The Flame, Northern Dream and When The Lights Come Down are of the upmost intelligence, and are executed with precision so stunningly that Chris Wilson merely needs to stroke the ‘root notes’, as it were, in order to achieve a more than desired affect, such is the professionalism in this band. (Though Chris’ dad-at-a-wedding foot shuffling during one song leaves a little to be desired, which obviously needed no encouragement to be pounced upon by Radical’s Rising). We’ll assume that the talented bass player was merely caught up in the excitement of the outstanding set and atmosphere the band were creating, in front of a very appreciative crowd at The Ruby Lounge, something which is humbling to see for an unsigned band from Stoke playing in such a great musical city. I say unsigned rather lightly, it’s surely only a matter of time for these guys?
Besides these incredible songs on show from Campstag here tonight, it is still Sirens which takes the trophy. The bands first single, and the song giving the boys their debut play on Radio One, still puts every crowd right into the bands pocket, with the classy, sophisticated synth work teaming up nicely with drum and bass, right up until the climatic drop of the song, where Rich lets rip on his drum kit and Dan unleashes an 80’s styled reverb effect guitar, and of course, Chris dances in an even more happy trance.
Radical’s Rising said it back in March 2012, and we shall say it again. Where there’s a Dooley, there’s incredible music from Stoke-on-Trent.