Concert Review: Summer Camp bring sweet vintage aesthetic to U Hall (2.14.12)

By Sydney Gore
Eagle Contributing Writer
February 14, 2012

 

If summer camp were anything like a Summer Camp concert, no kid would ever leave.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, the London-based duo of instrumentalist Jeremy Warmsley and vocalist Elizabeth Sankey rocked U Street Music Hall.

Sankey and Warmsley call their 2009 union a “happy accident” because they never intended to actually go public with their music.

The two recorded a few songs and posted them online under a fake name, keeping their identities hidden from all.

Instead of staying buried on the Internet, intrigued fans wanted to dig up more about them.

In 2010, they released their first EP “Young,” and the following year on Halloween, they dropped their first album “Welcome To Condale,” referring to a fictional Condale suburb in California that they created.

With their unique fusion of ’80s synth-pop and ’60s girl-group tunes, the band’s music and videos are heavily inspired by vintage American culture.

During their show, the band even projected popular photos and film clips from ’80s classics like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Breakfast Club” and “Teen Wolf” in the background.

The whole set, Sankey and Warmsley vibed off of each other, getting in each other’s faces on stage and maintaining a quirky interaction with the crowd.

In contrast to their sparkling personalities, Summer Camp’s lyrics fall on the darker side, often dealing with teenage obsessions, unsuccessful relationships and conflicts.

The opening song, “Welcome to Condale,” showed this contrast.

“Drive past these telephone lines and leave these suburban streets / The mayor drinks too much and smiles at everyone he meets / It’s a great place to raise kids, but they never will grow up / Families build houses on the graves of those they’ve loved,” Sankey sang.

Sankey and Warmsley used this dark content to their advantage, harmonizing and belting out their creepy lyrics to a sea of young adults, performing the songs in a lighthearted way so the audience didn’t completely catch on.

Unfortunately, after the opening song, a technical mishap occurred on Warmsley’s guitar strings, delaying their set for about 15 minutes.

Eventually after switching gears, Sankey and the drummer returned on stage to play “Done Forever,” which featured haunting organs and a thumping tempo.

Summer Camp’s vintage aesthetic transported the entire audience to a gym at a high school prom.

With images of old-fashioned dancing being projected in the background, the crowd couldn’t help but mimic it. The dancing was out of control during crowd favorites like “Round the Moon,” “I Want You” and “Ghost Train.”

Despite the technical mishap with Warmsley’s chords that delayed the set for a bit, Summer Camp put on a sensational performance that enchanted all.

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