“Yeah tell me again how there just aren’t enough girls in the music scene”
Camp Cope – The Opener

I heard somebody say tonight that this gig had sold out within three minutes, This does not surprise me. I’ve tried three times to see Camp Cope and I’ve been too slow every time… but not this time! I’m here, I made it. It’s a Tuesday night in Adelaide and eleven girls in the music scene are about to play to a sold out crowd at Jive.

I got here early in the hopes of snagging one of those awesome t-shirts. You’ve seen them. They say “The person wearing this shirt stands against sexual assault and demands a change”. Unfortunately for me there don’t appear to be any available and this makes me sad as I’ve been wanting one for months now. If anyone knows how I can get a hold of one, please let me know. Thanks 🙂

And now, music!

Opening tonight are locals She’s the Band. Comprising members of Adelaide bands past, this is a four piece with a lot to say, and they said it very loud. They did seem a little nervous to begin with and maybe had a few timing issues, but soon settled in to the swing of things. They are committed, fierce and clearly loving it. I don’t think the bass player stopped smiling the entire time. Both her and the drummer were singing along and smiling so big. I love watching bands who are obviously having the best time on stage.

They’re not a style of music I would normally listen to, but seeing them having so much fun was really entertaining to watch.

Chastity Belt are a four piece from Washington. They’re playing the whole tour with Camp Cope, and it’s their first time in Adelaide. I am aware that this comparison will help no one but me, but they remind me of a song I liked on a compilation CD I was given by Karl when he worked at Seeing Ears music store in Rundle Mall back in the 90s. If I find the CD or remember the band before I publish this I’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime…

Three of the four members take turns at vocals, with a guitar and drums swap thrown in as well. Their songs are like a constant roll or wave of sound, wanting to break out but never quite letting go. This may sound like a criticism but I don’t mean it that way. Chastity Belt are playing exactly the music they want to be playing. They sit back into the groove and the melodies, eyes closed, heads nodding, feet tapping. Its hypnotising. I can easily see 16 year old me listening to this in my bedroom in the dark. Present day me might actually do the same thing later.

A slightly more helpful comparison might be Adelaide band Hello, Lover. It’s a definite 90s sound and an excellent compliment to tonight’s headliners.

Chastity Belt finish up and the crowd cheer. It feels like its equal parts appreciation for what they’ve just seen, and anticipation for Camp Cope. Usually people would be heading to the bar right now, stocking up on drinks for the final set, but no one is moving. They’re here for a reason and that reason is about to walk out onto the purple and red velvet back-dropped stage to the tune of Kesha’s Tik Tok.

They are the perfect band for right now. Can you feel it? Do you have a sense that people are finally waking up? And those things that used to happen? That happened because that’s the way it’s always been? They will not be tolerated any longer. It’s empowering to have these three ladies opening themselves up and giving everything through such honest songwriting and the stories behind those songs.

It’s patently obvious how fortunate they feel to be in the position to express their thoughts and feelings to the world through songs that are so important to them, and it’s very apparent that they hit pretty close to home with the audience as well.

Camp Cope are an excellent angry band, and they’re right to be angry. There’s a lot going on to raise our voices about, from sexual assault to feminism and misogyny (in music and in every day life), relationship break ups, family and illness… every line is raw and true and sung with so much conviction.

Opening with their latest single How to Socialise and How to Make Friends and into Keep Growing the room is jubilant. Their newest album has been out for only eighteen days and it’s clearly been devoured and consumed non stop. Singer Georgia Maq doesn’t even need to sing a word; there’s a capacity crowd choir backing her every second of tonight and her giant smile as we sing strong and loud back to her is heartwarming.

I had read a review that likened Kelly’s bass line in The Opener to an aural eye roll. Watching her play made me realise how much the bass line drives most of the songs. It was so prominent last night, which may have been due to the mix bringing it to the front when perhaps it’s set back a little more in recording, but it was so interesting to watch. At times it seemed more like the lead instrument than Georgia’s guitar. Then Thommo’s drumming would catch my attention and I realised that all four instruments, guitar, bass, drums and vocals are all equally important up there and each get their place on stage.

Their quick set is spread equally between both albums, finishing up with Lost : Season One and The Opener. Georgia mentions they’re finishing early for a Wednesday night. “It’s Tuesday!” we all call out.

“It’s okay to make a mistake in front of a room full of people”, she replies, “Mistakes make you who you are”. I’m a huge fan of who all three members of Camp Cope are, and I cant wait to see them back in Adelaide again soon.

Live Review by Carly Whittaker