Live review: Summer Camp, Cambridge Portland Arms 20th March 2012

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It's a bit of a homecoming gig for Summer Camp's Jeremy Walmsley tonight, as he played some of his very first shows in this very room when he was a student.
This was the first time I had seen Summer Camp, and I had the choice of going to the Scala the night after or here. For those of you who don't know these two venues, it's a choice between seeing them in a converted cinema or a fairly large living room.
I made the right choice because they worked so well with the intimate 100 capacity crowd it was actually a bit of a special night.
Summer Camp are essentially a duo of Jeremy Walmsley and Elizabeth Sankey, though in tonight's live setting they are assisted by the drummer from Brontide and a backdrop of classic movie footage.
They open with the title track from last year's excellent 'Welcome To Condale' album and play an hour long set of both old and new material.
'Nobody Knows You' is Elizabeth's first chance to really shine and although she has some fairly random (but entertaining) in between song ad-libs, it's clear that she has immense stage presence.
The new songs sound great too. One is Moroder-style disco pop and the other 'Give Me Life' is equally strong. They play a couple from the 'Young' EP but mostly tonight's set reminds us how great the songs on 'Condale' are. 'Down', 'Better Off Without You' and 'I Want You' are classic indie-pop, and 'Brian Krakow' brings the night to a splendidly noisy conclusion.
The real highlights though, were they way they worked with the crowd and played on the intimacy of the venue. They played 'Losing My Mind' without any amplification, singing to each other as they weaved their way through the crowd. They also played the first song of the encore, a cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Everywhere' without any PA, which was really effective as well.
It felt like they loved playing this gig, and it also felt like we loved having them play it.

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