The Band CAMINO Packed The Novo in Los Angeles And Unleashed Unbridled Joy
LOS ANGELES, CA- “Your mom’s favorite band” is back, and they delighted a packed crowd at The Novo on April 8, 2022.
The Band CAMINO have gone through quite a bit since the release of their 2019 EP, tryhard. Despite certain band issues and the global pandemic, Jeffery Jordan, Spencer Stewart and Garrison Burgess kept their chins up, and came back swinging in 2021, reformed with a killer debut album in tow.
The self titled effort is tons of fun. Their blend of pop and rock is a sugary sweet pop-rock confection. They have a real knack of writing melodies and hooks that stay in your head well after the first listen. I mean, how can you not want to sing along to the “we got hands and hearts and noses … so stop and smell the fucking roses” chorus in “Roses”?
The feel good, positive, sonics of “Roses” track through all 44 minutes and 51 seconds of the minutes of the 14 song album, even despite some of the heavy subject matter that they sing about (“Damage” is song about the “what could have, should have been” of a love lost). Even their downtempo, songs about heartbreak or regret is produced (like “Sorry Mom”) or arranged (like “Help Me Get Over You” with eclectic synths and pulsing rhythms) in a way that just has a certain undeniable life to it. It’s kind of like The Band CAMINO are letting it all flow out on wax in a kind of post-pandemic overflow of creativity. There’s life all throughout this album… and I think the packed house in Downtown Los Angeles was looking to share in that life with them.
I didn’t know the first act to take the stage. Professionally known as “Hastings”, my internet sleuthing came up with several difference names for this indie/alt rock artist. Caleb Flood… Matt Hastings…Caleb Goldstick… whatever his real name is “Hastings” set the perfect mood for the evening.
With only one 6 track EP under his belt, his set was expectedly short. He performed almost all of the songs off the EP, substituting “Right Now” with an unreleased song titled “Hurt My Feelings” (If you click the photo above, you can check out a little video clip of that performance at the bottom of the page). From the first song “Chapstick”, I realized that.. like The Band CAMINO… Hastings has a knack for recording songs that have undeniable melodies and hooks. Clearly the audience behind the barricade while I was in the photo pit agreed with me as they were all singing along to the “Girl, there’s something in your Chapstick/ Think it’s tryna keep me captive/ I just wanna bite your lip/ I’ll admit, I’m addicted/ I always gotta have it” chorus. Catchy as hell.
As short as his set was, there was no doubt that Hastings performance served as an ideal appetizer for the music that was to come.
I’ve been keen on catching flor live for a few years now. Their sophomore, ley lines, got a healthy number of spins from during lockdowns when I went out for an afternoon run. Their third studio album, Future Shine (Fueled By Ramen) was originally supposed to be released March 28th, 2022, but the release date was pushed to May 6th. They did, however drop a 3 song EP with the Future Shine songs “Skate”, “Big Shot” and “Play Along” to satiate their fans’ musical appetites in the meantime.
Zach Grace, McKinley Kitts, Dylan Bauld and Kyle Hill performed a 10 song setlist, that included fan favorites from Come Out You’re Hiding (“Warm Blood”, “Hold On”, “Restless Soul”, “Back Again”, “Rely”) and ley lines (“Dancing Around”) in addition to the Future Shine tracks off the EP and another song titled “LMHO” which I’ll assume is another Future Shine cut. Truth be told, I was actually hoping for a few more songs from ley lines considering that that was the album got me into them (“aiming low” or “never was mine” would have been nice)… but beggars can’t be choosers.
As this was my first time catching flor live, I was particularly impressed with the band’s lead singer, Zach Grace. Not only was the pristine tenor of his voice magical… almost in an elven kind of way… his energy and joy was infectious. As I watching his hair whip to and fro as he bopped huge with this head, his pearly whites beaming from his smile, I could honestly feel his energy transfer into me. I may have been wearing 30 pounds of camera gear, but I couldn’t help but exorcise some of that joy bouncing to their music beat’s with him.
While this was clearly a The Band CAMINO room, the funny thing is that almost of the people that I happened to chat with in between sets were there to see flor. One young woman even flew in from Seattle to see flor play. She simply expressed to me that flor makes her happy. I can second that emotion.
Jeffery Jordan expressed his gratitude early the evening. In front of packed house with a 2,400 person capacity, Jeffery reveled in the fact that it had been over 900 days since The Band CAMINO last played in Los Angeles. He was even more amazed when the crowd was singing along to all of the new songs on their self titled debut album.
Armed with a 20 song setlist, which they split equally with songs from the new album (“Know It All”, “Roses”, “I Think I Like You”, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, “Song About You”, “Underneath My Skin”, “Just A Phase”, “Damage”, “Help Me Get Over You”, “1 Last Cigarette”) and songs they previously released on tryhard (“What I Want”, “See Through”, “Hush Hush”, “Daphne Blue”, “Haunted”), My Thoughts On You (“2/14″) and otherwise (“Know Me”, “California”, “Less Than I Do”, “Never A Good Time”), there were plenty of opportunities for fans to sing along to, and they ate up every note.
The fan dedication was strong as young women lined up at the front of the barricade brought dozens of roses to throw to onto the stage during the performance of “Roses”.
There was plenty of dancing as well. Despite having attended numerous concerts at The Novo, I didn’t realize how much the floor trembles when the crowd jumps up and down together. While I was taking some photos from the crowd… and not dancing… I could feel my knees wobble to the beat as the floor was vibrating from the feet stomping to the beat on the ground. Wild.
The Band CAMINO’s performance perfectly encapsulated the entire mood of the evening. It was an evening full of music made with the purpose of making you revel in unbridled joy. Made you want to sing along. Made you want to dance. Made you leave your baggage at the door so you can live in the moment.
After they finished their set with their seminal hit “Daphne Blue”, the crowd lingered in the venue as long as they could. My guess is they were all delirious with joy, and just hoping to get just one more musical dopamine hit before they actually started to file towards the exit. I don’t blame them… I was riding that musical high as well. I guess we’ll all just have to wait until they swing by Los Angeles again.
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