Futurebirds got the night started with their country-rock folk tunes. Their music kept me dancing in the bathroom early on in their set. The way that they played performed felt as if I was watching them play in a garage for practice. It was very casual, and they played extremely well as fans shuffled in. Their performance sure pumped the crowd up for the headlining act.
A single light illuminated the black and white stage backdrop that featured a bear with a bag on its back. The smell of pine circled throughout the venue, which is not only fitting for a folk band but also for the headliner’s band name. With no time to waste, CAAMP took the stage quite quickly. Frontman Taylor Meier took center stage with his guitar and vocals ready while Evan Westfall sat on the drums and Matt Vinson stood by on the bass. The crowd exploded with excitement as the band prepared to play the first track of the night. “No Sleep” coming from their By and By album began the set, followed by “Just Wonderin,” a track found on their album Boys.
What I wasn’t expecting was how low and soft Meier’s voice would sound live. His voice didn’t seem to carry that well to the crowd that was on the second floor. Maybe the speakers needed to be louder, or perhaps his voice hadn’t completely warmed up yet, but most fans couldn’t hear what exactly he was singing. However, the beat told them what song was being played. Thankfully, his voice got stronger and much louder throughout the show.
The crowd exploded with excitement as folk band CAAMP took the stage.
Being on the second floor and being on the ground floor offered two totally different perspectives. I switched back to the lower level right as Westfall switched from the drums to his banjo. “Yeah, he rails!” A fan exclaimed near me as Westfall took a solo. The crowd roared with excitement and danced as he jammed out on the banjo. There was something comfortable and home-y within the crowd. Everyone was kind to each other and all were having a good time. It felt like reunion between friends, the crowd and the band.
CAAMP played a mixture of old songs and new songs: “26,” “Keep the Blues Away,” “By and By,” “Vagabond” and various others made it onto the setlist. Meier’s vocals, Vinson’s bass chords and Westfall’s mix of drums and banjo all sounded organic throughout The Depot. I was happy when the band started to play “Moonsmoke,” a slow song that I fell in love the first time I heard it—they played it beautifully live.
CAAMP played a new song for the crowd as well, although we didn’t get the name of the song. Meier exclaimed that it had just been recorded a few days prior. It was a slow and sad song that everyone in the crowd loved. Even without a name to pin on the song, it turned into one of my favorite songs they played that night. Meier’s voice was filled with emotion and a twinge of hurt as it filled the entire space. At least for me, It was quite emotional. My eyes welled up with tears once the song was finished.
Before the encore, the band had a small jam session that had the crowd dancing and screaming with excitement. Meier managed to jump on the drums and sing while playing, and that (to me) was impressive. CAAMP came back for their encore rather quickly—I loved that they didn’t keep fans waiting for too long at the beginning of their set nor for their encore. They played two tracks for their encore, “Going to the Country” and “All the Debts I Owe.” The crowd seemed to overtake Meier’s vocals as everyone (including myself) sang along to the last two songs loudly
The show felt like a reunion between friends, the crowd and the band.
That wasn’t the end to the concert, though. Fans stayed afterwards dancing and singing to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and a few other groovy and funky tunes as they either shuffled to the merch table or out the door.
Though CAAMP played a great set, had I been someone who decided to check them out randomly that night and didn’t know a thing about them, their lack of fan engagement and lack of formal introductions wouldn’t have won me over. I’m not sure if it was just this show, but introducing themselves would have been a lovely addition. There was someone else on stage playing the keys for them, but no name was given—his name can’t be found on their website, either. Regardless, CAAMP certainly know how to play a show and give their fans exactly what they want—their music.
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