Ive heard of Caamp, on the radio, spotify playlists, and they’ve become a familiar name on quite a few festival posters as well, including this past year’s Hinterland festival in Iowa. But I was caught off guard at the sheer number of people who packed into the Palace Theatre this past Friday to watch the folk group perform. Fans lined the rail wearing merch, filming on their phones, and yelping after every song. Even a livestream crew was setup to film the show as well. Needless to say, It’s clear ive been missing out on this band myself, and as i learned earlier this month, to never underestimate the bluegrass crowd.
Caamp, who is a folk group based out of Ohio, have all the looks as if they’re out of Arizona, complete with trucker hats, vintage tables, and an americana styled backdrop with their name on it. Even in the audience, I felt like the only one not wearing some sort of plaid with a vest, or denim. Ide say they brought some of the American southwest to us Minnesotans, but it was a very convincing facade. What wasn’t a facade, however, was their music. While Caamp has been around since 2013, Their first record wasn’t released until 2016, with 2 followups since then. But the band performed the songs like they had been doing them for 20 years.
The concert had it’s laid back moments as much as it had it’s upbeat ones. We started the night with the boot-stomp-hand-clap Great Heights off of their 2016 self titled debut, before moving onto the softer, upbeat, road tripping By and By from their latest 2019 release of the same name. Perhaps their most familiar song, Vagabond came about halfway through the set to much applause, while Peach Fuzz was a highlight towards the end of their set, especially as i looked down from the stairwell to the bar to see quite a few people in flat brimmed hats dancing to the song. Officer of Love felt like an odd song to include to the set given the police violence set in Minnesota this past year, but it didn’t seem to deter any concert goers from dancing along to the song and singing along.
At the end of the night, Caamp gave us a three song encore (which seems to be much more of the norm nowadays) which included a climatic version of All The Debts I Owe and the fast, technical Mockingbird Song. There seemed to be anticipation in the air for opener Dave Simonett, of Dead Man Winter and Trampled By Turtles fame, to join the band on a song or two, especially given that the Caamp and Trampled By Turtles collaboration of Alone at Red Rocks was released today, however that sadly didn’t happen. Given the overlap in fanbases and that they were both here tonight, it seemed like a no brainer.
It’s still surprising to see the Minneapolis folk/bluegrass crowd come out of the woodwork and pack a place as large as the Palace Theatre (Which, by the way, can hold more than 3,500 people). The Twin Cities has started to become a recent addition to many tours for artists in these genres who otherwise would skip to Chicago instead, however we’re glad they’re not, and sold out shows like this show bands like Caamp that we really, really like what they’re doing.