Camp Cope, Alice Skye @ Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide 3/3/2023

Welcome to Camp Cope, where all our besties gather in an inclusive safe space and we sing about our feelings and tear down the patriarchy. Unfortunately, this is the last one but watch this space for a new exciting adventure. Calling it a day after eight years, Georgia Maq, Kelly-Dawn and Sarah Thomo played their last ever Adelaide show as a band at Hindley Street Music Hall as part of their farewell tour and the Adelaide Festival Programme.

But first up, support act Alice Skye and her hometown guitarist buddy Sam entered the stage, Skye shyly introducing herself before beginning to play a soft solo piano version of melancholy tune Homesickness at which point, I knew that it was going to be an emotional sad-girl set (fittingly as I was feeling much the same) that was a stark contrast to the excited chatter in the venue. Nonetheless, the audience responded well and her sound was sublime, her keys ringing throughout the hall while her voice raw and fluid filled the dimly lit space. Alice Skye’s live performance adds another dimension to her work not heard in her recordings, and while that could be said about most live acts, for Skye it was especially obvious, her voice untamed and passionate sounding almost like Alanis Morrisette which I had never picked up on before. Between her tracks she quietly addressed the crowd, talking about how her songs came to be written, such as Persistent Mood being penned in lockdown for a Bonds campaign, and her visits to hometown Horsham inspiring her track Grow Up. She made a point of introducing the AUSLAN interpreter onstage (my first gig featuring one and hopefully the first of many) stating that live music should be accessible to everyone. She finished her set by thanking the crowd admitting that sometimes you just don’t feel like playing music, but the audience makes it all worth it. Short and sweet, her set made me fall a little bit in love with her and her humble and kind demure.

Camp Cope whirled on stage opening with Keep Growing playing energetically to a gleeful audience. Once again that live sound was so much richer and vibrant than the recordings I had listened to earlier because I had obviously missed the boat on this band and only just decided to check them out. It was a perfect juxtaposition of happy sad indie rock while Georgia’s perfect and poetic song writing was exceptionally delivered by her distinctive low range bellowing vocals coming effortlessly straight from her self-proclaimed emo heart.

The set was performed in front of a notable and hilarious slide show lit up behind them displaying various random and hilarious stock images (many shamelessly still with a watermark) and political statements such as ‘Trans Rights are Human Rights”, while their AUSLAN interpreters who were cheered throughout the night tag teamed between tracks. Despite the emotional and often serious themes of the songs, the band kept it light-hearted and cheerful, with playful interactions between themselves and the audience and some hilarious stories about the band, such as how Georgia stole the 2022 album and title track Running with the Hurricane from her Dad (Norm Macdonald of Red Gum) because she liked it, and telling the audience to ‘deal with it, we do what we want’ in jest about their disbanding.

Despite the big crowd and fancy venue, Camp Cope managed to keep it humble and intimate, it was almost as if they had been plucked straight from Enigma where they played their very first Adelaide show and put in front of an accumulation of eight years of devoted followers, musically evolved but still mischievous. Georgia gave everyone fair warning that there were only four tracks left (ever) and proclaimed she respected us all too much to do the ‘encore thing’ before playing track Anna which according to her, they never play live but made an exception for Adelaide because its lyrics talk about going back there. The band left Georgia solo onstage to perform Sing your Heart Out to which she did, before losing her guitar (that she ‘hates playing’) and dancing furiously onstage to Running with the Hurricane and The Opener, the crowd soaking up every second and singing along to essentially their last waltz.

For a send-off, it doesn’t get more uplifting than this. Camp Cope created the perfect night to express their love and gratitude for their fans, exhibit their immaculate and well matured musical talent and reaffirm their defining values and passion for inclusivity and equality while delivering their distinctive powerful impassioned songs that have left a mark on the Australian alternative music landscape. It would be short-sighted to see this as the end for this talented little outfit, I have sincere belief that we have not seen the last of them and they have a very bright future ahead. The air of positivity in the room affirmed that, but for now it’s not ‘goodbye’, it’s ‘hear you later’.

Live Review By Bec Scheucher

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