Columbus, Ohio folk trio Caamp sold out not just one, but THREE shows at the Newport Music Hall in their hometown over the week of New Year’s Eve.
Although the project actually got its start in Athens, Ohio, its Columbus fans certainly claim the band as their own since founding members Taylor Meier and Evan Westfall were childhood friends who graduated from the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington before being joined by Matt Vinson.
Caamp showed their support of the local music scene by choosing hometown opening bands for each night (with the exception of Ona, from neighboring West Virginia) including Parker Louis, the Terrance Charles Trio, and The Cordial Sins. On the second night of the 3-show run, popular Columbus rock band, Radattack, kicked things off by surprising all the folk fans with their more heavy, punk-pop-inspired rock and roll. They played an impressive show worthy of a head-banging mosh pit of a crowd.
After Radattack’s energetic performance the crowd was warmed up for the endearing, melodic and soulful tunes of local darlings Doc Robinson, which fit like a glove with Caamp’s style and was a fantastic choice to prime the crowd for their set. Of course, Caamp was already hip to this stellar matchup since Doc Robinson toured with them in 2017 after the release of their debut LP, Deep End (which is awesome, by the way).
The techs placed a PBR and a water by each instrument and it was finally time. As the song “Victory” by Trampled by Turtles started to play you could see the Caamp boys ready to take the stage as the crowd started “wooooo-ing” and clapping with anticipation. The room quieted down as Taylor began with a solo guitar and vocal intro to Autumn Leave and as he belted, “And it goooooooes like this,” the instrument buildup began and the audience gave them a rambunctious Midwest welcome and continued to sing along “are you a life force” from the title track of their newest album By and By.
You know those shows where it feels like the entire crowd knows the every lyric to every song? This one felt like that – like a warm blanket of positive energy drifted over the crowd at the intimate Newport Music Hall as the crowd incanted “I saw a shooting star, late last night.” The venue – boasting the distinction of being the longest continually running rock club in the country – only added to the charm of the show with its lovely ballroom architecture.
Columbus luminary, Liz Fisher, co-founder of the enchanting alternative pop band The Cordial Sins, played violin for Caamp’s entire set on Saturday night. Her elegant performance blended so perfectly with their songs that you’d think she was a full-time member. It was lovely.
Keeping with the Columbus love that permeated throughout the entire evening, Taylor brought out Nick Foligno, the captain of the beloved Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, before the closing of the show with the crowd chanting “CBJ! CBJ! CBJ!”
The crowd all knew it was coming and everyone joined in to sing “Ohio, treat me well. Ohio, treat me well”, from Caamp’s song paying homage to their roots. Taylor pulled a real rockstar move and crowd surfed like a folk boss, playing his guitar above him while Liz beautifully held down the instrumental bridge.
This was one of those shows that makes you want to see every band you love play in their hometown. Proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are indeed a life force in their town, Taylor stepped back from the mic and let the crowd finish the last line of “All the Debts I Owe” by belting “I’ll be back someday I hope, oh I hope, hoooooope, I hope”.
Well, we sure hope so too.