It was hard to imagine how Camp Howard could one-up their fantastic self-titled debut from last year.
But Juice, the second release of Egghunt Records’ Hatched Series (after Dazeases’ EP Local Slut), does exactly that in almost every way.
Their tone is dialed in perfectly, their earworm riffs back in full force and the band’s interplay between sun-soaked melodies and layered, math-punk crescendos stronger than ever.
All of that and more was on display Saturday evening as Camp Howard and Egghunt Records celebrated the release at Strange Matter with a stacked local bill featuring Hill Walkers, Recluse Raccoon and Lance Bangs.
Hill Walkers began the show with a lush, energetic set including standouts “Don’t Waste Your Time” and a selection of new songs that played to their strengths both instrumentally and vocally.
Featuring Timmy Peele and Austin Tekamp of Recluse Raccoon, Sydney and Kyle Taylor on vocals and newest member Ed Miller (formerly of Doctor Collins) on bass, the group is hitting their stride, and their new tunes are some of their strongest yet.
Timmy and Austin held down the stage for a while longer as Recluse Raccoon performed next. Despite it being their first show back from a brief hiatus after bassist Andrew Murray returned from a trip to the west coast, the group quickly hit their groove.
Their set also featured a number of new songs, which Peele explained he is almost finished recording save for adding horns and other accoutrements (which sounds super exciting!). They are also almost sold out of their now-classic The Horse EP tapes, so grab one while you still can!
By this point in the show, the crowd reached from the stage back to the bar and further towards the arcade games. I just want to point out that is really rad to see folks pack out a local venue for an all-local show, especially on VCU’s Graduation Day no less.
There was a ton of energy in the room, and every seemed to be respecting one-another and taking care of the important things while singing along and dancing. Hell yeah, Richmond.
Next up was Citrus City Record’s Lance Bangs. Folks throughout the crowd sang along as the trio cut through a tight set of angular, groovy tracks from their LP Lance Mountain.
They closed the set with a rousing performance of their newest single, “Wash,” which was definitely a standout moment of the night as a whole.
They are also about to head on tour with labelmates Crumb next month, but before the two bands leave they play one of the most stacked bills in recent Richmond history rounded out by McKinley Dixon and Friends and ING on May 29th.
By the time Camp Howard hit the stage, the energy in the room was already set to burst.
After opening Sleepwalkers first local show of the year at the Broadberry in early April, the obviously well-practiced group adeptly matched songs from their debut interspersed among tracks from their universally acclaimed new EP.
They opened with “Grenada,” an instrumental jam that perfectly set the stage for the summery grooves to come, and immediately dove into “Mismo,” one of their new singles featuring an awesome countermelody at the end of the track from Wes Parker.
“I Will” also showed off the group’s slower side, which was a great dynamic shift mid-set. “Fucked Up” really stood out among the new recordings, though it is a longtime live favorite and really brings out the sing-a-longs. Self-titled album tracks “You’ve Been Misled” and “Holding Her Tight” sounded better than ever as the group felt loose and confident as they fed off the audience’s energy.
By the end of the night, they closed their set with the title track “Juice” and quickly returned for a encore without leaving the stage. They were all vocally appreciative of the local support, almost to a point of seeming incredulous (which is pretty wild because they have to know they have raised the bar for themselves with the new release).
Camp Howard also heads out on tour for a few dates later this month, but definitely keep an eye out for their next local show as it is surely not one to be missed.
Check out photos from the show below: