Camp Cope have become somewhat of a force in music since forming in a Melbourne backyard over home job tattoos a few years ago. Shortly after the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut album, Camp Cope launched the It Takes One campaign to say enough is enough: no more sexual and physical assault at shows. The widely-covered campaign continues to drive conversation around safe spaces at live music events, including the implementation of an ongoing safe spaces Hotline initiative at Laneway Festival in Australia.
They’re a band whose work far extends that which happens on stage, or in the recording studio. They use their resilience and strength to fight for the betterment for the music industry and related communities, and have proven that they aren’t afraid to put their heads on the chopping block to do so.
They share this experience on their acclaimed sophomore album How to Socialise & Make Friends (2018). It features the standout opener ‘The Opener’, a rally cry which called the music industry to task on its sexist and inequitable structures, and ‘The Face of God’, a harrowing account of sexual assault at the hands of someone whose art you admire, a song that “proved to be the most fearless and powerful thing the Melbourne trio could possibly do” (Noisey).
On their sophomore album, Sarah Thompson lays powerful drumlines that rise steady, laying a foundation for Kelly Hellmrich’s driving, winding bass riffs (that exclusively centre around the G and D strings - much to the dismay of men in basements around the world). Their watertight rhythm providing the platform from which singer and guitarist Georgia McDonald stands with strength and ferocity, taking listeners on a trip through the pages of a personal diary, thriving in the uncomfortable and the unspoken.
The album received widespread critical acclaim, topping a slew of end of year lists including Brooklyn Vegan (#1 Best Album of 2018), Pitchfork (Best Rock Albums of 2018; ‘The Opener’ #24 Best Song of 2018), Billboard (#16 Best Rock Album of 2018), Bandcamp (#23 Best Albums of 2018), Stereogum (#41 Best Albums of 2018), The Guardian (Best Albums of 2018), and NPR (‘All Songs Considered’) Listeners Top 100 Albums of 2018), to name a few.
To see the sheer emotion in this album live is something else. As a band who cut their teeth playing every house-show and night at The Old Bar they were able to, one of the most defining qualities of the band is their ability to transform any venue to be just as intimate. Whether it’s headlining Sydney Opera House or The Bowery Ballroom, The Bootleg Theatre or an NPR Tiny Desk, their close friendship brings the audience in – both in on the emotions that permeate their set and in on the personal jokes – as if they were playing just for you.
And you can feel it, too. The energy at a Camp Cope show is rare. Not just because they write good songs that have the audience on their feet. They’re a band that takes action – they say no, they stand their ground, they take up space, and the audience can feel the power from those words. They unite in a space that is truly equal as they scream back every word, arms in the air, veins pulsating. You can feel it in the air. It doesn’t just feel a show – it feels like an uprising.