Camp Cope, Petal & Sidney Gish wowed Bowery Ballroom (pics/review)
Camp Cope and Petal just wrapped up their co-headlining summer tour on Saturday (7/21) in Boston. They hit NYC for the tour's second-to-last night on Friday (7/20) for a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom with Sidney Gish, who opened a bunch of the dates. The room was already full when Sidney took the stage at 8 PM for a set of quirky indie pop. The songs from her New Year's Eve 2017 release No Dogs Allowed pair creative, skillful guitar work with clever and often humorous lyrics, and they really shine live, where Sidney recreates them with looping pedals and a drum machine. No Dogs Allowed-standout "Persephone" overflows with allusions and wordplay, and its live version requires precision-timed pedal work, which Sidney pulled off with aplomb.
Petal played mostly from their very good 2018 album Magic Gone, with Kiley Lotz going between guitar and keyboards. The personal, powerful material from the album makes for driving, even catchy indie rock, and Kiley and her band were locked into each other as they brought it to life. I've seen Petal perform solo and with different backing bands over the past couple of years and this was the best of the bunch. Half way through her set she gave an impassioned speech about how great and validating it was to be on tour with such amazing and like-minded people, about coming out queer and suffering with mental illness ("you've all read the interviews"), and about how amazing it was to be playing a sold out show at Bowery Ballroom, especially after opening so many shows there in the past.
Camp Cope -- the trio of Georgia "Maq" McDonald, bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich, and drummer Sarah Thompson -- took the stage to thunderous applause from the packed room; Georgia took a picture of the NYC crowd to show her mom back in Australia. Throughout the night, she kept returning to her amazement and gratitude at the crowds they played to this tour, their biggest U.S. outing yet. After playing a bit of Green Day's "Warning" (and expressing her love of Green Day), the band launched into a set that pulled from their great 2018 album How to Socialise & Make Friends, as well as their self-titled debut and split with Cayetana. Early in the set, a man in the audience yelled up to Georgia. She mentioned "thinking," and he said something like "put your fist under your neck!" She quickly cut him off, letting him and everybody know that nobody tells her what to do, especially not a man. It was a powerful moment consistent with the band's crusade for gender equality and the crowd loved it. To make it even more awe inspiring, she immediately followed with the intensely personal and harrowing song about sexual assault and How to Socialise standout, "The Face of God." The set continued with one highlight after another including singalong "Lost: Season One," but it wasn't all so serious; there were plenty of laughs including the story that claimed "Footscray Station" is about Kelly peeing her pants at the train station. They closed with deeply felt recent single "The Opener" and didn't come back out for an encore (but did walk off stage to "Apeshit" off the Carters album, which we've seen them express love for on social media) - hopefully they'll be back soon! (Sadly we did not get to hear "Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams" which we saw was on other setlists including the show they played at House of Independents in Asbury Park.)
Check out pictures from Friday's show in the gallery above, and a few video clips from Camp Cope's set below.