BC Camplight

BC Camplight


What’s in my head right now is trying to suss out the connection between a potential Mancunian slow dance and a gorgeously dreamy Californian sound. I’m a bit off kilter on both counts. BC Camplight’s latest album title ’How to Die in the North’ (out now on Bella Union) would give you the impression you’re getting high rise tinged ballads, a bit Richard Hawley-esque. The songs sound much more sun drenched and optimistic. The voice comes from Philly talent Brian Christinzio who relocated to Manchester a few years ago. As we’re waiting in Gorilla for his entrance a piece of ticker tape falls down. I nudge my gig mate, ’I wonder if there’s going to be an explosion?’ Nah we both agree that wouldn’t fit the Dying in the North business.

The band come on. There’s about 6 on the stage, pretty tight. The first song is ’Just because I love you,’ you will have heard it on BBC 6 Music. It’s dreamy, marshmallowy, gorgeous stuff. His talent and confidence in rolling out a big ’airplay’ song early doors is testament to strong songwriting. Some bits of this sound underwater, in the best possible way. I can hear this as part of a scene to American Hustle. Smooth without being sickly. The dry ice is billowing off stage. A good sign.

I’m getting mesmerised by the inky, kaleidoscopic visuals. The whole thing feels trippy and nostalgic to another era. BC Camplight feels like the love child of Dusty Springfield meets The Beach Boys meet Ben Folds. There’s no arguing musically, he’s bloody ace. A gem on the set list is, ’You should have gone to school.’ A pull you close lilting beat with hypnotic vocals from a female voice. His range is quite something when I focus on the high notes. This big, gruff, shades-wearing bloke seems to enjoy defying what we think might be coming.

Musically, they’re up there. BC on piano is really good. The crowd seem to be on a tip off this is one to watch. It’s more of a hipster, Northern Quarter lot than the usual mix that I’ve seen at Gorilla. As we see the set unfold there’s undoubtedly a romance in his music (’Love isn’t anybody’s fault’) without desperation. The mood is buoyant and has a sound of fight back in it. Thankfully we’re not faking cooler than thou, and we seem to get swept up in the dance.

His noise is rich. Trumpets, pitch sharp harmonies, speed and energy all come out. I’m getting such a buzz for wanting to dig out my old Ben Folds. In its essence great story telling with rolling pianos (’Blood and Peanut Butter’). The lone ticker tape was a misleader. That didn’t happen. But the lights came up just an hour in. Finishing on a high but everyone wanted a bit more. What you see can often be different to what you hear. If there was any idea tonight was going to be a typical January northern night in, BC Camplight turned it on it head and gave us a glimpse of what’s thawing through. Something to celebrate before he gets to a bigger stage.

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I'm an indie kid at heart, with a soft spot for thoughtful electronica and a guilty love of pure pop. A break up in the early noughties with a foppish haired 'all about the guitars' boy caused my musical path to diverge out towards Mr Scruff, Ministry of Sound and dance pleasures beyond. Highlights from this year's musical calendar include Sounds From the Other City, Badly Drawn Boy at the Ten album launch, Bjork at MI and when Elbow came home.I design and illustrate so I'm continually perfecting the ultimate work soundtrack to get ideas going: daytime People I'd still like to see: Imogen Heap, Jason Mraz, Brett Anderson and Ghostpoet.Follow me on Twiiter - http://twitter.com/#!/rachaelkearney