Camens photo by Tali-Mae McCreedy – instagram: @t4li.ph0to

Motorbikes and car horns fill the air as we converse. The flint and steel of a lighter sparks a flame of opportunity in front of a cigarette, smoke trailing and lingering in the light of Night And Day Café’s neon glow. “Really good bands come and go but you have to just stick at it, mistakes are a part of the process.” Looking back on their previous gigs, the group recalls the ups and downs that make a true artist. “I never break strings ever, and I just broke two in two gigs back to back” but luckily no such mistake is made in Manchester.

Tucked away in the streets of the Northern Quarter, Night And Day Café presents Camens. Since the release of their debut album, Work/Life/Balance, the band has been dropping into various venues around the country including the cities of Liverpool, Leeds, London, Birmingham, Stoke On Trent, and of course, Manchester.

Vibrant paper lanterns canopy over the crowd as people gather towards the dim stage. Shadows work back and forth as instruments are set out like trophies behind a glass cabinet. The Camens were on full display now. Starting up with ‘Danny Devito’ pink lights reflect off disco balls, ricocheting to each corner of the café, stroking over strats and skin.

Their Wombat-esque sound twists and turns through the radio waves of the room during ‘Violent Video Games’. A track from the Camens’ earlier days, you can hear the familiar sound of their indie inspirations. “We always aspire to be like Circa Waves…we kind of think like that, the way they write and go into a verse. They cut heavy instruments out and just have a guitar line, absolutely raw, no amp even.” Praising like proteges they go on to say “It’s just intelligent song writing and they’re very good at production.” From the verse to the chorus, its clear to see the jigsaws of music they’ve pieced together to create their own image.

Leading on from their personal music messiahs, the band reminisces on supporting alongside bands such as Scouting For Girls, and in most recent events, The K’s on three legs of their UK tour. “We just did a few dates with a band called The K’s. Newcastle was ridiculous. We went there and I was like a little kid. It was just everything…it was something else. You could see the full crowd and all I was thinking was just don’t trip over.” Tonight, the Camen’s audience consisted of not only the eyes of the crowd but the gaze of the rock legends postered and framed upon the rectangular room. Jim Morrison and John Lennon spectating like judges on a panel.

Coasting through the setlist, the Stoke band sent the room into a riptide. Raring to go, the drums kick off. The vocals of Scott Powell, strong and taking control, leads alongside the buzz of a hypnotic bass. Flying high with ‘Cynical’, they show the perfect representation of that indie sound that we all know and love. “You can say, yeah that was done forty years ago, but there’s a reason why it was so good forty years ago” On the days in which they discovered The Beatles and The Kinks, growing up on “that kind of diet” gave them a sense of longing to follow in thefootsteps of the greats that paved the way for the music industry. “The classics are still classics”.

With Work/Life/Balance already having half a million plays, it seems as though their debut has springboarded them onto the scene. The strenuous question of this or that, “recording or performing” is thrown into the mix. Lead guitarist, James Corbishly, discussing his evolved preference explains, “I’ve always said making the music, but after those few big gigs it changed things.” He beams, replaying reactions on the tape recorder of his mind from nights just like this one. “When you get people singing back, it’s just the best reaction.” Tonight, Night And Day Café well and truly sang back. The roof was raised and arms extended as people moved together in clusters, swaying from side to side. This is that addictive response that makes it all worthwhile.

Photographers watch the band through the kaleidoscope of their lenses, picking up the illuminous greens and pinks of the stage. Bartenders at work dart their vision back and forth like pendulums, from the band to the beer and back again, unable to ignore the undeniable presence of the quartet.

“It’s that feeling when you get on the stage and you play a track and everyone loves it. It’s kind of like a drug that you chase ever since, you just want more and more of it.” The sizzle of the streets simmer down as guitar cases and their composers pack up their show, ready to approach theirnext fix. Weaving and winding through the road, they continue to chase the drug of music that is ever so addictive. They just can’t get enough.

– Violent Video Games (