On a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon in late August, Seattle’s Alternative Radio Station, 107.7 The End, produced Summer Camp; an all-day single-staged festival featuring 12 up-and-coming alternative acts from around the globe. Headlined by fun., Summer Camp was inexpensive and featured some amazing artists coming together at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA, just outside of Seattle.
Fun. arrived in the Pacific Northwest for the second time since the release of their monster album, Some Nights, in conjunction with some other energetic, young bands coming from various corners of the world. There were a couple from England (The Royal Concept, Morning Parade) and one from Australia (Animal Kingdom) to go with a few of my favorites from the States; Milo Greene (California), The Features (Tennessee), and Walk the Moon (Ohio).
Milo Greene have been one of my favorite since arriving in Seattle. They opened for the Civil Wars on their winter tour before venturing out on their own in the spring, coming through the High Dive in the process. Milo Greene are a beautiful quintet from Los Angeles who create organic voice- and drum-centered music uniquely featuring each band member. The constant trading of instruments combined with a completely unselfish sharing of lead vocals shows a serious depth as Milo Greene play earthy tunes that tickle your heart and ease your worry. They brought all of the hits to the early part of the day, including “1957”, “Don’t You Give Up On Me”, “Perfectly Aligned”, and my favorite cover of Sufjan Stevens’ “Chicago”.
The day eventually progressed into the most pleasant of suprises venturing from Tennesse; The Features. This fairly-straightforward-yet-groovy foursome bring a twist to southern rock seen in RIYL artists such as the Heartless Bastards and The Whigs. The Features had the right amount of energy to get a hot-and-weary group off their feet with their hands in the air. The guitar riffs and drums beats make your feet move and your hands clap. The edgy vocals reach right into your soul to remind you the humble means you’ve risen from. The Features hit home in many brilliant ways. Be on the lookout for these gents.
Walk the Moon brought their spunk all the way from beautiful Ohio to set-up the headliner. In the same vein as former End concert makeups Grouplove and Two Door Cinema Club, this band brings the energy and dance to the stage in an ideal way for the late afternoon. The band sported face paint donned during warm-ups and got attendees off their feet with pop tunes like “Anna Sun” and “Tightrope”. My personal favorite, “Quesadilla”, got hands in the air and feet moving with synth and vocals comparable to Hellogoodbye. This is another band on the rise with their self-titled debut having been released this summer. Check them out and be the first to tell you friends.
Fun. were the headliners and second-to-last act of the evening. Having seen fun. before, I knew what to expect; a seriously entertaining group of incredibly and diversely talented musicians. Nate Reuss (The Format) is one of the most talented songwriters and singers in the world today. Jack Antonoff (Steel Train) brings his guns and Gibson 335 on lead and Andrew Dost (Anathallo) an array of talents including piano and trumpet. Needless to say, this is the hottest band in alternative and pop music today. The songwriting trinity of Nate, Jack, and Andrew has produced two of the biggest hits of 2012 (We Are Young, Some Nights) and also provide one of the most entertaining live shows in the world. The ever-thankful showman Reuss pumped up the crowd constantly, reveling in the energy of the crowd straight through a minute-long confetti explosion. While the performance is as energetic as ever, the old school fun. fan (such as myself) will certainly notice that the focus has shifted a bit from their bread-and-butter near-perfect first release, Aim and Ignite, to their pop explosion, Some Nights. While sad for the die-hard fans, it was also expected. Thankfully, the team still brought some old favorites like “At Least I’m Not As Sad” and “Barlights” to the stage. Despite the cross-cultural popularity, it’s hard to deny to songwriting ability of the band’s core. Can anyone smell a Grammy?