Tryhard: The Band CAMINO Begins North American Tour/by Jared Vardaman

On a Wednesday night, Sept. 4, Mississippi College’s favorite alternative rocking, skinny jean wearing heartthrobs, The Band CAMINO, opened to a sold-out crowd of over 1,300 people at Birmingham’s Iron City. This show was the first of 35 shows to be played on their second national tour, ending in Tallahassee, Fla., on Oct. 23 of this year. The Memphis-based band released a brand-new EP entitled Tryhard on Aug. 23, claiming to have named the album based on the incorrect assumption that they were trying to be someone they were not. But to me, it’s pretty applicable, since they have released three album’s worth of singles since their last EP Heaven in 2017. But hey, give the people what they want, right?

The Band CAMINO opened the night with a bang, with lead guitarist and vocalist Spencer Stewart belting out Tryhard’s closing track, “Break Me.” His soaring vocals, paired with vocalist and guitarist/keyboardist (honestly, they all play the heck out of any instrument they want to) Jeffery Jordan’s harmonies set the tone for the whirlwind of nauseously catchy bops and epic emotional ballads that make The Band CAMINO such a musical experience.

The Tennessee rockers performed a few of their newer songs such as “Hush, Hush,” (the catchiest song you’ll ever hear about repressed sexual tension) and “See Through,” a passionate headbanger about a one-sided relationship. They soon took a step back from their newer material to perform a few of their classics such as “Berenstein,” “2/14,” and “The Black and White,” reminding each audience member just why they bought tickets to the show: these guys know how to make good music.

Jeffery Jordan paused the show to explain the backstory of the song “Farsighted,” accrediting it to a time in his life where, with his new found fame, he felt like he needed to be everything to every person, an overwhelming feeling we, as college students, feel regularly. He wrote the song with hopes that everyone can “find themselves” eventually because it is hard to be yourself when you don’t even know who you are. Read that again. 

With every song, the group received a standing ovation for their clever lyrics, awe-inspiring showmanship, and pulse-pounding musical ability. I mean, it was a standing room only venue, but they deserved one!

After performing a collection of newer and older songs including “My Thoughts On You,” “Haunted,” “Break Me,” and “For A While,” Jordan stated that they were done with all the sad songs – it was time to get up and dance! The crowd lit up and grooved to the beat of the synth-piano driven jams “Fool of Myself,” “Less Than I Do,” and “Who Says We’re Through.”

The standout number of the night was a stripped-down version of the song “Know Me,” one of the bands more popular ballads. Jordan, while introducing the song, was informed that their click-track (what keeps them all on the same tempo,) as well as their backing tracks, had stopped working. Jordan stalled for a few minutes, explaining that this was the first time they had ever had backing tracks and a big synchronized light shows on tour with them. He explained that the lights were connected to a pedal on drummer Garrison Burgess’s drums. When Burgess pushed the pedal down while drumming, the programmed lights would change according to what song was being played. After he finished, Jordan told the audience that they were going to take their ears (in-ear monitors) out so they could hear the crowd. They then proceeded to play “Know Me” with more passion and raw energy than any studio version could ever portray. When they finished, Jordan exclaimed, “It just reminds us that we don’t need all that [expletive] anyway!”

The Band CAMINO rounded out the night with the opening track of Tryhard, “What I Want,” which was first featured on Heaven. They then thanked the crowd and made a swift exit from the stage. But as the stage door closed, a chant began to rise from the heartbroken audience. “Encore, Encore!”

And soon and even louder cry arose from the hoarse voices of this indie rock group’s adoring fans. “Daphne Blue, Daphne Blue!”

As if the alternative rock, middle-school sappy heartbreak song gods opened up their guitar cases and reigned down holy melodic manna to their lowly subjects, The Band CAMINO re-entered the stage and played the now legendary intro to “Daphne Blue” as the crowd lost its mind. 

It is safe to say this young band from Memphis is on its way to true superstardom. I guess it’s okay to be a Tryhard.

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