30th August | Exchange
Photos: Laure Noverraz
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that some people are still having to fight for things that should just come naturally, like freedom from fear of being raped or sexually abused. Australian three-piece, Camp Cope have made it their flag, and have recorded a whole album about the singer, Georgia ‘Maq’ McDonald’s terrible story of abuse by her boyfriend, as well as being looked upon as an ‘all-girl band’ by the music industry, which they bring, in their direct and uninhibited way, to Exchange.
Exeter punks, Muncie Girls open with songs from their debut album, Fixed Ideals, due for release the day after the show. After a shy introduction, this three-piece start to make themselves comfortable and make the Exchange their own. It’s almost like they’re home anyway, as they’re signed to Specialist Subject, whose record shop sits just one floor above the venue. Then comes Bristol’s very own Caves, to blast some heavy shit with fierce anger and a will to express themselves freely and to be able to be gay/bi/trans/coming out with complete freedom and self-respect.
And this room is full of respect, filled utterly with good vibes and kindness. The venue is sold-out tonight – actually, their whole UK tour is – solid proof that Camp Cope’s sound and message are much-needed in the here and now. The members of Camp Cope look comfortable as they soundcheck quickly with a Green Day cover before blasting into their set with their new album, How To Socialize and Make Friends.
Georgia Maq then pauses for a bit, awkwardly talking about their tour and what it means to them. But her true strength comes in a speech mid-set: “You know what we’re about, right? You listen to our lyrics? We just want for every male in the audience to go back home tonight and have a meaningful conversation with other men about harassment, especially in the music business. It’s happening every day, to every woman; it’s terrifying. I mean, we’re all here for the same thing, right?” she explains.
Needless to say, these words resonate in all of us. From this point on, the audience is conquered, and starts singing every single lyric of every single song, to the point where Georgia’s voice can’t be heard. The band is overwhelmed with such a response. “Why are you so stressed?” asks drummer, Sarah Thompson.
“I turned around and there was a lot of people, and that’s scary!” Georgia laughs. And she’s right. It’s scary that people still have to stand up against violence, harassment, and find a safe place for a few hours tonight, but reassuring that bands like Camp Cope are with us to lead the way. And in my head, I hope that the 250 people in this room will wake up tomorrow and fight to make the world a better place. I mean, we’re all here for the same thing, right?