You never forget your first concert. Or your first concert in college.
Very shortly during my freshman year of college after finding out I had been hired as Americana Music Director right here at KSPC, I learned of a staff meet & greet that was being held in the Pomona Arts Colony. After I got to know everyone over pizza, we then went to a show at the dA Center for the Arts, which is where I first got to know Moses Campbell. The first show I saw of their at the dA always stuck with me because they seemed to have fun and made really wonderful music. Since then I’ve listened to their music regularly- in the car, on my iPod, and even had the chance to catch a few more of their shows since then. So one can imagine my excitement when they announced their new album release party was going to be held at a venue in Los Angeles during a summer when I was living at home only a short 20 minute drive from there.
Friday, August 9th, was the day Moses Campbell held a release party for their sophomore album “Expectations” at The Smell. Along with three other bands (Surf Curse, The Garden, and Les Cos), the show seemed to be a celebration of music, friends and 3+ years of hard work Moses Campbell had spent putting into an album that most of the audience seemed to already know by heart. For the uninitiated, Moses Campbell consists of five core members, Sean Solomon (guitar, vocals), Pascal Stevenson (bass guitar), Miles Wintner (guitar), Pauline Lay (violin) and Andrew Mackelvie (drums).
I arrived at the show 20 minutes after the doors opened at 8:20. Moses Campbell was not even playing till around 11 but it was already sold out, something I rarely see happen at The Smell. After a few minutes of panicking and many thanks to the benevolence of Moses Campbell front man, Sean Solomon, I was able to get in and witness one of the most high energy and long-awaited shows I have seen in a very long time. The opening bands did not have to do much to warm up the crowd as everyone seemed just as excited to see each of the openers as they were to hear Moses Campbell later in the night. All three acts showcased a fantastic blend of camaraderie and energy, and as 11 drew near and The Smell took on its characteristic sauna-like heat, Moses Campbell finally came on stage.
Sean began the show by telling the audience that they were going to play their new album all the way through. I believe at most concerts this sort of announcement draws a bit more skepticism, as fans tend to want to hear the “old favorites” over the new unknown, but this definitely was not the case with this crowd. A rather unique feature of Moses Campbell’s newest album “Expectations” is that most of the tracks are concert mainstays of the band, which resulted in the incredible phenomena of the crowd at The Smell knowing every single word to every song on the album before the album technically came out. The tropical feel of the air in The Smell didn’t stop people from trying to mosh to even some of the slower tracks like “Walk on Water.” Faster songs like “She Has a Heart” perfectly matched the mood of the audience as Sean’s yells and Pauline’s fantastic and frantic violin made me and everyone else remember why it is ok we waited so long for this album to come out. Like me, you might listen to “Expectations” and find yourself humming along to songs you didn’t even know you knew. Buy the cassette version of “Expectations” like I did and you can treat yourself to 4 demos of songs on the album that were recorded years ago with ex-member Daniela Jimeniez. The album is exactly what any fan of Moses Campbell’s could want- a wonderfully curated and thoughtful collection of favorite songs that were never before compiled in just one place. For someone like me who has such fond memories of Moses Campbell being at college milestones in my life like my introduction to KSPC, my 2nd Nochella, and my first album release party at The Smell, “Expectations” is a collection of music that has peppered the last four years of my life and marks the band’s long history with playing wonderful shows for a very captive audience.
The album will be on sale at www.mosescampbell.bandcamp.com on 8/13 and everywhere else later in the week.