The church has a profound effect on some people. For BC Camplight it drove him to greet his audience with a handshake at the south porch as they left. Earlier I wasn’t too sure Camplight was an artist just right for Americana UK but soon my fears were relieved when I spotted a writer from a rival website tapping away on his Samsung in the opposite corner. And then Camplight played Your Cheating Heart, a foot stomping version on the church piano that he used throughout the set.
Testifying acoustically, he said he was loving the freedom, throwing off the shackles of the band, being able to play douchebag piano and not having to make the weird faces that a guitarist pulls. The songs are lush, full of major 7ths and 9ths and some of the melodies have a Brill building early sixties feel. There are elements of all the great pop era piano players in his performance: Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Nina Simone, Elton John, Randy Newman and Brian Wilson.
With no new album to promote he was simply enjoying performing again. A load of songs from 2015’s How to Die in the North were on offer here including You Should’ve Gone to School and Just because I Love You plus old stuff, some of which he hadn’t played for 20 years. He had brought some notebooks of the songs he wrote as a schoolboy and punctuated the set with some self-deprecating extracts from these then flipping to the opposite. “I was really good in Bristol last night,” he beamed as he mixed himself an impromptu brandy and milk a la Harry Nilsson.
I came out hungry to hear more BC Camplight and bought myself some fried chicken on the way home. So definitely Americana.