BC CAMPLIGHT Review – 22.10.21

BC Camplight Review
by Anthony Jones

Review for Ay Up Duck Radio’s Sugarmill Show



the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.


A strange way to start a gig review but heigh-ho. My day on Friday 22nd October started with the disappointing news of the gig I was going to attend being cancelled shortly being followed by the offer to attend The Sugarmill to review that night’s acts. I hadn’t had the chance to visit The Sugarmill since the easing of lockdown restrictions, so I naturally jumped at the chance.

Having arrived unfashionably early and discovering that even the “press” on the guest list aren’t allowed in prior to the allotted time, I ventured into the Stage Door to pass some time. The Stage Door was not overly populated at this point, although I did later come to realise that the group of people playing pool were the support band, a little more homework on my part and I could have grabbed an interview.

After a swift half I was ready to venture into The Sugarmill, the venue was reassuringly the same as the last time I visited pre-covid, and I soon began to feel the vibe eagerly awaiting two acts that I knew very little about.

As I looked around at my fellow gig goers there was a lack of cohesion between us all; we did not look like we belonged in the same room, and I struggled to place the fanbase of these two artists.

There was the look of supermarket shoppers, the obligatory Jarvis Cocker/1940’s evacuee lookalike, the couples, the small groups of friends, the overriding demographic of whom having beards probably in homage to BC Camplight lead singer Brian Christinzio, and this with everything in between. Rather than an actual scene there was a general sense of belonging between strangers.

The venue soon started to fill up as seems to be the norm with post covid gigs with people as eager to watch the support act as the headline artist just to get a taste of live music once again. It’s also the best way to get your finger on the pulse of local and new bands playing the circuit.


Katy J Pearson

Also touring with The Magic Gang at the time, the first act of the night was the Katy J Pearson Band and having checked out their equipment earlier I was keen to hear what the Fender Mustang would sound like when pitted against the other instruments and what delights the guitarist had with his heavily laden effects pedal box.

The opening track was delightful, and I was pleasantly surprised with the whole set; the young lady hails from the West Country of England and has some velvet vocal tones, her voice a mixture of Kate Bush, Courtney Love, and Dolly Parton. Couple this with an almost psychedelic indie wash of musical colours and you’ve got something special. Her band were tight although I did think that the drummer could’ve relaxed a bit as I would have liked to hear a bit more freedom in his playing. I was genuinely disappointed when they finished as I didn’t want them to leave the stage!

I aim to check out Katy J Pearson Band a lot further and would heavily recommend that you do the same if you know what’s good for you!


BC Camplight

During the interval it was nice to see many familiar faces and I was glad to be able to catch up with old friends. We didn’t have long to wait before the main event and the entrance of the main act. I have to admit I was a bit nervous at this point, the support band and night thus far had been excellent, and I was still unfamiliar with the work of BC Camplight. I had listened to one track before I arrived, their new single I’m Alright In This World, and I was still unsure of what to expect; my good friend had described the music of BC Camplight as good but grating and this played on my mind.

I did not have long before my fears were alleviated, and I was well on my way to being converted into a fan.

Starting their tour in Stoke, the musicianship of the band was second to none, and despite the lead singer stating that they were rusty it was never apparent. Lead singer Brian Christinzio is a consummate frontman who held the crowd all night with his stage craft and anecdotes on his life which has been eventful to say the least; his vocals have a power similar to the likes of Meatloaf and the delivery is perfect for the dark humour of his lyrical content.

Aside from the immense performance from the band’s frontman on the keys, the music was a tour de force of effects and skilled musicianship, it was a bit like Leonard Cohen meets Pink Floyd at times and very enjoyable throughout. I was very impressed by the vocals shared by synth and guitarist Luke Barton and Francesca Pidgeon, who seemed to do a bit of everything on the night, be it additional percussion, synth, or saxophone, she was a privilege to watch. The traditional core of the band are also genuinely worth celebrating too, bassist Stephen Mutch and lead guitar Thom Bellini forming a great partnership on stage while drummer Adam Dawson was the glue of the band, bringing everything neatly together and in time.

There were standout tracks on the night; Back to Work with its driving bass line and thunderous drums was an obvious crowd pleaser while Fire in England was another foot stomper of a track that was delivered to the eager audience after another tale from the frontman’s life. When Christinzio played his latest single, I’m sad to say I was still unsure, but the rest of the set was undoubtedly awesome and without fault.

Having arrived as ignorant of the band’s capabilities, I left determined to see more. I would like to see them perform on a bigger stage and with a bigger crowd as I’m absolutely certain they could draw in thousands and entertain them with a skilled and charismatic ease. I felt that BC Camplight had even more to offer an audience, Brian seemingly constricted by the lack of room on the stage at times, resorting to using his piano stool as a prop. It was a definite “I was there when…” gig and if you were there then you certainly had a bargain of a night for £15!

Serendipity, remember the word. Thanks for an excellent reminder of why we need The Sugarmill and local venues like it to keep providing us with opportunities on our doorstep to see great artists like these and to keep the music scene alive.


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© Anthony Jones 2022
Contact: SugarmillShow@gmail.com







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