The first time I got my foot in the door to the music scene, I was wearing a size 8 ladies patent-leather school shoe. I was thirteen years old. I have much to owe to the local music magazine that was game enough to publish the (objectively bad) writings of a high school student. That they trusted a girl with badly bleached bangs and ripped stockings under her skirt was a miracle in itself. That they continued to let me stake a claim on their review column for years after I’d dyed my hair back and traded my ugly school shoes for more appropriately ugly Doc Martens was another beast entirely. Seven years after my first review for them, they called me again and asked if I’d heard of an Aussie, all-girl emo band by the name of Camp Cope. I looked at my reflection in the badly lit rectangle of my phone screen, undercut and all. Obviously, I had.
It’s hard not to compare the May Enmore Theatre show to the one I wrote about in 2016. Returning with their third studio album, Running with the Hurricane, the trio-turned-quartet have again stoked their claim on the feminists, the lesbians, the political left, and all those people that feel like home to me. But this time, it’s with a twist. Frontwoman, Georgia Maq, has traded her much beloved emo yowling for a more lyrical croon that translates well to the stage. The new album has a distinctly American prairie feel to it; akin to the ethereal British-American blended style of Fleetwood Mac, or the distinctly emo influences of the American Midwest, with bands like Pinegrove or Hot Mulligan. Camp Cope seem to be in a liminal space right now, but one similar to that of adolescence: a sign of maturation, independence, and a fierce sexuality.
Opening with a 2016 favourite, Keep Growing, the band came out kicking. “It’s not for you,” Maq declared from the stage, calling all the silenced, disenfranchised, and misunderstood to raise their hands and their voices in solidarity. New songs were seamlessly blended with old, and Maq’s authentic and raw commentary acted as the bloodline for the show—carrying us along on her back from one song to the next.
Their 2022 album’s titular track, Running with the Hurricane stormed through the gig as the second-to-last track, before giving way to the band’s extant magnum opus, The Opener—a feminist masterwork of anecdotes and a call to action for the music scene (and the world) to do better. Imploringly open about their views as a band and down to earth in an albeit ambrosial way, Camp Cope do their part to section off a little slice of the world in which we can all scream, shout, sing our lungs out, and stand in solidarity with one another: an angry group of emos on a small, screaming planet.
Hi, I’m Steph and I use she/her pronouns! I’m a current Creative Writing PhD student and contributor here at Opus. My favourite genre to write is fantasy, but I also love stretching my writerly muscles with reviews, think pieces, and horoscopes. When I’m not writing for Opus, you’ll probably find me with my nose in a book, nomming on some vegan banana bread, or farming my crops on Stardew Valley.