Bandcamp in Madison, WI with Egypt Central
Having been to Bandcamp before, I was looking forward to covering this year’s event. As I arrived to pick up my pass, I was told I could only shoot the bands that had me on their list. Being this was run by the local radio station, they were apparently playing hardball with press because several other photographers were having the same issues, which is a shame for the bands but it is what it is. So instead of turning around to drive two hours back home, I decided to just cover the bands I was on the list for and enjoy the show.
One band that has been to every Bandcamp show since it started was Dope. While I did not get a photo pass from them, they are just too good to not want to watch and I had time to kill. I decided to go in the pit with all the fans and take my chance to get some pics. It’s been a long time since I did this but it’s always a thrill to be in the pit. Just being upfront and feeling bodies moving you from one side to the other and a crowd surfer flying over your head, just gets the adrenaline going.
Dope is one of those bands that whenever I see live, I wonder why they have not made it bigger because it’s all guns blazing with these guys and they had the crowd pumped.
With Bandcamp, you have two stages – the main stage and the side stage and once one band is done, the next band goes on within 2 minutes of each other, so it’s music nonstop. The band I was here to cover was Egypt Central - a band out of Memphis, TN with 2 albums under their belt, with the newest one being “White Rabbit.” This was their first appearance for Bandcamp and one thing about Egypt Central is that they always bring there A game and I have never seen a bad show from them.
After a few ok bands opening the side stage, EC was the first to bring the energy levels higher than the bands playing on the main stage and they kept it going throughout the show. Singer, John Falls came out with shades and bandana in his black fatigue vest and told the crowd, “You ready to tear this shit up?” and with that, the launched into TakingYou Down. With the crowd boiling in the sun, EC gave them a chance to release that built up steam; with fans jumping up and down and mosh pits exploding in tight circles that grew bigger. They followed up with Over and Under - both songs of their last self-titled album.
Bass player, Joey Chicago, is one sick bass player; he is non-stop motion and on this hot day, was soaking wet from his playing. Throughout the show, he worked the crowd up and even had a battle with singer, Falls, to which side had the loudest section and to give each side the finger.
Falls’ side was the 21+ section and Chicago had all the under 21 section as Bandcamp divides the age groups into 2 sections of each stage. Have to give it to Chicago on which side won and was pretty funny to watch his side give the finger and to yell across the divide to the 21+ group that they suck.
They, (EC) then went on to play Ghost Town, Kick Ass, and Blame, off the just released album, “White Rabbit.” You can tell when a band is really good when other bands from the fest showed up to give support to the EC set and enjoying the show like a fan. A few went by drummer, Blake Allison to mess with him as he kept playing. They ended the set with 2 songs the first being, You Make me Sick – one of my favorite songs because Falls sings it with so much emotion. Guitarist, Jeff James shines on this song and gives it a killer sound as he attacks his fret board. When you hear Falls scream out over and over, “you make me sick, sick, sick, sick,” you can’t help but feel it in his lyrics.
EC ended the show with, White Rabbit, which had one of the loudest crowd reactions to it; this being the last song they went all out, with all the guys jumping all over and singer Falls going out to the crowd and singing with them – throwing his fist in the air he had the crowd in his hands. He thanked the crowd for standing out in such intense heat and proving to them what real rock fans are like.
Even as I left for the night, there was a buzz going around the crowd asking, “Did you see that show Egypt Central put on?,” even as other bands played. You can catch the guys out on tour in August with Hinder, as well as several festivals throughout the country.
Side Note: The tour manager for Egypt Central was kind enough to let me shoot the whole set when he found out the issues going on. This allowed me to get shots that I would not have been able to do if held to the rule 3 songs and out.
All Photos Provided by Peter Lizano