Saturday, July 17, 2010

GRAMMY Campers Prepare For Bigger Venue By Julian Ring

Campers got a surprise yesterday while visiting the Recording Academy. During the performance by Singer/Songwriters for the NARAS staff, David Sears announced to the audience that the location of the showcase was being changed. The Campers would be playing their final concert not at the GRAMMY Museum, but at the historic and famed El Rey Theatre. This piece of news got many people very excited about Sunday’s event.

“Last year was really great, but I couldn’t invite that many people because there wasn’t a lot of room,” explained Taylor Harvey, a returning Singer/Songwriter who fondly recalls her memories of the GRAMMY Museum. “It was my first professional performance, and since then I have improved so much. Now, I think it’s going to be more like a concert than a performance. I’m really excited to do this.”

One of the main differences between the GRAMMY Museum and the El Rey is the seating arrangement. At the museum, friends and family sit in comfortable chairs, which is standard for a smaller theater. When one enters the El Rey, however, they will immediately notice that the seating is a combination of “standing room” and seats. Harvey discussed her plans to adapt to this new arrangement. “I added a little part in one of my songs, if I get to sing it. I do a kind of speak back, where I try to get the audience to interact in there. So, yeah, I’m excited.”

Guitarist Zaccheus Taylor thinks differently, however. “All I can say is that if we had performed at the GRAMMY Museum, I would have given the same performance that I plan on giving on this larger stage," he says. "I’m going to try to draw in the crowd and give ‘em my best. If they’re going to be able to get in close to the stage, then it’s going to be a really relaxing environment. And they’ll be getting involved, too, so I think we’ll be able to interact with each other pretty well.”

While in the practice rooms, I sat down with all four returning drummers: Will Pinson, Brandon Woodward, Brandon Combs, and Sterling Laws. It was apparent that the group was very excited about playing at the El Rey. In fact, each musician had different reasons for this. Laws said that he anticipates a better show due to more space. Pinson, on the other hand, stated that he was satisfied with the space provided by the GRAMMY Museum. “It’s really small, but it was efficient for its size. It got the job done even though it was not what we thought it was going to be,” he said, though he later confirmed his great expectations for the El Rey show. Combs pointed out that “we’ll be able to say we shared the same stage as a lot of famous bands. It’ll be fun.” Laws also anticipates improved volume capabilities in the theater, which will allow the artists to “make it more sincere as to what the artists are playing.”

While the Campers I talked to all had high expectations for the El Rey performance, each had differing opinions about what gets them excited. Nevertheless, Sunday should prove to be a fantastic show.

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