Camp Cope’s “The Opener” from the upcoming sophomore record brings attention to the misogyny that runs rampant in punk circles.
This all goes without saying, but the punk scene has a number of problems. Despite the constant preaching of universal acceptance and rejection of homophobia, sexism, racism, transphobia, etc., punk circles are still often straight, white, cisgender male dominated, and it breeds a culture for manipulative and predatory behavior. Even bands that are more self-aware and known for being pioneers of acceptance in the scene can sometimes have micro aggressions like booking an all straight, white male tour. Australian three-piece Camp Cope’s first single “The Opener” (Poison City Records/Run for Cover Records) from their upcoming sophomore album calls out and holds the punk scene accountable for its faux acceptance.
Camp Cope is one of the most exciting bands to follow. Frontwoman Georgia Maq writes some of the most memorable lyrics that can be both unflinchingly political (“Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams”) to deeply intimate (“Footscray Station”). Maq also explores a wide range of vocals with a signature raspy quality and her Australian accent at the forefront. The band’s secret weapon though is bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich. Hellmrich assumes most of the instrumental melody as Maq’s guitar playing is mainly rhythmically focused, and it’s audible on the bass driven “The Opener.” This also makes sense as to why Maq calls out midway through to “Show ‘em Kelly.” They really make themselves standout as one of Australia’s best new bands and a sure-to-be global success.
Listen: “The Opener” – Camp Cope
Since the release of their self-titled debut, Camp Cope hasn’t shied away from showing just how inherently tied their personal lives and political beliefs are, and this is demonstrated on “The Opener.” Camp Cope’s best songs often see Maq singing as if she’s finally fed up enough to scream about the subject manner. The song begins reflecting on an ex-lover, but Maq’s frustration builds from a small personal issue into seeing the problems in the punk world at large:
Tell me that no one knows me like you do
And tell me that my friends don’t tell me the truth
And maybe I’ll come crawling back to you
Like, that was your plan, right?
Maq’s lyrics here are tied to an old relationship but also help to magnify the type of manipulative behavior that so many pop-punk guys tend to carry with them. She uses this to transition into some of the casual sexism that occurs within the music industry. She mentions how her former partner thinks that his success lead to hers followed with:
Yeah, tell me again how
there just aren’t that many
girls in the music scene
It’s another all-male tour preaching equality
It’s another straight cis man who knows more about this than me
It’s another man telling us we’re missing a frequency, show ’em Kelly
It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room
It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue
‘Nah, hey, cmon girls we’re only thinking about you
Well, see how far we’ve come not listening to you
What Camp Cope does so well is show how interconnected our personal lives are to our political beliefs. Just saying to respect women from a stage isn’t enough if you don’t practice what you preach. Just calling yourself an ally without putting any effort forward to correct behavior leads to an attitude like the one Maq closes with in sarcastically quipping, “Yeah, just get a female opener, that’ll fill the quota.”
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photo © 2017