The Band CAMINO vs. Mike + the Mechanics, May 2023

I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast two concerts that I have been to recently – American pop rockers The Band CAMINO and British aging rockers Mike + the Mechanics.

The Band CAMINO, O2 Institute, Birmingham

The Band CAMINO have been around long enough to release an EP and their eponymous debut album but not long enough it seems to fill a whole set. This meant that there were not one but two support acts before they came on.

We skipped the first but were around for the second, Boy Bleach, who were pretty good in a high energy sort of way. They rattled through a half hour set before their time was up. Because of it’s size and layout the Institute didn’t have any way to get the band and their instruments off the side of the stage and so each piece was passed down the front and then out of a side door. This was done by the band – no sign of a roadie here.

Given the age of The Band CAMINO it was unsurprising that the crowd was made up of what I can only assume were University kids – I really brought that average age up! They came on and powered through a set of well know songs and a handful of new ones some of which are even released yet. I always think that this is dangerous thing to do as you lose the engagement due to nobody being able to sing along.

That however, wasn’t my problem – that was that the music was so loud and the acoustics so bad that by about the third song I couldn’t discern anything much. It all sounded like a wall of buzzy sound which was a shame. I have decided to invest in some of these specialist ear plugs to try and help in future.

My son, who I went to the concert with, has this really great TBC sweatshirt and we were both hoping for something similar to be on the merchandise stand. Boy were we disappointed. What there was available was a boring black tee shirt and hat. I suspect that the cost of shipping over the merch was probably a contributing factor.

Mike + the Mechanics, Hexagon, Reading

From the small and sweaty surroundings of the O2 Institute to the all seated Hexagon, Reading for a much more stately affair. It was clear that a lot of money had been spent on the stage set with great lighting as a back drop. The PA was markedly superior too so I was able to her what I was listening too which was a bonus too. I guess when you have made plenty of money from Genesis over the years you can afford to invest in your side project.

The audience was very different too as it was mainly lots of late middle aged people who, if the cheers every time a Genesis song was played meant anything, liked Gensis just a little bit more than Mike + the Mechanics.

Given the large number of hits that the band have they played quite a few songs from the last two albums which yield none to my knowledge. That may well be because the two singers featured on these with Carrack and Young having long gone.

As Rutherford is 72 he clearly felt the need to not be out too late as the band played two 45 minute sets and were done by 10 pm. This worked fine for me too to be honest!

M+TM were very slick and it was enjoyable to sing along to the well known songs but TBC had a raw energy which I enjoyed but I just wish I could have heard them better!

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