Ohio duo Caamp plans to bring its “heartfelt sound” with new and old music to The Union Bar & Grill for the second time, with a performance Friday. A local act, Gaptooth Grin, the stage name of Rourke Papania, will open for Caamp.
Caamp first started performing live shows in Athens at open mic nights for bars like The Smiling Skull Saloon and Casa Nueva. In addition, they opened for another Ohio band, Blond, in the summer of 2016.
“Casa is where I got good,” Taylor Meier said.
Caamp consists of two Ohio natives: Evan Westfall, who plays the banjo, and Taylor Meier, who plays the guitar. They grew up in Upper Arlington, Ohio, but did not begin writing music together until 2012. Later, in 2015, they titled themselves “Caamp.” Apart from performing in Athens, they have performed in Columbus venues like the A&R Music Bar.
“We think our live shows really captivate people. We like being very honest with the music we’re making,” Westfall said.
Their music career together has been a “progressive journey,” Westfall said. In March of 2016, the band released its first self-titled and self-produced album, which had 10 tracks. One of the songs on the album, “Ohio,” has charted at No. 4 on the US Spotify Viral Chart and currently has over 400,000 streams, according to the band's website. Last month, the two released their second single, “Misty,” which has more than 100,000 streams on Spotify and is featured on Apple Music’s playlist, “Isolation.” In addition, they have more than 140,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
The duo gains a lot of the inspiration for its music from friends, as well as other artists, Meier and Westfall said.
“I shamelessly would give myself the unofficial title of ‘pal fan girl,’ which I surely am not the only one,” Hailey Spivak, a senior studying health communication and public advocacy, said in an email.
Spivak met Westfall and Meier through mutual friends in Athens, and she admires “Evan and Taylor’s inclusiveness to all types of people in Athens,” Spivak said in an email.
“As most connections go (in) Athens, I can't recall the initial meeting. My good friends are their good friends and Taylor lived on my street last year,” Spivak said in an email.
Spivak plans on attending the show Friday and plans on attending early with her friends.
“I've experienced their tunes from after-hour jam sessions, open mic at Casa, summer show in Columbus,” she said.
In December of 2016, Meier played a set in Spivak’s living room to honor their “beloved friend” Haden DeRoberts, who helped Caamp make musical progress in Athens.
DeRoberts passed away on Dec. 4 from complications from a five-year battle against leukemia, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Westfall and Meiel met in high school, where they “played tunes and became good friends,” Westfall said. They are now living in Columbus as they prepare to tour with Rainbow Kitten Surprise, an indie band from Boone, North Carolina. Although they have a second record in the works, Caamp has “no plans of releasing anything soon as of right now,” Westfall said.
“Their music transcends the strange musical cliques that often form in college towns, leaving anyone with a sense of pride to groove to their easily related tunes,” Spivak said in an email.