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CAAMP played a packed Georgia Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. The Crooked Spines opened. (Photo/Julian Alexander, jalexander@randb.com)

Packed tightly in the Georgia Theatre on a hot Thursday night, a full  crowd turned out to sing along to folk band CAAMP’s powerful acoustic melodies.

The three-piece band hailing from Columbus, Ohio, made its way to Athens as part of its “By and By Tour,” marking its fourth show at the Georgia Theatre.

“You have no idea how good it feels to be back in this building,” CAAMP’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Taylor Meier, said. 

The Crooked Spines, a high-energy rock band, also from Columbus, Ohio, had the audience amped up and ready for CAAMP to take the stage. 

Framed by red curtains and shining under multicolored lights, CAAMP emerged in true folk fashion — outfitted in wide-brimmed hats, cowboy boots and denim jackets. The majority of the setlist was comprised of relatable love songs, groovy guitar riffs and Meier’s signature shuffling boots dance moves. 

With the strum of the first chord, the audience brought the theater to life. Attendees knew each word to nearly every song, and they belted the lyrics with a passion rivaling that of the band. 

The lyrics “I want to love her all day for the rest of my life,” from “No Sleep,” a track on the band’s most recent album, “By and By” were chanted so loudly they may have been heard all throughout downtown Athens. 

When guitarist Evan Westfall first traded out his guitar for a banjo, the crowd cheered in anticipation of the band’s most popular tune titled “Vagabond,” which has over 32 million plays on Spotify. The crowd continued to sing along and jump to the beat as the song’s humble introduction gave way to a quick, banjo-driven fervor.

From Meier’s soft, emotional solos to the pulsing kick drum beats that shook audience member’s to their bones, CAAMP’s show had no shortage of musical variety. The band alternated between upbeat songs and slower tempos and managed to maintain its energy level through to the end.

Meier commanded the theater on his own for a few songs and was met with a dead silent audience for the first time all night. Alone with his guitar on stage, he was cast in a dramatic backlight as his raspy, soulful voice resonated throughout the building.

In a change of pace toward the end of the show, the plucky banjo riff in the opening of CAAMP’s song “26” was instantly met with an eruption of screams and a wave of contagious energy. 

The band was nearly overpowered by the crowd singing along to every word. Meier described the audience as a “thousand person choir.”

“Y’all sound like angels,” Meier said.

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