107.7 The End Summer Camp 2016
Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA
08.13.16 – 08.14.16

First launched in 2007, local Seattle radio station 107.7 The End’s annual Summer Camp festival pulled out all the stops and extended the festivities to two full days this year. The lineup overflowed with current station favorites, bringing their regular airplay to life on a live stage, along with plenty of other fun and games to keep a family-friendly crowd occupied, despite the overbearing heat. And that misting tent certainly didn’t hurt.

Day one kicked off with one of their Locals Only Artists of The Month, Tangerine. The local surf-pop foursome has been taking the scene by storm lately, and their appearance here was well-received. They teased the crowd to make sure they were drinking enough water, and delivered a set that gathered the early-comers in droves. After their set, the band came out and took plenty of selfies with the fawning fans.

They were followed by the super-swaggy Bishop Briggs. In topknots, a track jacket and a plaid skirt, the artist wavered the line between shy and explosive, whispering and ballsy blues, with a massive vocal range. Trailing her, Brit singer-songwriter Barns Courtney proved his pudding with a solo acoustic set of foot-stomping, catchy tracks that boasted a blues-rock vibe. The back-to-back pair may be new, but will certainly be in heavy rotation to come.

Toronto rock band The Strumbellas swung hard with rootsy alt-pop, with everyone cheering for vocalist/keyboardist Dave Ritter (who also wore a hat emblazoned with his own name). The six-piece stayed energized despite the heatwave, keeping the crowd dancing and singing along the entire set. Another Locals Only group, Hey Marseilles, was up next, and their glowing indie-pop was polished to a summer-ready shine. From their chamber-pop roots to their now electronically-laced pulse and layers of strings, the band offered up plenty of both style and substance.

Austin-by-way-of-Iceland group Kaleo whipped up the youthful crowd with their moody blues-rock tunes. The group borrows from many genres, from downbeat folk to Delta blues, recalling everyone from Bon Iver to James Bay. And then Kongos brought rhythmic alt-rock and an accordion to life, sounding as if Modest Mouse started playing Southern rock, with great energy and consistency. But the night was capped off by way of Awolnation.

The master of ADD-generation magic, Awolnation is ambition personified. Their set burned with ferocity, showcasing smooth pop and distorted masterpieces to an ecstatic crowd. They kept it fluid, and it worked, adding extended instrumentation for a live showcase. And bringing out Guns N’Roses’ Duff McKagan and his daughter Grace to guest on a couple of tracks was the sugar on top.

The second day of the festival brought out more positive vibes, kicking the day off with another Locals Only artist, the charismatic Kris Orlowski, who won over the early crowd with his potent folk-pop, super chill energy, and just the right amount of rocking out. Mid-set, Orlowski proclaimed, “We got something special we put together just for you guys today. Anyone want to hear a cover song? It’s not usually our thing but today it is,” and then they broke out a stunning cover The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”

Fresh out of the Netherlands, Chef’Special had energy out of the gate. After their recent tour with Twenty One Pilots, this was their last stop before heading back home, but they did a great job connecting with the crowd. Their mix of reggae/pop/hip hop was infectious, and so was their personality. Artful indie poppers JRJR came out next, bearing squirt guns to spray down the crowd before an echoey, warbly, jazzy set ringing with throwback R&B, whistling, and saxophone. Daniel Zott jumped out and crowd surfed, throwing himself to the fans at the end, before going straight for the squirt gun again.

Liverpudlian pop-rock trio The Wombats kept the energy up, bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen bouncing all over the stage. This is irreverent, fist-pumping music, and the audience swarmed to the front to catch every minute of it. They were followed by Swedish dance-pop outfit Miike Snow, whose cool performance still managed to keep the crowd grooving. Then The Dandy Warhols took the stage, cashing in on throwback alt-rock vibes. While there were probably a lot of young folk in attendance who didn’t quite pick up on the band, they played a solid set worthy of a true alternative band.

Electro-pop with a side of suspicion came in the form of Big Data, who despite some tech issues were one of the most energetic groups of the weekend. Alan Wilkis and Lizy Ryan killed it with the synchronized robot moves, their stage chemistry on point. Their animated personalities, big, danceable beats, and atomic cover of Hall & Oates’ classic “Private Eyes” won everyone over.

Sugary pop rockers Young The Giant wrapped up the weekend with glitter and glowsticks. Their upbeat set drew the entire venue close and got everyone dancing, lead singer Sameer Gadhia leading the charge with some super slick moves. From straightforward rock tracks to synth-heavy hits, YTG’s melting-pop dynamism put a final golden note on a glorious weekend.

Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Sunny Martini