The sky grew darker, and still the crowd waited impatiently. Large orange and white balloon arches framed the small venue. Lights flared around wildly. The first-row bounced, waving their arms to energetically egg the performers on. The night was just beginning for many.
Just outside of Haslam Music Center in an unsuspecting parking lot, many UT students gathered around for the free outdoor concert featuring Memphis native band, The Band CAMINO and an opening performance from Moon Taxi.
People crowded around the dormitory windows of Fred D. Brown Hall, curiously trying to get a glimpse of the event. Many were seated on the balconies above and tables below, trailing around the enclosed, makeshift stage. Nearly an hour behind schedule, the bands slowly built the anticipation. Suddenly, Moon Taxi burst onto the scene with the first song of the night. Riling the audience with “Make Your Mind Up” off their “Daybreaker” album, Moon Taxi began with a strong start.
Moon Taxi, an all-American, indie-alternative rock band with strong Nashville roots made an electrifying performance, waking a slumbering Saturday crowd. Singing a few songs from their albums, Moon Taxi took an emotional step back, performing “Hometown Heroes” and drawing parallels between the city of Knoxville and their own hometown.
Reluctantly, Moon Taxi passed the mic over to the night’s focus: The Band CAMINO.
Some of the attending UT students were big fans of The Band CAMINO, eagerly hoping to hear the release of new songs in the set. Other fans hoped for some of the band’s older iconic songs like “Daphne Blue” and “The Black and White.”
However, the crowd was mixed. Intermingled die-hard fans and intrigued new listeners both shared a passion for the alternative-indie genre. Out of the crowd, freshman Zach DeCarlisle, a computer science major, enjoyed his first UT concert with his friends, saying he was “just excited overall” to be out and about on campus.
Given the safety precautions and concerns surrounding COVID-19, other students including Maggie Fitzmorris, a junior pursuing a social work degree, talked about the atmosphere of the event and the hope for normalcy.
“I feel pretty good about it, it’s nice to have stuff going on again,” Fitzmorris said. “It feels more like a college.”
The Band CAMINO’s entrance song echoed far into Andy Holt Avenue with the bass surging into surrounding buildings and onlookers. With soft and hauntingly beautiful lyrics concealed by a heavy rock influence, The Band CAMINO’s mixed genre approach evoked heartfelt energy and sincerity.
Phones were lifted high and shone in swaying motions as the audience kept up with the energy of the performers, recording every moment.
From their roots in Memphis, Tennessee, The Band CAMINO had its humble start as a few friends playing together in school. Now they have signed with Elektra Records, and with a rapidly expanding fan base, expect to release a new album in September of this year.
Giving a dazzling performance to the mild town of Knoxville, The Band CAMINO certainly left its mark. Given the orange and white theme consistent with UT Vols, the atmosphere revitalized the togetherness of UT students after a year of isolation. Surrounded by darkness, purple blinding light exited the stage into the night sky, leaving negative afterimages of the show impressed on everyone’s mind.