The Band CAMINO: No Need to “tryhard” for a Great Show

VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Spencer Stewart and Jeffery Jordan of The Band CAMINO by Emma Roden

One year and one album after thier last Twin Cities visit, Tennessee-based pop-rock group The Band CAMINO finally returned to First Avenue and 7th Street Entry – but this time they made it to the main room.

With a two-band lineup, both of whom include capitalization in their names, I’m expecting a night of the same type of high-intensity that is implied by typing with CAPS-lock on.

A Band Worth Your VALLEY-uable Time

VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Rob Laska of VALLEY by Emma Roden

At 8 PM, the screen rises, the lights dim, and “Stacy’s Mom” comes on the speaker — everyone is singing along and awaiting VALLEY to take the stage. No one could predict what was going to happen once they did.

Four-piece Toronto-based band starts out their set with their hit song “There’s Still A Light In The House” and immediately prove they’re a wild ride of pleasant surprises, one after another. They’ve hooked me from the start.

The first thing that catches my attention is that all four members have microphones and are harmonizing throughout the performance. Frontman Rob Laska has a clear and timeless voice that flows through a half-smile, like a young John Mayer. I look around and notice that their music must be catching on in Minneapolis, as many fans in the audience are singing along.

VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Michael Brandolino of VALLEY by Emma Roden

When Life Gives You Lemons…

I’m surprised and excited to see guitarist Mike Brandolino playing another set of drums left-stage. I’m in a state of absolute shock as I watch drummer Karah James abandon her drumkit and gravitate towards center-stage and harmonize with Laska for about a song and a half.

Unfortunately, the microphone balance is a little off. I can tell that James is adding dynamic harmonies, backed by great talent and charisma, but it is hard to hear her. Still, the moment remains euphoric, despite the technical difficulties.

I’m thoroughly impressed by their set, and even more so when I see bassist Alex DiMauro throw a lemon into the audience at the end instead of a guitar pick.

You know what they say, “When life gives you lemons, you toss them to your fans.”
And to think, this whole time I thought the “lemons” of the situation were the microphone imbalances — who know they’d be talking about actual lemons?

I wonder if that is something he does every show, but suppose I’ll have to catch them the next time they are in Minneapolis to find out.

A Quickly Blossoming Band

VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Spencer Stewart of The Band CAMINO by Emma Roden

After VALLEY conclude their set, there is about 30 minutes until The Band CAMINO is set to begin. Those in the room shift around impatiently, full of anticipation of what’s to come.

As the lights go down, the song “Banana Phone” starts playing over the loudspeakers. This gets me thinking about all of the intro songs I’ve heard at shows over the years and how they are selected. To be honest, the complete unpredictability makes this one easily one of the best and sets the tone perfectly.

The Band CAMINO is a little non-traditional. They have built an impressively large following without having released an album until just last month. This truly is a testament to just how talented these guys are.

It is no secret they’ve been causing a buzz among musicians and fans alike. (Even if most of the hullabaloo is an excuse to make a pun – as shown below in tweets from All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth and Stand Atlantic’s Bonnie Fraser.)


VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low and Simple Creatures Tweets About The Band CAMINO
VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Bonnie Fraser of Stand Atlantic Tweets About The Band CAMINO

A Warm Welcome

They kick their set off with “Break Me,” the last song off of their album tryhard. It’s no secret that Minneapolis is excited to have them back.

One thing that The Band CAMINO does really well is incorporating two vocalists effectively, both live and recorded. It is definitely a reward to see them live and to better distinguish Jeffery Jordan and Spencer Stewart, the two vocalists.

“Break Me” acts as the perfect opener, with the vocalists bouncing between each other from verse to verse. I’m really experiencing where and in which songs they are featured here.

Fans are lucky to hear each of the songs off of the new album during the course of the evening. No moment tops when they play “See Through,” my favorite of their songs, early in the set.

At this moment, I’m ready for them to swap out their entire setlist and just play this song seventeen times in a row instead, because it truly is that great.

VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Jeffery Jordan of The Band CAMINO by Emma Roden

As the night continues, The Band CAMINO keep the energy alive, even within their slower and more somber songs. I wasn’t expecting so much zest from a band that primarily writes about breakups.

But even in sadder songs like “I Spend Too Much Time in My Room” I notice they attempt to do this by speeding up the pace slightly and adding more focus to the instruments than what is present in the recorded version.

Though ensuring that fans stay energized and engaged is an obvious concern, I find myself wishing they would have taken their time with this one, as it caused it to lose some of its authenticity.

I still allow myself to get lost in the moment, but not for long, as they keep the set moving forward to “Haunted” and straight through their encore.

Staying Humble

VALLEY The Band CAMINO try hard tour first ave Minneapolis Minnesota September 25 2019
Graham Rowell of The Band CAMINO by Emma Roden

Soon, bassist Graham Rowell walks to the front of the stage for the first time of the performance. He takes a moment to reflect on how the band has grown since their last time in Minneapolis and then he thanks their crew, band manager, and of course, their fans.

It is during this time that fans also become aware that Ben Rector, with whom they were on tour with when they played in Minneapolis last, was in attendance at the back of the venue. Knowing fans cheer restlessly.

To end his monologue, Rowell jokingly mentions that there has been a severe lack of stage diving during their set and that their manager probably should be the one to dive in first. He then throws back a shot of vodka and runs back to position to prepare for their final songs.

A Healthy Dose of Daphne Blue

They close, of course, with “Daphne Blue” — fans go wild, but the show doesn’t end on there quite how you’d expect. After handing out the remaining drumsticks and guitar picks, the band meets at center stage and holds hands to take a bow.

I then see Rowell throwing water all over the crowd while Jordan reaches into a box of spinach and tosses handfuls of leafy greens into the audience.

I can safely say I’ve never seen that before. Also, what is it with both bands throwing produce at people?

I guess if there is one thing to take from this, it’s that The Band CAMINO wants fans to take care of themselves, whether that means helping them come to terms with their emotions through music, or by ensuring they stay hydrated and healthy!

Oh, and by the way, their manager totally ran out for a stage dive — and it was awesome.

The Band CAMINO Setlist:

  1. Break Me
  2. See Through
  3. Less Than I DO
  4. Berenstein
  5. Farsighted
  6. Know Me
  7. 24/7
  8. Fool of Myself
  9. Honest
  10.  For a While
  11.  I Spend Too Much Time in My Room
  12.  Hush Hush
  13.  My Thoughts on You
  14.  Haunted


  1.  The Black and White
  2.  What I Want
  3.  Daphne Blue

Written by Katie Ahrens


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